What is Codependency?
Codependency aka relationship addiction is a psychological condition in which someone is in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship that involves living with and providing care for another person (such as a drug addict, alcoholic, emotional abuser, etc.)
My Experiences with Codependency
Many people including myself have been in this type of relationship. It’s a hellish ride and both parties are unhappy. There is usually one person who is the “savior” and the other person is in need of saving. From my experience, the “savior” is in a fruitless position. Rationality points out that you can’t “save” another person, but the emotional side believes it can happen.
Films that Encourage Codependency
I blame films like, She’s All That, the one shown above for encouraging people that’s its possible to change others. It’s not; the person has to want to change in order for it happen. If you’re with someone who has addiction problems, emotional problems, financial problems, etc. and you want to help them, that’s great. But solving their problems is not useful. Guiding them and helping them to independence is key.
Here are symptoms of codependents:
1. Low self-esteem-Feeling you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others.
2. People-pleasing– It’s okay to please others once in awhile, but co-dependents sacrifice their own needs to please others.
3. Poor boundaries– Boundaries are imaginary lines that divide what’s yours and what’s others. It’s self-protection. Co-dependents have blurry and weak boundaries. Sometimes they can have rigid boundaries, which makes them withdrawn.
4. Reactivity– With poor and blurry boundaries, co-dependents react to everyone’s opinions and thoughts. They either believe the person or they get defensive.
5. Care-taking– Co-dependents help others to the point they are unable to help themselves.
6. Control– Control helps co-dependents feel secure and safe. It can be masked by people pleasing and caretaking or being involved in another addiction like alcoholism.
7. Lack of Communication-Co-dependents are unable to communicate their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and opinions because they are scared someone will be offended.
8. Denial-Co-dependents don’t face the fact that they themselves may need as much help as the person they are trying to “save.”
9. Problems with Intimacy-Co-dependents struggle being close to people because of the fear of being judged, shamed, rejected, or left.
10. Painful emotions– Codependent relationships often lead to stress, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the emotions become overwhelming, it can lead to numbness.
Please get help if you or someone you know is struggling with codependency.