Being unhealthily reliant and dependent on another person is rarely seen as an illness. But did you know that codependency is actually a form of addiction and that if it is left untreated that it will only get progressively worse over time?
Perhaps you are in a codependent relationship, or have a track record of destructive, unhealthy, relationships?
The line into codependency is crossed when your own well being is sacrificed in order to make the other person happy and stay with you.
Admitting to being a codependent does not come easy for most; it often takes severe suffering before a codependent will surrender to professional help. You may fixate on the title of codependency as a weak admission of your low self-worth. You may not want to surrender the person you are codependent on, as you cannot imagine life without them.
It is true that very few individuals will come to our rehabs for codependency treatment. It is more often the case that they find codependence is an additional illness alongside an existing alcohol or drug misuse problem or another addiction.
Looking at the root causes of an addiction or substance misuse problem often reveals much more than the focused problem. Codependency is a very common illness that many alcoholics and drug addicts suffer from, as do their significant others.
What Is Codependency?
You may be wondering “what is codependency?” or “what does being codependent look like?”
Codependency takes on many different forms. The key to recognising codependency is that the relationship is unhealthy, painful and toxic; usually to both parties involved but more so for the codependent.
Here we detail 4 examples of codependency that are very familiar to us at PCP; Codependents can often turn to substance misuse to dull the pain of their intolerable reality and circumstances.
- A love avoidant parent and codependent child – an adult child caring for an ill or disabled mother or father who they feel duty-bound to care for. Even though they receive no gratitude and have sacrificed their life, they remain in a toxic relationship due to feeling guilt and shame.
- A codependent in a relationship with a love avoidant, abuser, narcissist or sex addict. A codependent will settle for behaviour that, to most, is totally unacceptable. They do not see the truth of their reality. They will tolerate verbal and physical beatings, commitment avoidance, psychological abuse, unfaithfulness and betrayal. They feel this is all they are worth and so stay in the toxic relationship.
- A codependent drug addict and a codependent enabler. There is no real love in this relationship, only infatuation. The drug addict needs a provider and enabler to continue in their addiction. The codependent needs to be needed.
- Two codependent addicts. They will go through an endless cycle of one getting clean and one relapsing, leading the other to relapse each time. They feel as addicted to each other as they do to alcohol or drugs.
The one thing that all of these examples of codependent relationships have in common is that there is no healthy love or boundaries in place.
Do You Need To Be Needed?
Recovery from Codependency is possible. Let PCP help you or a loved on to recover.
Signs and Symptoms of Codependency
Codependency is often steeped in denial; it can be hard to see the truth from the false. Answering these questions honestly may help you to admit of you have a problem and need help:
- Do you need to be needed by someone in order to feel valued?
- Do you justify unacceptable behaviour in others?
- Do you get upset, anxious or angry when the object of your codependency does not do what you want?
- Are you shut off from others advice around your relationship?
- Do you have an extreme fear of abandonment and rejection?
- Do you constantly feel the need to fix others problems?
- Do you regularly offer advice and instructions even when you are not asked?
- Do you cover up secrets and lie for the other person?
- If you are in a relationship with an addict/alcoholic/needy person, do you fear the day they get well and no longer need you?
- Do you feel indebted to or responsible for the other person?
- Do you feel resentful, jealous and hurt if they seek help and advice from someone else?
- Do you enable their behaviour by giving them money/paying bills/providing shelter/making excuses – just to keep them close?
- Have you become isolated from friends and family as a result of your relationship?
- Do you feel depressed, fearful, anxious and have neglected your own personal needs and wants?
- Have you ever contemplated suicide as a way out?
- Do you suffer from very low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness, or feelings of grandiosity or superiority?
- Do you consider yourself not worthy of any better?
- Do you constantly obsess about the other person and what they are doing?
- Have you ever misused alcohol or drugs or engaged in other destructive behaviours just for escape?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, we suggest that you seek help and advice and call us now and speak with a member of our friendly team.
What Causes Codependency?
Codependents will often believe that the problem is not within them but in the person that is the object of their codependency.
Codependent addiction often manifests in childhood years up to the age of 18. Certain belief systems and experiences form their idea of what a “normal” relationship should look like. If their beliefs and experiences are negative or unhealthy, then their future relationships will be negative and unhealthy too.
There are 5 main factors in childhood that can cause the illness of codependency to develop:
- Lack of love and nurture
- Rejection and abandonment
- Family addiction
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- Mental or physical illness
Can Both Partners Be Codependent?
Codependents will usually seek out or attract other codependents, addicts or love avoidants. This enables their codependent behaviour, which is all they have come to know.
How to Recover From Codependency
Codependents will rarely accept help for their illness; the reason being is that they cannot imagine a life without the object of their codependent thinking and behaviours. If they do manage to break free, they will quickly substitute one relationship for another in order to overcome the pain of loss and rejection that they feel inside.
The only solution is to undergo intensive therapy that addresses the dysfunctional thoughts behind the behaviours and introduces the codependent to esteemable behaviour and healthy boundaries; it is then down to them to ensure that they implement what they have learned into their daily life. Just like addiction, there is no quick fix or cure, but recovery is attainable and sustainable with willingness and hard work.
Freedom from codependency and painful, obsessive thought patterns are entirely possible if the person is willing to accept help and change themselves.
PCP treat codependency alongside other addictions; our expert counsellors are trained to treat codependents fully. We also incorporate a number of other evidence-based therapies that are proven to be helpful in overcoming codependency and in healing the mind and spirit.
Help For Codependents Significant Others and Partners
It is paramount that anyone who is affected by codependency seeks help and treatment. There are various options available for an individual who does not have other addictions and does not require inpatient treatment. CODA 12 steps and Pia Mellody’s books on breaking free from codependency provide an effective solution for anyone suffering from codependency.
Is There Codependency Treatment Available on the NHS?
Codependency treatment is not available on the NHS as such, but you can access counselling services through your GP. It is always a good idea to seek therapy for codependency to address the core issues that are at the root of the problem.
If you suffer from addiction and codependency, or severe codependency, private inpatient rehab will give you the best foundation for recovery. Sadly this cannot be accessed on the NHS.
Rehab For Codependency
At PCP we take the illness of codependency very seriously; we know the damage and harm it can cause. Individuals that suffer can fall into isolation, deep depression and even contemplate suicide.
We feel it is important that we provide an affordable and highly effective solution for those suffering from codependency alongside any other addiction. Our CQC registered UK rehabs provide a safe haven and professional treatment for those suffering from all manner of addictions. We offer primary, secondary and third stage living rehab at a cost that is affordable to most.
The treatment you receive whilst at our rehab will be delivered by an elite team of qualified addiction professionals, including Doctors, Nurses, Psychotherapists, Counsellors and Holistic Therapists. Our London rehab also specialises in treating victims of domestic violence, which can be another form of codependent relationships.
PCP has an effective solution that can help set you free, to first of all form a loving relationship with yourself and then with others.