What Is Codependency Disorder?
A common buzzword found in addiction and toxic relationships is “codependent”. At its core, relationships, where codependency traits are found, are inherently dysfunctional and one sided. Codependency can appear in many different ways, but generally, follows the same patterns and is rooted in similar issues. Here is a run down on codependency, its signs, and its place inside the therapeutic community.
What Is It?
By definition, codependency is “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” In dysfunctional relationships, friendships, and families, as well as common in the addicted family, codependency can “benefit” both parties. For the addict or instigating party, they thrive on the care and enabling provided by the more submissive or “giving” party. For the other person, “helping” allows them to avoid feelings of guilt, or makes them feel better about themselves.
Signs of Codependency
Most codependent individuals have at least a few of these signs. While you don’t have to have all of them to be considered codependent, and you may not even recognize you have these characteristics, they are the common traits found among people with codependency disorder.
- Lack of Boundaries
- Low Self-Esteem
- Reactive Personality
- People Pleasing
- Communication Disfunction
These are a few of the signs of codependency disorder and can manifest themselves in various ways depending on the type of relationship and individual displaying them.
Codependency and Therapy
Codependency can be addressed and worked through with the help of your therapist, and it is important to find one that is skilled in the area of this disorder. It can be very difficult to treat and work through because, often times, the behaviors and thought patterns are learned early on or passed down from generation to generation. How does therapy work to treat codependency?
- Fixing or Supporting?
- Offering a listening ear and support is vastly different than “swooping in” and fixing the problem for your loved one.
- Creating Boundaries
- By setting boundaries, your loved one is forced to take responsibility for their decisions and the outcomes of those decisions.
- Improving Self-Care
- Self-care is not necessarily in the nature of the codependent person, as they are usually focused on the other people around them. This is a key aspect of therapy.
- Productive Help
- Learning about productive help, such as volunteering, versus unproductive help, like “fixing” people, is a huge part of your recovery from this disorder.
With dedication and personal work, you can live a healthy and independent life free of codependent behaviors. There is hope for those with this disorder, and that hope starts with taking the first step and seeking a therapist to guide you through this difficult journey.
Our therapy practice can help you with codependency in Portland. Simply contact our therapy office for more information.