What is Codependency? Does Addiction affect only the individual afflicted by it or does it affect as much the family, friends and people who are closely associated with the afflicted?
The addict’s life revolves around his substance trying to futilely control it and the lives of the people close to him/her- the spouse, children, and parents revolve around the addict in trying to control his usage. In both, the Substance/Addiction is the core factor. Just as the addict loses himself and his individuality in using, the close ones lose their individuality and lives in controlling his/her usage.
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This attitude is called Co-dependency. Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence.
A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.
The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the person addicted to continue on a destructive course. When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choice less and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims.
They thus become enablers to the addict. They undergo the same and deeper denial patterns.
They have difficulty in saying “no”, in just having fun and are filled with fear, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, hurt, and shame which are denied. They mask their feelings of confusion and low esteem by blaming the other person, as they believe that the other is the cause of or are responsible for their emotions.” If he/she stops drinking or using , I will stop feeling the way I feel and I will be fine “ If I lose my watch in a dark room and hunt for it in a lit room what are my chances of finding it? next to none… likewise, what are the chances of the co- dependent finding the solution to all the emotional rollercoaster within them, in the person afflicted by Addiction?? Bingo! Next to none!
Thus, here, where the addict is intoxicated with alcohol & drugs, the co-dependent is intoxicated by his/her emotions.
They do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. They become “survivors.” The co-dependent person learns to repress emotions and typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self. They live believing they need an outside person or substance to be complete.
Most people, when they read this, will be quick to say "I never do that." The reason behind this is, as children people are conditioned to live through others expectations (codependency). Such things as putting them on a rigid schedule and making them eat foods they don't like instead of offering choices actually causes them to be codependent..
People are so conditioned by adulthood that they have adopted a false self (codependent) and do not realize it. Codependency has become real to them…add Substance here and the scenario magnifies manifold…
The Co-dependents thus require as much Counseling as does the addict.
Questionnaire to Identify Signs of CodependencyLikewise there are questionnaires to identify Co-dependency in a family member or close loved one of the person addicted to alcohol / drugs
- Did you ever lose time from work due to your relationship with an addicted person?
- Have your relationships ever made your life unhappy?
- Have your relationships affected your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after manipulating a situation?
- Did you ever control situations to get money to pay debts household bills or otherwise solve financial difficulties that belong to someone else?
- Has your involvement in a relationship caused a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After a fight or disagreement, did you feel you must get even?
- After winning an argument, did you have a strong urge to restate your point?
- Did you often stay in a relationship until your last hope was gone?
- Did you ever borrow money to finance another person's addiction or associated crisis?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance another person's addiction or associated crisis?
- Were you reluctant to purchase necessary items because it may cause a disagreement?
- Did your relationships make you care less of the welfare of yourself and your family?
- Did you ever stay in a degrading or dangerous situation longer than you planned?
- Have you ever dragged old hurts into discussions about current items?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, and illegal act to finance someone's addiction?
- Did your relationships cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to change someone else?
- Did you ever have an idea that if loved ones would only see things your way, life would be much better?
- Have you ever considered self-destruction as a result of your reactions or relationships?