Codependency is often seen as a co-occurring disorder in people who struggle with addiction. When someone is codependent, they struggle to set boundaries between themselves and other people, becoming over-reliant on meeting other people’s needs and neglecting their own. It’s a pattern of behavior that usually begins in childhood. Read on to discover 10 signs of codependency and learn how it interacts with addiction.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is when one person in a partnership has intense emotional needs and the other person is hyperfocused on trying to meet those needs.
If you experienced a codependent relationship with one or both of your parents, you’ll likely seek familiar patterns in friendships and romantic partners. This is simply because we’re inclined towards scenarios and situations that feel familiar to us — even if they’re not healthy.
You must seek therapy to break this cycle, because codependency severely limits the joy you can get out of relationships. Although it’s challenging to change deeply ingrained behavior, with guidance and support, it’s possible. You might think it feels unnatural to set boundaries and assert your feelings at first, but it will enrich your life in the long run.
Why Are Codependency and Addiction Linked?
Codependency doesn’t cause addiction or vice versa, but it often occurs in families and relationships where substance use disorders are involved. It’s frequently seen in the following scenarios:
- Children and parents when there’s an addiction in the home
- Partnerships where one person has a SUD
- Partners who both abuse drugs
Although it’s relatively common to see codependency in all the above scenarios, it often begins with children who are required to take on the caretaker role with a parent.
10 Signs of Codependency
Codependency is similar to addiction in that people who suffer from it often struggle to see the extent of the problem. In most cases, a mixture of group and individual therapy is the best way to overcome codependency and addiction. Here are 10 danger signs of codependency to watch out for:
1. Lacking Boundaries
One of the most definite signs of codependency is a lack of boundaries. People who lack boundaries struggle to understand where their feelings end and the object of their affection’s feelings begin. They’ll blur the lines between each other’s identity, often ingratiating themselves into every aspect of the life of someone they like.
If you are codependent, the chances are that you’re intense, loving and very complimentary. However, because you feel like you give so much, you might build up resentment and lash out seemingly at random.
2. Hyper-focus on Romantic Relationships
One of the other most common signs of codependency is hyper-focus on romantic relationships. These often start very intense and passionate but become fraught over time. Someone who is codependent won’t feel comfortable or complete unless they’re in a relationship that meets their needs.
You might confuse feelings such as pity and kindness for romantic love and frequently choose partners for the wrong reasons. Codependency and addiction are linked because they both involve trying to use something external to cover up internal pain. With substance use disorders, it’s drugs and alcohol, whereas with codependency, it’s other people’s feelings.
3. Doing Things for Others Without Being Asked
Often, codependent individuals want to make the people they care about happy, so they’ll go out of their way to do things or buy things for other people. However, if you do something for someone without them asking, you can’t expect recognition.
Many people who struggle with this condition end up feeling resentful because their lavish, extravagant efforts aren’t reciprocated. If they were more focused on meeting their own needs, they wouldn’t rely on the appreciation of other people for their self-worth.
If you’re a people-pleaser, you’ll struggle to disagree with your friends, colleagues and family. Instead of asserting your feelings, you adhere to the will of others. It’s exhausting to try to keep everyone happy at the same time — especially if you’re not taking care of your own well-being.
Giving too much to other people can cause significant pain, which is one of the reasons why some codependent people turn to drugs.
5. Taking Responsibility for People’s Problems
Taking on board too much of other people’s pain is another reason why codependency and addiction are connected. If you’re someone who always puts the needs of others before your own, prioritizing yourself first might seem impossible.
With group counseling and individual therapy, anyone can learn to set boundaries and put themselves first. If you start putting yourself first, you’re far less likely to be inclined to use alcohol or drugs.
6. Confusing Love and Caretaking
It’s often a struggle for someone who displays codependent behavior to discern between feeling a desire to help and love. They usually take on the role of caretaker and neglect their own needs in the meantime.
7. Disproportionate Fear of Rejection
Another major sign of codependency is a disproportionate fear of rejection. Because the codependent individual’s self-worth is attached to other people, rejection is harder to cope with. If you’re codependent, it usually takes professional guidance to show you that you are a strong person who can achieve your goals.
Once you start living independently, you’ll feel more confident and be better equipped to work towards a happy future.
8. Feeling Like a Victim
There’s an old-fashioned term called victim mentality, which is unduly harsh. However, many people who have experienced trauma or struggles get stuck in the role of victim. This is understandable because of the intense pain and difficulty they’ve experienced. However, seeing yourself as a powerless victim affects your behaviors.
To overcome codependency and addiction, your therapist and support network will empower you. Once you’re ready to take on the role of a survivor, you’ll be prepared to take on the world.
Get Help With Codependency and Addiction
With the help of a supportive community and addiction experts, you can overcome addiction and codependency. Call New Day Recovery; an Ohio rehab today at 330-953-3300 and speak to one of our friendly advisors about starting treatment.