Relationships are the foundation of modern-day society. Because of relationships, families are formed and businesses are built. Humans have an innate need to connect with one another emotionally. As we grow up we learn to care about people other than ourselves. We grow fond of our family, friends, coworkers, and sometimes even become attached. When we start to put others before ourselves and feel emotionally fulfilled when they need us, we can become codependent. Addiction and codependency often go hand in hand because addiction not only affects the person suffering from it, but also the people around them. Codependency often forms when an addict starts to take advantage of people who are trying to help them. If this pattern emerges, it will only make it harder for someone to break free from the chains and bonds of addiction.
What is Codependency?
Without a doubt, it can be hard to watch a loved one hurt themself and others by using drugs and alcohol. At the same time, individuals who are suffering from addiction might unknowingly start to take advantage of those who are trying to help them. When this takes place, this is called codependency. The people that are generally at risk of codependent relationships are parents, significant others, and family members.
Parents often find themselves in codependent relationships because they want to help their addict child. If their child asks for money for food or rent, the parents are hesitant to say no because they don’t want their kid to not have food or a place to live. While they think they’re helping, they’re actually just providing the addict with a means to get high. Codependency can become habit-forming and it also leads to enabling.
It’s challenging for people to pick up on codependency and enablement if they don’t know what to look for. The most important thing people need to remember is that this type of behavior is only going to encourage someone who is suffering from addiction to continue using drugs. If a parent tries to hide their spouse’s behavior from the children in an effort to protect them, they’re actually just shielding the addict from seeing how their actions impact their family.
There are a few characteristics of codependent behavior that people should be aware of. Codependency is incredibly dangerous for people who struggle with addiction. Someone in a codependent relationship is going to have an exaggerated degree of responsibility to the person who is struggling with addiction. Someone in a codependent relationship is also going to work hard to do far more than their fair share at all times. Finally, someone in a codependent relationship is also going to have an extreme degree of guilt about the situation, therefore they may feel trapped in the relationship.
How Does it Affect Addiction?
Codependency fuels addiction. Why is someone going to stop using drugs or alcohol if they know their loved ones will give them money and provide them with a place to live? Codependency gives the addict inherent permission to continue using drugs or alcohol because they think they’ll always be ok.
Codependency is also dangerous because the nonaddict often makes excuses for the addict. If an addict is high and unable to go to a family gathering, they’ll probably rely on their significant other to tell the family. This can encourage the nonaddict to lie and make excuses when they definitely shouldn’t have to.
A codependent relationship is going to shield someone with addiction from the consequences of their actions. This is going to end up furthering someone’s addiction, making it harder to recover when that person finally reaches rock bottom and looks for help.
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