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Monday, June 4, 2007

The Codependent Is Addicted- To The Addict

Reprinted from: http://www.actsweb.org/articles/article.php?i=74&d=1&c=4&p=1

Only in recent years has codependency been recognized as the debilitating sickness it can be. At first, it was identified as a problem in alcoholic families. For example, even after alcoholic husbands dried out, twelve months later, many of their families fell apart. When the caretaking wife no longer had a needy spouse, she felt she wasn't loved anymore because she wasn't needed. What she failed to see was that she had been dependent on his dependency. Her need to be needed was enabling her husband to stay sick. In other words, she was codependent.

Codependency, it is now seen, goes far beyond taking care of an alcoholic. It applies to the caretakers of any over-dependent person–such as drug addicts, work addicts, food addicts, spend addicts, TV addicts, sex addicts, religion addicts, sports addicts, money-making addicts, and to anyone addicted to any kind of compulsive behavior. In fact, latest estimates say that up to ninety-eight percent of us are either over-dependent or codependent to one degree or another.

Second, to resolve their problems, codependents need to admit their sickness and stop blaming others for their unhappiness or the difficulties they have.

Blaming others for their problems is denying their own problem, which is at the heart of most unhappiness. Only as we face the truth, as Jesus put it, will we ever find freedom and happiness.

Third, codependents need to stop trying to change others. They have a compulsion to fix anybody but themselves. Trying to change or fix others only leads to frustration and anger for both parties. The only person we can ever fix or change is our self, and as we change, others around us are forced to change—one way or the other.

Fourth, the codependent needs to come to terms with his or her own problem. While an overdependent person is often addicted to some form of compulsive behavior, the codependent is addicted to the addict. In reality, both are overdependent on each other.

Because codependents need to feel needed in order to feel loved, they suffer from love deprivation, usually from childhood, and have confused feeling needed for feeling loved. This is why many codependents have gone into the helping professions.

In order to feel needed, some codependents will go to any length to keep a needy person dependent on them. They can be loyal to the point of being destructive both to themselves and others.

On the surface, codependency can appear to be very loving, kind and Christian. However, at its core it is a confusion of responsibility. The codependent is so busy taking too much responsibility meeting the needs of others, he neglects taking responsibility for meeting his own needs and facing his own problems.

In so doing, he short-circuits the natural consequences of his loved one's destructive behavior.

Codependents need to allow irresponsible people to face the consequences of their actions, and, if necessary, let them hit bottom. Codependents also need to accept responsibility for themselves and work on their own growth and recovery. One effective ways to do this is to join a twelve-step support or similar group. Here, you can learn to feel loved for whom your are and not for what you do for others.

Most of all, codependents need to trust their life to God—a power greater than their own—and daily ask him to face them with the reality of their problem, help them to see the root cause of it, and lead them to the help they need plus the courage to overcome.

God can make a much better job of our life than we can. Why not trust your life to him today?


Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you have stereotyped codependent people too much in this article. While much of what you say is true, a great deal of it does not apply to codependents who have faced their disease and are taking responsibility for it. You need to focus more on the cure as opposed to the symptoms, because many of the symptoms that you describe only apply to the codependent who is not taking responsibility for their own life.

I have faced my codependent traits and I do not try to blame my problems on anyone else. I keep distance from people so as to not create anymore codependent bonds. But that leaves me lonely and debilitated. How about providing some answers on what to do about that?

Anonymous said...

The only answer you give is a religious answer. That is ridiculous! What about the people who don't believe in your religion? Are you writing them off as being unable to be helped? How about using some real psychology instead of just evangelism? That's all your article boils down to... an evangelistic tract guised as an article about psychology.

Religion causes more problems than it solves. Been there, done that, have the wounds to prove it.

C said...

Thank you for your posts. For clarification, this is not MY article. As it states at the top, It was reprinted from another site.

I suggest people take what value they can find in this message, if any, and leave the rest. Not all of it will not apply to everyone.

Some would suggest that getting in touch with warm, loving people such as a trusted therapist, clergy, friends or in a safe group where you can truly open your heart and share, will help heal the problems caused by emotional trauma. It has been said that getting what you were deprived of when you were growing up (love, acceptance, empathy, etc.) makes it possible for you to truly possess and enjoy these things and pass them on to others.

One thing is clear. Staying isolated keeps you from changing and improving your life.

Because the article mentions God does not mean it is necessarily religious or evangelical. Reaching out to or letting a power greater than yourself in is recognized by 12 step groups as a helpful tool in recovery. Simply appreciating the beauty in nature can be one way to do this. Feeling the love someone has for you is another. I've heard it said that other people are one of the main ways God reaches out to us.

You don't have to be religious to enjoy the acceptance and grace of another.

Serenity,

Anonymous said...

I have a mother who is co-dependent and very emotionally abusive. I had an eating disorder for 2 years in my early twenties and as soon as I got out of that house it went away. She still tries to control and blame me for everything, and I've had to put her out of my life. She tries to turn my son against me - but fails! We have had some problems that she tried to exploit! but I've worked hard on those and thier gone and hes doing wonderfully. She portrays herself as perfect and is nice to the outside world. Galling! Awhile back my Dad died, she claimed he had dementia but what I see now he was drunk all the time but what came out in the hospital was he was having DTs alchohal withdrawal, she was in denial and even giving him blood thinners! Eventially he had bleeding in the brain and died. She's alone now, but I'll bet she finds a new victim. Its taken me so long to get over the effects of having a mother like this.

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Anonymous said...

where is the love?
all religious hype-
All condemnation- hate-
I feel for the person who shared there isolation- I understand it- God understands it- some of these ministers are so wrapped up in making people wrong- they forget the love and compassion of God.
They have repressed anger at life from bowing to sin consciousness- ignore it- amen..and praise the real God of love-
These fools have no education to help anyone and no gifts of the spirit - just big opinionated mouths. Lol-

Anonymous said...

good article. Didnt feel it was too religious. But if you mention Jesus people get upset it seems. If you would have said Buddha or Mohammed no problemo. My only problem with codependency recovery per se is that it seems to be better dealt with in conjunction with ACA (at least for me) as it represents a childhood needs issue and the puzzle becomes clear (at least for me) when I can get the pieces in order. Its tough though- like diabetes its a chronic illness that needs constant attention.