What is codependency?
Codependency is a pathological condition, characterized by deep preoccupation and strong emotional, social and even physical dependence on another person. This term is used mostly in relation to relatives and close ones of alcoholics, drug addicts and other people suffering from some dependence.
Codependency differs from the other types of dependences. It is characterized by certain unhealthy peculiarities and features. Unhealthy, because we depend on unhealthy person, and some way we get infected with his disease. Although, we become ill not at once, but gradually, and the disease manifests itself and progresses in a way, specific for this or that human, taking into account his character, personality traits, way of life, his personal experience and events of the past.
A codependent â€“ is a person, who is totally absorbed by desire to control the behavior of another person, and he doesnâ€™t care at all of his own essential needs.
The codependents are:
- people, who are married to a person with chemical dependence, or who are in close relations with him;
- people, who have one or both parents, suffering from chemical dependence;
- those, who grew up in an emotionally repressive families.
Among codependents are first of all those people, who experienced severe hardships in childhood; people from dysfunctional families, where one parent was absent or both parents suffered from alcoholism; where children were abused; people with traumas received in childhood not only in a family, but also at school, outdoors, from peers, teachers or other adults. Here belong victims of sexual, physical, emotional and sectarian abuse, who themselves suffer from alcoholism, drug and medication dependence and so on.
Main characteristics of codependence:
- Low self-concept is an important feature of codependent people; the other characteristics are based on it. The codependents totally depend on external evaluation, on interrelations with another people, though they hardly realize, how another people should treat them. These people canâ€™t take compliments and praise in the right way; such things may increase their feeling of guilt. Deep inside the codependents donâ€™t consider themselves to be good enough, so that they can feel guilty, when they spend money for their own needs or when they allow themselves some entertainments.
- Compulsive desire to control other peopleâ€™ lives. Codependent wives, mothers, sisters of addicts â€“ are people, who try to supervise. They believe, that they are able to control everything. The codependents are sure, that they know how the family members should behave and how the events should move within their family. Their attempts to control practically uncontrolled events often lead to depressions. The codependents take the impossibility to achieve a purpose of control as their own defeat and loose the point of life. The repeated defeats increase the level of their depression. It can be resulted also in frustration and anger.
- The desire to care of the others and save them takes place. But this care goes far beyond the normal behavior. The appropriate behavior is caused by codependentâ€™s believe in his responsibility for feelings, thoughts, actions, choice, desire and needs of the people around, for their prosperity and even for their fate. Saving a patient, such people favor his further alcohol or drug addiction. And then they become angry with the patient. The attempt to save him will never succeed. This is just a destructive behavior pattern both for the addict and the codependent.
It has been observed that codependent relatives have, as a rule, the symptoms, typical for alcoholics and drug users: frequent headaches, depressions, gastroduodenal ulcer, cardiovascular disease. The only exclusion is that codependency doesnâ€™t lead to cirrhosis.
Alcohol addiction, drug dependence and gambling as well as codependency are equally responsible for the troubles in the lives of addicts and their close ones. Such conditions take away power, energy, health and rest of the people and overmaster their thoughts and emotions. While the addict thinks of alcohol, drugs or gambling machines, the thoughts of his wife, mother, girlfriend, sister or brother are obsessively fixed on possible ways to control the addictâ€™s behavior in all spheres of his life.