Codependency is a type of dysfunctional relationship in which one person enables another person’s negative behaviors such as alcohol abuse, drug addiction, irresponsible or immature behavior, poor mental health, or lack of achievement. It can also take the shape of a person continuously giving and doing for others to the detriment of their own mental and physical wellbeing.

Codependency is often a learned behavior that comes from the interactions within our family of origin and can be passed down through generations. It can also be born out of low self-esteem and an attempt to gain self-worth by doing for others.

Those in a codependent relationship may become dependent on the feeling of being needed, doing everything they can for their loved one to the point of martyrdom. In doing so, they forego their own needs in favor of being a caretaker and create a one-sided relationship which can inhibit both parties emotionally, lessening the opportunity for a healthy relationship.  

Codependency can affect anyone, but is often seen in parents, spouses, children, siblings, or friends of individuals struggling in life. They may be struggling either with a chronic mental or physical illness or with substance abuse, and the codependent individual feels as though they must care for their loved one, to the point of absolving their loved one of all responsibility for their actions. There are often underlying issues within codependent families, such addiction, illness, emotional distress or abuse. However, families which showcase this manner of dysfunctional behavior will typically deny any problems and place a high premium on putting on “a happy face” to the world.

Codependents become a rescuer for their loved one and, in making excuses for them, they do not allow any consequences to take place which may otherwise change the inappropriate behavior. This can be seen in abusive relationships, such as when the abused individual makes excuses for their abuser, or when a parent makes excuses for an out of control child.

There are some shared characteristics amongst many codependent individuals, such as an extreme need of approval and recognition for their actions, a sense of guilt for asserting their own needs, and a tendency to do more than their fair share in a relationship. There is often a lack of trust, poor communication skills, and a need for control over others resulting in a power imbalance. This can lead to unspoken resentments, depression and anxiety disorders.

Those in a codependent relationship must learn to recognize their own needs, establish appropriate boundaries, and learn how to say “no” to their loved one when necessary. A lot of self-exploration is needed to look at the system that has established itself within your family and how it is affecting you as an individual and your relationship with your loved one. Here at Solutions Treatment Center, we can help. If you or a loved one may be in a codependent relationship and want to take your life back, please call today.

Solutions Treatment Center Santa Fe – an exceptional treatment program at an affordable price. Call us to learn more about Codependency and our Intensive Outpatient Programs 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.