Codependency: Addicted to People

by AdamS on October 8, 2012

Have you ever met a person that is in a destructive relationship with a drug addict or alcoholic, and all you can do is question how they could possibly endure all the pain that they are being put through? The truth is, in the same way that an individual can be addicted to gambling, binge eating, and sex, people can also be addicted to other people; it is called codependency. Often times, even after a drug addict or alcoholic has gone through treatment, their spouses and loved ones often are encouraged to take part in Family Outreach programs that are designed to teach them about how toxic codependency is on their lives and their relationships. Here are some ways to tell if you are codependent:

#1 Making Excuses For Someone Else’s Behavior

It’s common for people in a codependent relationship to feel like they need to take responsibility for some of the destructive consequences of an addiction. They are compelled to try to satisfy their needs and minimize controversial situations through manipulation or controlling strategies. Often times they think that their efforts to “fix” their significant other is noble and selfless, but they ultimately desire to feel needed and validated within the relationship.

#2 Taking Irrational Measures to Stay in the Relationship

People that are codependent are often motivated by feelings of fear. They are afraid of being rejected or left alone, which causes them to be burdened with the desperate need to gain approval from others. Codependent individuals often are distressed by their partners’ drug addiction or alcoholism, but are fraught with the idea that they should have another caretaker if they went to treatment; their identity and validity in the relationship is threatened. In response to this fear, they are willing to make the necessary changes to make sure that this does not happen. This could be anything from taking misplaced blame, changing their appearance, or making major life changes.

#3 Having a Hard Time Making Personal Decisions

The codependent partners’ whole life revolves around the life of the addict. It gets so influenced, that the codependent will have a difficult time differentiating their true emotions from those that are being manipulated by the addict. For example if the addict is distressed, then they become consumed with the idea of consoling them. This causes them to develop a difficulty in making decision that protect themselves, or to articulate what they really need in order to be truly happy.

 

The danger of being involved in this kind of relationships is that what started out as means to continue to feel loved is ultimately unsatisfied. This can lead to resentment and anger that makes manifest of mental disorders like anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, as well as other serious physical health issues. Just like addicts to various drug types need rehabilitation to quit depending on them for happiness, codependent individuals need to find treatment through therapy or Family Outreach in order to stop being dependent on people.

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