Codependency - What is It?

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lizwool
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Codependency - What is It?

Codependency- What is It? Shirley Morris, The Bruised Reeds Codependency is when someone (spouse, parent, sibling, coworker, or friend) allows another person's addicted or dysfunctional behavior to control his/her thoughts, feelings, or actions.

Codependents tend to live their lives in response or reaction to the dysfunctional person's behavior or attitudes. They no longer have a life of their own, and they may find themselves unable to relate to others in a healthy way, but they don't know why.

The actions of an addicted person can be so unpredictable and difficult that loved ones (potential codependents) are often in a tense state of alert. The codependent may react by denying there is a problem, or take on responsibility for the problem, or become angry, ashamed, and resentful of the loved one.

The whole household can be adversely affected by living with an addicted/dysfunctional person. In order to survive, family members (or coworkers) may try to hide the problem, or control the addicted person's behavior, or cover up for him/her. This codependent behavior has the opposite effect of what's intended. It keeps the person from experiencing the consequences of his/her actions that might have led them to seek help, and it entraps the codependent in a lifestyle totally dependent on whatever the addicted person does or does not do.

If there are children in the family, they can also be seriously affected and react by either overachieving, rebelling, clowning around or withdrawing from the family. Whatever coping behaviors they adopt may continue to be an unhealthy life-long way to handle conflict.

Codependency can lead to various long-term problems, such as low self-esteem (sense of failure and inadequacy), depression (feeling hopeless and helpless), numbing of emotions, health problems (such as headaches, asthma, ulcers and high blood pressure), or relationship difficulties.

In relationships codependents often find they are no longer able to trust or be open and honest. If they do get involved in relationships, they are usually unhealthy ones that cause them more pain.

There is hope and healing for codependents, however. Family and friends can regain control over their lives and learn to live in healthier ways. Codependents can become actors, rather than reactors. It takes time, courage and determination to begin the recovery journey, but it's worth it.

The first step, if you believe you might be codependent, is to admit you have been adversely affected by living/working in a dysfunctional environment and your life has become unmanageable.

The second step is to seek help. There are counselors and support groups who understand your problems and needs and can help you on the road to recovery. Most support groups do not ask for a fee, and some counselors allow a sliding scale fee according to your income, but your recovery is worth whatever it costs.

Third, begin to think about taking care of your own needs: spiritual, emotional, and physical. This is not easy when you're used to focusing on the addicted person's needs first. Be patient with yourself. It takes time to learn to live a healthier lifestyle. Small steps are better than no steps.

Fourth, accept your limits by beginning to understand you cannot fix your addicted/dysfunctional loved one. You are not responsible for anyoneelse's recovery but your own.

Fifth, know that you are special in God's eyes, and He created you for something greater than propping up an addicted or dysfunctional person. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to let people suffer the consequences of their own behavior, which might force them to seek help for themselves. You can be set free from codependency. It takes time, courage and determination, but it's worth it.

 

Edited by: SnowWhite760 at: 11/26/06 13:30

Liz Woolley

lizwool
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Re: Codependency - What is It?

Are you co-dependent?
Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence
These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. They may be particularly helpful to newcomers.

Denial Patterns:I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.
Low Self Esteem Patterns:I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
Compliance Patterns:I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others' anger.
I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express
differing opinions and feelings of my own.
I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
I accept sex when I want love.
Control Patterns:
I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I attempt to convince others of what they "should" think and how they "truly" feel.
I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.

If so, you may want to check out this website - www.coda.org/index.php#

Edited by: lizwool at: 9/19/06 9:27

Liz Woolley

joyah
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Thank U for this post, I

Thank U for this post, I read it and found some interesting things of myself. Did not realize Im codependant.

wife_of_gamer
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This post is full of so much

This post is full of so much wisdom. They all are. I knew there were more pieces to my puzzle but I did not know where they went until reading this site. Thank ALL of you for doing this and being apart of this site to help others. I believe God is using you as a tool to reach out and help so many people looking for and really needing help. God bless you ALL.

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I go to CODA F2F meetings

I go to CODA F2F meetings actually, so yes, I'm codependent and a gaming addict. Thank you for posting this. As we like to say in our meetings...."Looking for Logic in Illogical Places".

"Even when you think it's about you, it's not about you." Dr. Bill

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Flaming codependent. I

Flaming codependent. I needed a list of "feeling words" for the longest time, because I had no vocabulary to describe my feelings.

This is really helpful information.

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I haven't met an addict or

I haven't met an addict or enabler yet that doesn't have codependency issues. Part and parcel of the scene.

Acceptance. When I am disturbed, it is because a person, place, thing, or situation is unacceptable to me. I find no serenity until I accept my life as being exactly the way it is meant to be. Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.  Acknowledge the problem, but live the solution!

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One of the books that I have

One of the books that I have on recovery says that it's fairly common for addicts to also have codependency issues, and for codependents to also have addiction issues. I know that I've got some codependency issues... :)

When you're going through hell...keep going. --Winston Churchill There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still --Corrie ten Boom

mommy3
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This hits home, thank you!

This hits home, thank you!

I attended four meetings and found the particular group I attended was more for the "addict" or person seeking to change their pattern of "abusing" others and less for the "enabler", which would be more of my role. My mom was the addict, and I, as a child, learned to be the enabler. Little by little I've worked on breaking out of this role as an adult by establishing healthy boundries. I've found it frustrates the people around me who expect me to "make them happy" or to always be there for them and do things for them while not fully supporting/encouraging my passions and goals. My mom and sisters hated me for that, but it was far better than being a doormat to them. There was really not much of a relationship to lose anyway, sadly.

