One of the primary challenges clients confront is the tendency to revert to codependent behaviors and patterns. Key to successful recovery is maintaining consistent and balanced responses to these tendencies. Our program specifically targets the recognition of codependent issues, providing a roadmap for lasting positive change and independence.
What exactly is Codependency?
Codependency is a relational pattern where one person becomes overly reliant on another to meet their emotional and self-worth needs. It’s akin to a dance where one partner is continuously leaning on the other, fearing they might fall if left to stand alone. While it’s natural to seek support from loved ones, codependency magnifies this reliance to an extreme. Those who exhibit codependent behaviors often prioritize the needs of others above their own, sacrificing their well-being and always seeking validation from external sources.
According to Jonathan Becker who is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee,
“Codependency is typically discussed in the context of substance use, where one person is abusing the substance, and he or she depends on the other person to supply money, food, or shelter. But Codependency is much broader than that. Codependency can be defined as any relationship in which two people become so invested in each other that they cannot function independently anymore. Your mood, happiness, and identity are defined by the other person. In a codependent relationship, there is usually one person who is more passive and cannot make decisions for themselves and a more dominant personality who gets some reward and satisfaction from controlling the other person and making decisions about how they will live.”
This behavior often finds its roots in childhood. Early environments where emotions weren’t openly discussed, households with inconsistent care, or those impacted by addiction or chronic illnesses can inadvertently nurture codependent traits. Over time, individuals might grapple with low self-worth, an intense need for approval, or even a paralyzing fear of abandonment. Recognizable signs include difficulty establishing personal boundaries, an inclination to remain in harmful situations, and an overwhelming sense of responsibility for the feelings and actions of others.
Though commonly associated with romantic partnerships, it’s pivotal to understand that codependency can manifest in various relationships, from friendships to familial ties and even in professional environments. The recurring theme is an ongoing imbalance: the codependent person perpetually seeks validation and support, while their counterpart might either lean heavily on this dynamic or exploit it, perpetuating a cycle that’s difficult to interrupt. As with any challenge, recognizing and understanding codependency is a critical first step toward fostering healthier, more balanced relationships.
Signs of Codependency
Examples of Codependent Relationships
Codependency can occur in a huge variety of interpersonal relationships. Some of the most common include:
Codependency is often the Result of Good Intentions
In 2006 a small survey by Lisa Romano was created on Google to try to understand what people feel and how we secretly feel about ourselves. The results came from 1,000 individuals and consisted of answers from over 200 countries.
What her survey found was that:
94% of the individuals feel invisible and unheard.
85% secretly feel like they are unworthy of love, peace, abundance, and happiness.
82% secretly worry more about the needs of others than of their own.
People with Codependency often have good intentions. However, their “rescue” attempts often end up harming the person they seek to help, as it enables their destructive behavior. This is why seeking professional help is essential for those in codependent relationships.
Maui Recovery’s Comprehensive Approach to Codependency Recovery
Codependency, often characterized by medical experts as a ‘family disease,’ is intricately woven into complex relationship dynamics. Such relationships can heighten emotional, mental, and physical challenges. A particularly pervasive issue for those on the path to recovery is the pull of familiar yet detrimental behaviors.
To break these patterns, staying consistent and grounded is essential. Recognizing the familial roots of many addictive behaviors, Maui Recovery adopts an inclusive approach, involving the families of those grappling with addiction. By incorporating family sessions and education, we ensure a holistic understanding of the problem, paving the way for a supportive environment and lasting recovery for everyone affected.
The 4 steps for Codependency recovery:
- Sobriety from substances or alcohol
- Awareness and acknowledgment of the codependent relationship(s)
- Accepting the unhappiness and suffering that the relationship(s) is responsible for
- Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy coping techniques