WHAT IS CODEPENDENCY?
Codependency is a word used to define a wide range of behaviours, usually displayed within relationships, pertaining to areas such as self-denial, low self-esteem, avoidance and control. Essentially, the sufferer has not developed a sense of self and has a need to be in relationships to feel whole or complete.
However, in the codependent relationship, love is conditional, healthy boundaries are (at best) blurred and independence is lost. This pattern of reliance on compulsively helping others in either a controlling (dictator) or subservient (people pleaser) way becomes the ‘drug of choice’.
The codependent can suffer serious withdrawal when removed from their primary relationship(s), which can include mood swings, irritability, emotional/psychological distress and depression.
These selfless, loyal martyrs gravitate towards relationships in which they feel they are needed (rescuer). This is a behavioural disorder that can be passed down through generations and is difficult to diagnose.
To the untrained eye, it can be easily masked as it is often underpinned by good intentions.
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A BRIEF HISTORY OF CODEPENDENCY
Codependent is a term that was first used to describe women married to alcoholic men. These unhealthy relationships had previously been labelled ‘Co-Alcoholic’ (1960’s) and then ‘Co-Addict’ (1970s). These women would pay for, lie for, clear up the mess and remain loyal in abusive relationships.
This cluster of behaviours would allow the alcoholic to continue in their chemical dependency without confrontation. This was termed ‘enabling’ as it allowed them to continue in active addiction. It was initially believed that the relationship with the alcoholic was the cause of codependency.
In time, people with no alcoholism or addiction in their family of origin identified as codependent. It soon became clear that childhood trauma in various forms seemed to be a huge contributory factor.
Early definitions were attached to people who developed unhealthy or maladaptive coping patterns from their family of origin where the no talk, no trust, no feel, rules were daily survival skills. Control was the order of the day.
Signs and Symptoms
Am I Codependent?
If the answer to more than one of these questions is yes, there might be a pattern of codependency arising, and it might be time to seek professional help. Contact us for more information.
WHY CAMINO RECOVERY?
Camino Recovery’s clinical team understand that codependency is often rooted in past behaviours and experiences.
We have a range of therapies at our disposal to best treat the cause and symptoms.
Please call and speak with one of our therapists in total confidence.