Individuals with mental health conditions or substance use disorder (SUD) are at a greater risk of experiencing additional issues within their relationships. That may include the development of a codependent relationship. Some people describe codependency as a relationship addiction. This “addiction” can lead to a loss of dependence, inability to function without another person, or a struggle to manage mental health and SUD symptoms. Thankfully, therapy can help individuals overcome codependency and break free from the bounds of a codependent relationship.
Alter Wellness Mindfuli is focused on helping people recover from SUD, manage mental health conditions, and improve their overall wellness. This is all possible with our professional counselors and convenient virtual platform. You can start utilizing these services to aid your journey in healing from a codependent relationship by visiting our website and completing a short series of questions today.
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is when a person has an unhealthy relationship with another person. It is sometimes described as an emotional or behavioral condition, but many people present codependent tendencies. Codependent tendencies can affect your ability to have a healthy relationship with a significant other or even a friend or family member. These are referred to as codependent relationships.
A codependent relationship is typically one-sided. It emotionally damages the person with codependency issues and can cause them to develop certain mental health issues. Codependent behaviors are usually learned. Children may observe parenting styles or experience abandonment and rejection from a young age. Codependency can also be triggered by complex emotions, including shame, guilt, or low self-esteem. Like anything, these triggers vary depending on the person.
While codependency is sometimes confused with being chemically dependent on substances, it is not the same. Individuals with chronic illnesses also find themselves in unhealthy, codependent relationships.
Why Are Codependent Relationships Unhealthy?
Codependent relationships are unhealthy and toxic for many reasons. To begin with, they cause people to lack independence. A lack of independence can cause a person to experience low self-esteem, as many people with codependent issues look to others for approval or assurance. Requiring this level of assurance is harmful, as many lose complete autonomy over their life decisions.
As mentioned, codependent relationships can also cause people to develop mental health conditions. That may include anxiety, depression, SUD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or eating disorders. If not addressed, the behaviors associated with codependency will progress and exacerbate symptoms of mental health conditions. By not seeking help, you may be doing more damage to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
How Does a Codependent Relationship Enable the Cycle of Addiction?
Addiction is only one of many conditions that may develop because of a codependent relationship. Typically in these relationships, there is the person who is codependent and the enabler. The enabler typically thrives off being the savior of their partner. This causes them to rely on the harmful behaviors of that person in order to satisfy their needs.
Enabling behaviors support the addiction of a loved one. When someone depends on the harmful actions of others to soothe their emotional needs, they may continue enabling those behaviors. An enabler may manipulate a partner into not seeking treatment and continuing substance use so they do not lose out on the opportunity to meet their needs. This is incredibly toxic, as the enabling behaviors cause individuals with SUD to stay in a vicious cycle of addiction.
These addictions can lead to chronic health conditions and even death if unaddressed. But what can people do to save themselves from the dangers of a codependent relationship? Well, the first thing is to be able to recognize the signs of a codependent relationship.
What Are the Signs of a Codependent Relationship?
Similar to how different people experience unique codependency triggers, signs of codependency vary from one relationship to the next. However, ten general signs to look out for include:
- Experiencing anxiety when you are not in contact with your partner
- You have trouble being alone
- It becomes increasingly difficult for you to make decisions alone
- Frequent instances of canceling plans to be with your partner
- Paying more attention to the feelings of your partner than your own
- Doing anything for the reassurance and approval of your partner
- Your partner actively prevents you from seeking mental health or addiction treatment
- A lack of boundaries within the relationship
- Toxic behaviors, such as lying or manipulation
- Recognizing harmful behaviors within yourself, like abusing substances or thoughts of hurting yourself
If you recognize these signs within yourself and your relationship, it’s important to seek professional help. Alter Wellness Mindfuli can help with your recovery, and we can also help you feel more empowered to take the steps necessary to heal from a codependent relationship.
Codependent behaviors or tendencies are very common among individuals struggling with mental health conditions or substance use disorder (SUD). Codependent relationships cause people to rely heavily on the help, assurance, or approval of another person – typically a partner. In a codependent relationship, there is generally the codependent individual and the enabler or giver. When you struggle with mental health issues or SUD, your partner may prevent you from seeking the help you need because they count on their ability to save you in times of distress. This dynamic is extremely toxic, and recognizing the signs of a codependent relationship is necessary if you hope to heal and recover. To enlist the help of Alter Wellness Mindfuli, call (866) 973-4415 today.