There are some people that feel like they cannot live without the other person. While this may seem like a romantic notion that we see in entertainment, it is more like a barrier to getting well if you suffer from addiction like being in a codependent relationship. It is important that you not rely on encouraging someone’s bad habits to maintain your sense of need from that person by going into treatment to discover feelings about yourself that have stayed hidden for a long time.
Being in a codependent relationship is when you place the need of others over your own and will do almost anything to make sure that relationship stays. You want more than anything to be loved by that person and are scared of being rejected. This can mean supporting someone’s bad habits like drug using. That person can be complaining to you that they need money so they can support their drug habit or they will die. This can prompt you to clear out your savings account to support their drug habit because you are afraid they will close off all contact with you if you refuse. While you may think you are doing the right thing, you can either end up preventing them from realizing they have a problem or make their drug addiction worse.
There can be a number of reasons why you feel dependent on this person. Maybe you feel unloved at home and you depend on the opinion of this person more than anyone. You will do anything to make sure this person thinks highly of you. You could be living with this person like a family member or a spouse and feeling dependent on giving that person their medication, taking them to treatment, and anything else they ask that you can forget about their own needs. Or it can be the opposite where you are doing whatever you can to support their drug habit since that person is depending on you to support their drug cravings and if they get better, they might not need you anymore.
Not only are spouses affected in a codependent relationship but children can be too. If their drug addicted parent is constantly getting arrested for DUIs, drug dealing, drug possession, or other drug-related crimes, they can be constantly calling their children to bail them out and the child feels like they have to as they do not want anything wrong to happen to their parents. The child becomes the caretaker to the parent instead of it being the other way around.
According to a study in Science and Collective Health, being in a codependent relationship can involve developing an addiction as well on substances, food, or gambling. They may need that person’s money to support their own drug habit or that person can be supplying the drugs for the other person. You can also lose your relationships with other people around you as that person becomes the center of your world. You can also not fulfill important responsibilities like your career, financial needs, and your children. You can also develop poor health if you are not taking care of yourself, suffer low self-esteem if you feel like you are nothing without the other person, and can develop depression. You may want to help that person but being needed is more important so you have to support bad habits for that to happen.
Luckily, there is treatment for those in a codependent relationship where trained psychologists can help you fix your self-image, set goals for yourself, define your own personal needs, and establish boundaries. Instead of pursuing the needs of others, you will now think of what you need to accomplish. It may involve having to separate yourself from that person so you can stand your ground as an individual. You can explore your early childhood issues and the relationship you have to destructive behaviors. Education, individualized therapy, and group therapy can teach you rediscover and identify unhealthy behavior. You can get in touch with your buried childhood feelings and fix the dysfunctional dynamics in your family.
You can first try to understand the cycle of addiction through going to the library, going to addiction treatment and mental health centers to learn how addiction can affect those around you including yourself. Recognize what behaviors you set that can enable another person’s addiction and how that has to stop. This can be about learning to say no if that person is always depending on you to rescue them from any problems they run into that has to deal with their drug addiction. It is also about finding ways to show love for that person but also being tough. To let that person know that saying no is your way of supporting them to get help.
Most importantly, you can learn that you do not solely need that person to make you happy but to think of all of the other people in your life who care about you including yourself. Remember that just because you close yourself off from that codependent relationship, that does not mean that you are no longer codependent. It may take a number of years to learn about self-love and changing your thinking and behavior to develop new healthy habits. As long as you work at getting better every day, you will learn to depend on the opinions of no one but yourself.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888 570 7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.