Codependency is often confused with shared drinking and mutual support in making addiction worse. In fact, this phenomenon applies to a person’s life with an alcoholic or other addict. The behavior of a co-addicted person is mainly based on unconscious consent to the addiction of a partner or spouse and displacement of the problem of alcoholism. What does a codependent person feel and how does he behave?
What Is A Co-Addicted Person
Codependency most often concerns the partner or spouse of the addicted person. The term also often refers to family members. Co-addiction syndrome is manifested by the fact that such a person tries not to notice the change in his partner’s behavior and tries at all costs to prove to himself and to others that he is not affected by alcoholism. Usually codependent people feel many extreme emotions at once, such as shame and helplessness.
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They also lose their self-esteem. They usually forget about their own needs and self-realization in order to fully devote themselves to the good of their addicted partner. In fact, all control-protection behaviors are counterproductive to what they should be, contributing to the further development of alcoholism and pathological behavior. This is caused by a general denial, as well as fear of the opinion of others and the collapse of all roles in the family.
Symptoms Of Co-Addiction:
- subordinating the lifestyle to the addicted person,
- hiding the alcohol problem among family members,
- constant stress and focus on the partner,
- constant control of the situation and the addicted person,
- lowering self-worth,
- feeling guilty about drinking a loved one and being manipulated by the alcoholic,
- concealing or suppressing the problem of a drinking partner.
Codependency is dependence on someone else’s inappropriate behavior. It is a pathological condition. The codependent person sees himself as the only person who can solve the problems related to the alcoholic’s life. In psychology, this condition is called the Messiah complex. It involves solving the alcoholic’s problems and trying to change the behavior of the drinking partner. A common reason for this is the low self-esteem of a co-addict who has an internal compulsion to feel that someone needs him or her.
Features Of A Codependent Person
Symptoms in codependent people are sometimes difficult to see at first glance. Often the problem of addiction at home is hidden from others, and therefore some features also seem to be normal. How does a co-addicted person behave? Partners or spouses function on the basis of denial. This means that they are ignoring the fact that they have an alcohol problem out of fear.
They prefer to submit their lives to a toxic relationship, even if it has to do with their partner’s continued drinking. Co-addicts decide to take care of their loved ones in everything, e.g. cleaning or professional matters. They continually justify alcoholics’ behavior to others, such as their employer, and to themselves. The mode of the day is adjusted to the addict’s needs, so that the addict does not feel that drinking is a problem. At the same time, the co-addicted person tries to constantly control the partner’s drinking alcohol, which only provokes and causes aggression in the drinking partner.
Another feature of a codependent person is taking responsibility for every act of the alcoholic, as long as no one sees that family roles have been disturbed. Thus, it inadvertently allows the partner to become addicted. How to talk to a codependent person? The only solution is therapy with a psychologist who will explain the wrong mechanism of action and suggest how to react properly and how to deal with the problem of addiction.
Family Alcohol Dependence
In codependency, family members do everything possible to hide the alcohol problem and not distort the image of the ideal family they create outside. Spouses and children may avoid friends and other people to better mask the drinking problems of a loved one. Codependent family members often forget their own needs and desires, devoting their lives to trying to control the addicted person or cure him of drinking.
Codependency – How Can You Help Yourself
Do you suspect you might be a codependent person? Co-addicts often say they don’t need help. This is because they themselves do not perceive the seriousness of the situation and do not allow their partner’s alcoholism to think about it. How can I help myself?
One way to get help for co-addiction is therapy in a rehab center. Treatment of both sides increases the chances of overcoming the addiction to 80%. If only an alcoholic or only a close person uses the help, then the probability of treatment success is reduced by half. The meetings can be one-on-one, but when you talk to people with similar experiences, you feel a lot of relief, understanding, and a willingness to make changes in your life.
You also have faith that codependency and the alcohol addiction can be overcome. A codependent person is to feel responsible for his own life and take full part in it. At the beginning it will be very difficult for him, but the therapeutic effort made will increase the sense of happiness of the person affected by the co-addiction, and moreover, it will effectively help the addicted person to recover from the addiction.
In Relation To The Drinker
Self-help groups – such as Alcoholics Anonymous – recommend that addicts entering therapy refrain from engaging in romantic relationships for about two years. This is due to the accumulation of very intense feelings that we usually experience at the beginning of the relationship. This may contribute to reducing the effectiveness of the therapy or completely stopping the recovery process.
Additionally, people struggling with various types of trauma often recreate destructive patterns of toxic relationships – until they are developed during therapy.
Therapists usually advise against relationships between two addicts. Alcoholics getting to know each other, for example during group therapy, may become interested in themselves because of the similar experiences they are struggling with – and therefore a sense of security.
Resources: Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic