The term “codependency” has been around for many years. Originally used with talking about spouses of alcoholics, first called co-alcoholics, it has been shown that the characteristics of codependents are much more prevalent in the general population than had been imagined. In fact, they found that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill parent, it’s likely that you’re codependent. Most families in America are on some level dysfunctional, so that covers just about everyone. Codependent symptoms often get worse if untreated, but the good news is that they are reversible. By replacing old unhealthy behaviors with new healthy ones is the key.

Take a moment to consider that you might be hooked on the feeling that loving and caring for someone brings pain and discomfort. If so, you might be self-sabotaging your chances of having a healthy relationship where you can get your needs met. Your fear of being alone or taking a risk, for instance, might be preventing you from finding the happiness you deserve. You may be freezing out the opportunity to have a relationship with someone who can meet you half way. According to Pia Mellody, codependents demonstrate very low self-esteem, have difficulty in setting functional boundaries, owning and experiencing their own reality, and taking care of their needs. The good news is that it is possible to recover from codependency, especially if the person is aware of their codependent traits.

Because co-dependency is usually rooted in a person’s childhood, treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationships and how they use what they have learned in their current daily destructive behavior patterns. Co-dependents can learn how to rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behavior patterns. Treatment focuses on helping you get in touch with feelings that have been buried during your childhood and on reconstructing family dynamics. The goal is to allow you to experience your full range of feelings again.

Here’s a list of some characteristics of someone who is codependent:

* Shame and Low self-esteem

* People pleasing

* Poor Boundaries

* Reactivity without thinking things through

* Caretaking and thinking it is helping the person

* Controlling the situation by engaging in the unhealthy behaviors

* Dysfunctional communication-lying, stonewalling, etc

* Obsessed with unhealthy situations

* Dependency

Codependent people experience a lot of turmoil in their lives due to having the PRIMARY FOCUS on another person and their actions. By broadening their perspective one gains an insight into what they contribute to the turmoil in the relationship. Without this insight, fighting, arguing, distancing, getting sick, and blaming others keep the turmoil going. When the person begins to gain the insight, he/she learns not to blame others and begins to take care of their mental well being and personal growth. During treatment with assistance in recognizing one’s part in codependent relationships you will be able to:

Honestly assess the relationship with your addicted loved one and want to change yourself

Set boundaries and parameters to help prevent tension and inequality

Accept the fact that you are not to blame for your loved one’s unhappiness

Establish a more assertive attitude and role in the context of your relationship

Decrease the need to control things

Identification and Expression of your Feelings

Improving Boundaries: Developing Values of Openness, Honesty, and Willingness


Book Recommendations

Eating Disorders:
When Food is Love—–Geneen Roth
Fat is a Family Affiar—–Judi Hollis
Food for Love—– Janet Greesen
Binge No More—–Joyce Nash
Love to Eat- Hate to Eat—–Elyse Fitzpatrick

Codependent No More—–Melody Beattie
Beyond Codependency—–Melody Beattie
Facing Codependency—- Pia Mellody

The 5 Love Languages—– Gary Chapman
The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work—-John Gottman
Surviving Infidelity—–R. Subotnik and G. Harris
His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage—–Willard F. Jr. Harley
Boundaries in Marriage—–Henry Cloud John Townsend

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