September 10, 2007

What is codependency?

Alot of single women find themselves falling into the category of being codependent. You dont know how it happened or when it happened but you wake up one morning and realize something just isnt right. Then you talk to a friend who has been to counseling and she suggests that you may have that very same problem. There are many definitions used to talk about codependency today. The original concept of the disease was developed to acknowledge the responses and behaviors people develop from living with an alcoholic or substance abuser. A number of attributes can be developed as a result of those conditions. However, over the years, codependency has expanded into a definition which describes a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem solving developed during childhood by family rules. One of many definitions of codependency is: a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing great emotional pain and stress. As adults, codependent people have a greater tendency to get involved in relationships with people who are perhaps unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy. And the codependent person tries to provide and control everything within the relationship without addressing their own needs or desires, setting themselves up for continued unfulfillment. Even when a codependent person encounters someone with healthy boundaries, the codependent person still operates in their own system. They’re not likely to get too involved with people who have healthy boundaries. This of course creates problems that continue to recycle. If codependent people can’t get involved with people who have healthy behaviors and coping skills, then the problems continue into each new relationship. It's a never ending cycle. What are some of the symptoms according to the experts?

controlling behavior
avoidance of feelings
intimacy problems
caretaking behavior
hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat/danger)
physical illness related to stress

It’s widely believed we become codependent through living in systems (families or relationships with substance abusers) with rules that hinder development to some degree. The system (usually parents and relatives but sometimes husband and boyfriends) has been developed in response to some problem such as alcoholism, mental illness or some other secret or problem. Individuals who are suffering from codependence may seek assistance through various therapies, sometimes accompanied by chemical therapy for accompanying depression. In addition, there exist support groups for codependency. Some of these are: Co-Dependents Anonymous, Al-Anon/Alateen, Celebrate Recovery, and Adult Children of Alcoholics, which are based on the 12-Step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope if you're a victim of this disease, you seek help. The only person it will help is isnt easy but the first step is recognizing you have a problem. What you do about it is up to you.

1 comment:

Joyismygoal said...

We all need help don't we?:>