I'm still learning and growing through this process and have had to endure various extremely hurtful encounter with family members while mourning the loss of not having the opportunity to be part of a "healthy" family.

Nonetheless, my past has made me who I am today, one who can better sympathize with the pain of others and can (hopefully) help others to improve their lives also. It's made me stronger and more appreciative of certain aspects of life and a more spiritual person. All precious gifts. I'm reminded that theres always someone who has had to "go through" more than me.

Liz, you've provided a great overview and good reminder that we need to continue to value and love others but not at the expense of valuing and loving ourselves.

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Oh. My. God. The

Oh. My. God.

The descriptions of codependacy describe me. Like, bull's eye.

Am I codependent? What do I do?

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lmao Sorry...Dusty.

lmao Sorry...Dusty.

It's good to have goals and dreams, but while you're waiting for things to change, waiting for promises to come to pass, don't be discontent with where you are. Learn to enjoy the season that you're in--Pastor Joel Osteen

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Welcome to the club,

Welcome to the club, Dusty! There's a book by Melodie Beattie, Codependent No More. it's really good and helpful. You might wanna check it out sometime. :)

"Even when you think it's about you, it's not about you." Dr. Bill

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Join the club, dusty.  I am

Join the club, dusty. I am under the impression that codependence responds well to 12 Step treatment, so that's another possible way to address things. Hugs...

When you're going through hell...keep going. --Winston Churchill There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still --Corrie ten Boom

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Yes, there is a 12-step

Yes, there is a 12-step program for Co-Dependents (maybe that was mentioned, sorry).

It's called CoDA (Co Dependents Anonymos)

http://coda.org

I also like the book, The Language of Letting GO, by Melody Beattie, who also wrote Copendent No More and Beyond Codependency, mentioned in earlier post. (Note: I like to order used books on Amazon for a good price, and they're delivered to the door within days).

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0894866370/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=34592398728&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1909673781253998910&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_3pgtvwibav_b

The Language of Letting Go, is like a devotional with a dated readings for each day of the year. Nice little quick read for the day to reset the mind to a healthier direction for the day.

Todays Jan 22 Reading:

...............................................................................................................................................................................

It is easy to be negative about past mistakes and unhappiness. But it is much more healing to look at ourselves and our past in the light of experience, acceptance, and growth. Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and loving.

The relaitonships we entered, stayed in, or ended taught us necessary lessons. Some of us have emerged from the most painful circumstances with strong insights about who we are and what we want.

Our mistakes? Necessary. Our frustrations, failures, and somtimes stumbling attempts at growh and progress? Necessary too.

Each step of the way, we learned. We went through exactly the experiences we needed to, to become who we are today. Each step of the way, we progressed.

Is our past a mistake? No. The only mistake we can make is mistaking that for the truth.

Today, God, help me let go of negative thoughts I may be harboring about my past circumstances or relationships. I can accept, with gratitude, all that has brought me to today.

..................................................................................................................................................

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This describes me to a T. 

This describes me to a T. I have been so angry at my gamer/husband for his behavior and never thought about what I am adding to the mix. While I'm learning I can't control his gaming, my codependant behavior is leaving me trapped by myself. I am grateful for all the posts here. I have a lot of work to do too. I am praying for strength to pull me an my four kids out of this.

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From the thread Help! My

From the thread Help! My Spouse/Significant Other is addicted to video games

Codependance.
If you are finding these changes [i.e. learning to detach] especially difficult to make, you might be what is known as codependant. Codependance can arise from childhood experiences of neglect or exposure to abuse or addiction, or it can develop after a long time of trying to live harmoniously with an addict. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us at OLG-Anon have identified signs of codependance in ourselves. The good news is, there is a lot of support available and it is possible to recover and become a confident and happy person once more.

Typically, if you are codependant, you focus on the needs of others, particularly the "addict" in the home at the expense of yourself. You might believe that once the addict is "cured", life will be wonderful and so you pour all of your time and energy into trying to "fix" them, whilst neglecting yourself, your friends or family. If you have children, you might find you are not enjoying your time with them because you are so preoccupied with the addict and their behaviour. This can deepen the guilt, self-blame and despair and make you feel much worse. Some of us become so despondant about our situation that we start having self-harming or suicidal thoughts, or turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. Again, this is nothing to be ashamed of. Seek help and consider contacting a suicide help-line in your area if things have become this bad.

If you feel you might be experiencing codependance, there is a lot of help available.
CODA (Codependants Anonymous) have both online and face to face meetings and can help you recover from codependance.

You can find a link to them here: http://www.coda.org/

Alternately, many of us have found help by attending alanon (for families of alcoholics) http://www.al-anon.org/ or nar-anon (for families and friends of substance abusers) http://www.nar-anon.org/naranon/. You do not have to disclose the nature of your partners addiction if you don't feel comfortable and you can just listen at these meetings and gain valuable insights and tools for managing your own recovery. No-one will pressure you. Remember, the fact that gaming addiction isn't known or understood by many people doesn't make it less real. What you are experiencing is VERY real and VERY painful. Society just hasn't caught up to technology yet. Alcoholism has existed for thousands of years. AA was founded in 1935, to give you some perspective.

INFO

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts click here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

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Great Resouces for codependancy

INFO

Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

Online meetings gaming addicts click here

Spouses/SO's of addicts click here

Parents of addicts click here for advice

Help for video game addicts click here

Please help! Donate here

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