Codependency: At a Glance
The phrase codependency is thrown around a lot in our society. Often time met with either a muddled or confused definition. That is not to say that we in the addiction treatment field simply write off codependent characteristics within our patients. Make no mistake, codependency can be a danger when it comes to helping loved ones. Furthermore, those who are told that they are codependent often place the blame squarely on their shoulders.
That is not the goal of any clinician out there. We hope that this piece can offer our readers a general understanding of codependency. We would also hope they would be able to see exactly how codependency can play into addiction.
Let us first start by attempting to obtain that grasp
There are several different symptoms and characteristics of codependency. Historically applied to those who have loved ones with substance abuse issues, codependency is now considered in a wider scope. Codependency is no longer just indicative of those in recovery and active addiction.
We find that one might ask some simple questions about specific dynamics in question. It is also important to understand that codependency is a two-way street.
- Does one person dedicate all their energy into pleasing the other?
- Is it acceptable for one person to be happy, but the other to not be happy?
- Does one person in the relationship feel like they constantly must make sacrifices?
These questions can be asked by both parties when examining if the relationship is codependent or not. It is also important to note that codependency if left unaddressed simply worsens with time.
The 4 ‘ Ings’
These symptoms of codependency can be addressed immediately if the person and persons are quick to be vigilant for them:
1) Rescuing: When we say that someone is guilty of “rescuing” someone in a relationship, we are describing a person who is willingly setting aside all focus on their personal issues and opportunities for growth to assist someone with their issues. Sometimes referred to as “The Savior Complex,” rescuing is one of the most common symptoms of codependency. Examples of rescuing include paying the other persons legal fees or bail. They also include paying their rent, utilities or other living expenses.
2) Avoiding: Some of us might be familiar with the statement “taking the high road” when it comes to confrontation or arguing with others. The truth of the matter is that when it comes to different dynamics in relationships, avoiding any confrontation or any argument and simply defaulting to agreeance is a trait indicative of the codependent. This is often marked by the other person making excuses as to why they are absent or late to engagements or refusing to approach their lashing out during a blackout the following day.
3) Pressuring: When we look at the complete opposite side of avoidance, we often see signs of pressuring or sometimes referred to as nagging the other person to constantly change and to meet our demands. We feel that the only way we can truly see the behaviors and actions we want from those in our lives is by constant monitoring and demanding that “shape up.” We feel incomplete when they don’t. That too is codependent. We employ these characteristics by not giving them enough confidence such as saying that their sober living home wouldn’t provide them enough structure because we wouldn’t be able to directly see the change they make in themselves.
4) Consulting: It is nice when you can do something for someone or simply mention “I was thinking of you when.” before you tell them a piece of news. It is a wonderful sentiment. However, there are several codependents who fall into that category for the simple fact that they are unable to make decisions on their own without first consulting their partners, families, or friends. If they do not have that approval or even permission, then the action or thought cannot simply take place. Some examples are attaching your loved ones to group texts that contain decisions you could make for yourself. Another would be feeling overly compelled to report any and all personal plans and engagements with the other person, almost as if you are purposely allowing that person to monitor you.
Do the Research
Again, these are just rough ideas about what codependency can be.
We would recommend performing a quick Google search for quizzes on codependency such as this one
Furthermore, we would direct your attention to this YouTube video entitled “If There Is Any Chance You Are Enabling An Addict, Please Watch This.”
Though it may sound like a contradicting statement, codependency does not have to be something you have to face alone.
We encourage you to seek what would be right for you.
J.Dalton Williams. BA, CADC Can.
Intake and Admissions
Oregon Trail Recovery