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Codependency: How To Recognize The Signs

Many people with codependent traits have underlying chronic anger. Alta Mira offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders and process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Bay Area programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward lasting recovery. When you’re trapped in a codependent relationship, you’ll never feel empowered.

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They rely on others for their identity and sense of worth. Needless to say, codependent relationships can be emotionally destructive for both partners — no matter how much they love and devotion they have for each other. Because it goes without saying that relationships rely on a dynamic of give and take — and that simply can’t exist when one person is suppressing their needs and sacrificing too much. In a healthy relationship, the ability to enjoy some “me time“ can be as valuable as your experiences together. In a codependent relationship, though, partners often only have shared friends and hobbies.

Substance Use Disorder and Codependence

However, today experts agree that codependency has a more nuanced and complex meaning — and can show up in many situations, not just ones involving substance use. Codependency often has you funneling your energy into supporting the people in your life without making space for — or even considering — what you need for yourself. Codependency may also result from caring for a person who is chronically ill. Being in the role of caregiver, especially at a young age, may result in the young person neglecting their own needs and developing a habit of only helping others.

How to differentiate between a healthy and a codependent relationship

I seem to have gotten into a co dependant relationship with my friend. What started off as an innocent friendship slowly escalated. My day would start and end only after talking to him and my day felt incomplete without talking to him.

In other words, typically both people in this pairing have lost their sense of self due to poor boundaries. In a healthier pairing, the codependent person would set healthy boundaries and find their voice without relying on another person. This pair may connect for a variety of reasons, including the mutual need to feel needed. The codependent person tends to give continuously, while the narcissistic person tends to take.

Being codependent can be particularly harmful for parents of addicted children (Clearview Treatment Programs, n.d.). Codependent parents of addicted children can enable their children’s addictions, even when they think they are helping. Since these codependent children grow up not having their developmental needs met either, this can create a cycle of codependency passed down from generation to generation. This is because of the tendency that people who have been “parentified” as children are more likely to be codependent (Wells et al., 1999). The concept of parentification refers to “the reversal of the parent-child role,” or when a child is forced to serve in a parental or care-taking role towards their own parent. This book, from a licensed marriage and family therapist, can be an excellent introduction to codependency for people who do not know a single thing about it.

Then, self-awareness and active redirection are key in reducing your codependent tendencies. Be kind to yourself as you work through the process, undoing years of this learned behavior. Some people learn about their codependent tendencies through books or articles. Others stop being codependent when they experience environmental changes, such as when a partner becomes sober or they get a new job that requires them to stop care-taking.

There is no medication that can treat BPD, but antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, and antipsychotics may help treat some of the symptoms. Now imagine they come to you and says they are really hurting because something has really gone sideways in their life. They’ve lost a job or a relationship is faltering or they’ve “failed” in some way. In order to truly work on and improve ourselves, we have to first disconnect from the things we are troubled with.

Many recovering Codependents find themselves completely uninterested in starting a new relationship. They struggle with the fear of being powerless and caught, once again, in a Narcissist’s trap. They’ve become emotionally unavailable and distrusting of anyone looking to get close to them. If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

Therapy can help people with BPD learn to better process emotions and events that upset them. Partners of people with BPD can also benefit from therapy. A professional can help a partner understand how to react, understand, and be supportive.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. If you or your partner has BPD, you can find ways to cope with the cycles of emotions that the condition causes. This can help you build a stronger, more resilient connection. If you begin showing signs of self-harm or suicidal ideation, a doctor may hospitalize you for observation and intensive therapy.

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