Co-dependency is a strange sounding phenomenon that affects many and could best be described as an addiction to love. The co-dependent puts so much effort into taking care of another person that they stop taking care of themselves and their own needs.
People-pleasers to the max, they try to do everything they can to keep relationships together or help others.
Typically the focus is on a significant other -- a spouse, lover, boyfriend or girlfriend. But a person who is co-dependent does not stop there. They focus on everybody, instead of themselves.
They're easy to spot. They're the room mother at school who can't say "no" to every increasing demands to be the best or be perfect. They're the co-worker who is so busy helping everybody out that they don't have any time for themselves.
At the office, the co-dependent never says no to extra work. When it's time to decide where to go for lunch, they'll say "I don't care where we go eat, anywhere is ok with me." Working overtime is no problem for them. Letting someone else take the credit for their work is OK too.
At home, they go along with whatever their spouse wants. They take on all the housework, wait on their children and never ask for help. If their spouse is an alcoholic or addict, the co-dependent is quick to take care of the person's every need.
Put a co-dependent in a room full of people and they are likely to be attracted to the sickest, neediest one there. They see themselves as the good guys who will nurture and take care of lost souls.
The reason for their behavior goes back to their childhood. Often the co-dependent has received very little nurturing as a child, so they try to meet this unfulfilled need by becoming a caregiver -- a Superman or Superwoman -- to those in need. Yet they themselves are the neediest of all.
Don't expect the co-dependent to stand up for themselves; that's too threatening. Don't expect the co-dependent to say "enough is enough;" that's too demanding. In their desperate need to please, they'll do anything to help someone while ignoring themselves. They believe they do not deserve happiness. They often shoulder the blame, guilt and responsibility for anything that goes wrong in their relationships.
No wonder the co-dependent is angry even though they stuff all the anger inside. Afraid of abandonment and addicted to love, they often sink into despair and depression. They see themselves as being of no value.
Recovery is possible.
Co-dependents can learn to recognize their symptoms,
change destructive behaviors and learn to value themselves.
What Is Addiction?
What Defines an Addict?
There are as many definitions of addiction as there are types of addictions. Even among those who are “experts” in the field of addiction vary in their definitions. Most of us have an idea of what addiction DOES and CAUSES, but what IS it?
Morse & Flavin’s (1992) definition of addiction is often used by treatment centers and many substance abuse counselors. Published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 68, No. 8), Morse & Flavin defined addiction as:
Addiction is a primary, progressive, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over use of the substance, preoccupation with the substance, use of the substance despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (1994)
The DSM IV (1994) relies on symptoms for its definition. The DSM says that addiction, or dependence, is present in an individual who demonstrates any combination of three or more of the following symptoms (condensed), occurring at any time in the same 12-month period:
Preoccupation with use of the chemical between periods of use.
Using more of the chemical than had been anticipated.
The development of tolerance to the chemical in question.
A characteristic withdrawal syndrome from the chemical.
Use of the chemical to avoid or control withdrawal symptoms.
Repeated efforts to cut back or stop the drug use.
Intoxication at inappropriate times (such as at work), or when withdrawal interferes with daily functioning (such as when a hangover makes person too sick to go to work).
A reduction in social, occupational or recreational activities in favor of further substance use.
Continued substance use in spite of the individual having suffered social, emotional, or physical problems related to drug use.
Addiction is also defined as a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, even health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
Causes of Addiction
There are no specific causes of any addiction aside from use of a substance or activity, and there is no way to predict who will become dependent on use. Any substance or activity that has the capacity to be pleasurable can provide the conditions for addiction.
Symptoms of Addiction
The cardinal symptom of addiction is the inability to limit use of a substance or activity beyond need leading to clinically significant impairment.
There is a craving or compulsion to use the substance or activity.
Recurrent use of the drug or activity escalates to achieve the desired effect, indicating tolerance
Attempts to stop usage produce symptoms of withdrawal—irritability, anxiety, shakes, nausea
Recurrent use of the substance or activity impairs work, social, and family responsibilities, creates psychological impairments and interpersonal problems, has negative effects on health, mood, self-respect, exacerbated by the effects of the specific substance itself.
All addictions have the capacity to induce feelings of shame and guilt, a sense of hopelessness, and feelings of failure. In addition, anxiety and depression are common conditions among those with substance and behavioral addictions.
Now that we have an idea of what addiction actually is, and you, of course, have your own personal definition of addiction, let’s begin to learn what you can do to help your loved one. There is information within this section on more specific addictions.
The Problem...... Codependency
The latest definition of Codependency
Codependency sometimes has grave effects on human lives. Codependency is a learned behavior that is often passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.
People with a Codependency condition often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive verbally or physically. Does this sound like your situation? Then call us immediately at 913-624-9053 and request to speak with a specialist
So what is Codependency and who really has it?
There are many definitions, but basically, Codependents are people who let the feelings and actions of another person affect them to the point that they feel like they have lost control of their own lives. These are just some of the ways Codependency effects human lives.
Lets review some of the things that make people Codependent here now: Codependency affects people in a variety of ways.
Common characteristics of Codependents include:
Excessive Care-taking: Codependents feel responsible for others’ actions, feelings, choices and emotional well-being. They try to anticipate loved one’s needs and often wonder why others do not do the same for them.
Low self-esteem: Codependents are people who need to be needed. They will only feel important and valuable when they are helping others, and blame themselves for anything that goes wrong.
Denial: Codependents typically ignore, minimize or rationalize problems in the relationship, believing that “things will get better when….” They stay busy to avoid thinking about their feelings.
Fear of anger: Codependents are afraid of both their own and their loved one’s anger, because they fear it will destroy the relationship.
Health problems: The stress of Codependency can lead to headaches, ulcers, asthma and high blood pressure.
Addictive behavior: Codependents may themselves develop addictions in an attempt to deal with their pain and frustration
If you are experiencing this type of behavior in your family, or with a close friend, you can immediately call us at 913-624-9053 and we will get you in touch with one of our counseors.
Someone who will provide emotional support and give professional feedback. We can help you to understand why you feel the way that you do and more importantly, give you some clinical suggestions to make the changes necessary now.
Why does Codependency happen more with women..?
Women are over-represented in the population defined as “Codependent”. The explanation, according to many experts in the field, is that the traditional female role model “trains” women to be Codependent. Historically, our culture has rewarded women for care-taking and self-sacrificing, qualities which in excess become Codependent traits.
This disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of studying interpersonal relationships in the families of alcoholics. Codependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.
It is time to call us at 913-624-9053 and find out about speaking to our Codependency Counselor or having one of our specialists facilitate a Codependency intervention for you or your family.
How is Codependency Treated?
Because codependency is usually rooted in a person’s childhood, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns.
Treatment includes education, and begins with telephone therapeutic sessions. Our counselors are trained and experienced to help you through tough situations in which codependent individuals rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns.
Treatment also focuses on helping patients learn to get back in touch with feelings that had been buried during childhood as well as on reconstructing family dynamics.
The goal is to allow co-dependents to experience their full range of feelings again.
Call us today at 913-624-9053 to speak with a counselor to help you begin to feel better about yourself and the relationship in question