Four decades ago, codependency was defined as having a spouse addicted to alcohol or drugs. Now, codependency can happen in myriad forms that don’t involve substance abuse — instead, it happens when a person loses their sense of self to another person’s needs, desires, welfare and challenges. This can happen in relationships with partners, family members, friends, colleagues and others.
Ultimately, a codependent person feels guilty and responsible for another person’s suffering, and rather than sharing their own personal viewpoints or real feelings, they endeavor to continually please that person
.When You’re Most Likely to Suffer From Codependency
Codependency is most common when a person is in some kind of a relationship with someone who’s a drug addict, alcoholic, narcissist, serial abuser or suffering from some persistent condition, health-related or otherwise.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who’s in a state of need, and you find that you’re losing your sense of self but also find it difficult to pull away because of feelings of obligation, guilt or shame, you may be suffering from codependency.
According to Pia Mellody’s book, Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives, “Healthy self-esteem is created within an individual who knows that he has inherent worth that is equal to others’.” She believes there are five primary symptoms for adult codependency that can be traced to inner child wounding, so recovery involves clearing up the toxic emotions leftover from painful childhood experiences.
Because codependency tends to be a multigenerational issue, it often originates in dysfunctional families where the parents are overprotective, hypercritical or abusive. This causes a loss of your inner reality and an addiction to your outer reality.
The good news? It’s entirely possible to recover from codependency, especially if you’re aware of your behavioral patterns so you can focus on changing them.
Refocusing on Yourself
Holistic treatments for codependency focus on a return to your core self, where you begin to embrace the following characteristics:
Integrating your aligned values, thoughts, feelings and actions
First and foremost, you’ll need to assess the current state of your life. Because you’ve been focused on another person’s wellbeing over yours, you’ve likely been dealing with mounting anxiety, tension, conflict, illness and overall turmoil. The more you can own your sense of self, the less likely you are to be impacted by another person’s trajectory.
Learning to Draw Boundaries with Compassionate Detachment
Once you find your footing, you’ll begin to practice compassionate detachment: healthfully asserting your personal boundaries. You’ll learn to honor others’ independence as much as your own. And, you’ll discover that it’s okay to care for someone without having to take care of them. Surrendering the need to control allows you to find your own self-esteem that isn’t reliant upon the perfect outcomes, relationships or people.
Whether you’re looking to end your codependent relationships to begin a new life, or mend the ones you’re in, you’ll need the right support to enable you to thrive like never before.
Learn more about this complex condition in our article, Codependency and The Need to be Needed.
If you’re ready to be free, call us at (877) 710-3385 or email us at [email protected] today.