Do you have difficulty expressing emotions in a relationship? Have you had a hard time trusting others, felt alone or abandoned, or have a fear of conflict?
If so, you may have codependent tendencies. This is a behavior that many people develop in relationships that involves both behavioral and emotional changes. According to Psychology Today, codependency is a “relationship dynamic” where one partner is incredibly reliant on the other for support. However, these relationships aren’t necessarily healthy.
In many cases, people that deal with substance abuse also struggle with codependency.
What Does Codependency Look Like in Substance Abuse?
Codependency can stem from several reasons, including things that happen during childhood. When we aren’t allowed to explore new opportunities, or we explore them too much (i.e., having over or under-protective parents), our level of confidence doesn’t develop as it should. This leads us to want to seek security in other things like drugs, alcohol, or other humans.
While it can look different in every relationship, some of the most common codependency symptoms are:
1. Intense fear of rejection, abandonment, or loneliness
2. Being a people-pleaser
3. Low self-esteem
4. Trouble communicating with others or yourself
5. Feelings of anger, depression, or despair
6. Difficulty bonding with partners
7. Inability to set boundaries or oversetting them
When people become stressed, it’s easy to want to rely on something like drugs, opioids, or alcohol. In addiction, codependency can occur when a person struggling with substance abuse is enabled by a family member, friend, or partner. This can include parents or children of those abusing substances, which is a common scenario. It’s also possible that a person can become reliant on a substance to fuel their codependency, giving them a break from the psychological stress they’re under.
What is the Treatment for Codependency?
Getting help with codependency isn’t the first thing people going through treatment for addiction think about. However, when diagnosed alongside substance abuse disorder, it can allow you to create a more comprehensive treatment plan. Often, conquering codependency involves mental health therapies that help people:
1. Understand and identify their emotions, expressing them in a healthy manner
2. Set and enforce reasonable boundaries
3. Recognize the difference between needs and wants
4. Differentiate these needs and wants from the person they are codependent on
Part of this treatment also includes making lifestyle changes that reduce the number of stressors in your life and managing them appropriately. The less stress you have, the more time you have to focus on improving.
Recognizing the warning signs and getting treatment when you need it can help stop you from developing codependent tendencies or an addiction.
Work Towards Independence and Addiction Recovery in Dover, DE
Codependency is a struggle many people recovering from substance abuse deal with. American Treatment Network provides mental and physical health services in Dover, DE, Havertown, PA, and Newark, DE, to help you have a holistically healthy recovery journey.