Co-dependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that can affect individuals and families from having healthy, stable relationships. Originally, co-dependency was a term used to describe people who lived with someone who had an addiction. However, today the term is used to describe any dysfunctional family.
Co-dependents are usually people who have low self-esteem and are looking for anything or anyone to make them feel better about themselves. The co-dependent gets a great sense of satisfaction at being needed. However, by trying to take care of others their behavior can become compulsive and detrimental both to themselves and the addict.
Some patterns and characteristics of co-dependent behavior are:
- They have difficulty making decisions
- They value other people’s approval over their own
- They don’t seeing themselves as loveable
- They have difficulties handling mistakes and then feel badly about themselves.
- They Judge what people say to them and then see it as criticism
- They feel that they are never good enough or can do enough to help
- They are always trying to please others
Co-dependents don’t see that they are actually preventing the addict or dysfunctional family member from getting the help they need. When the addict or dysfunctional family member never faces the consequences of their action they never get the motivation to change. Many co-dependents don’t realize they are actually doing more harm than good, by believing they are helping when they are actually perpetuating the addict’s behavior.
Help for co-dependency
- Family therapy – to help break the unhealthy cycle
- Group therapy – to learn new coping skills and to realize that they are not alone
- Co-dependency Anonymous (CODA, 12 Step Mtgs.) coda.org
- Self-esteem classes
- Better boundary settings
- Getting help for the addict by calling in an Interventionist and finding a treatment program.
AToN Center 888-535-1516