Co-dependency is a recognised disorder that many entering treatment have to grapple with. More importantly, it is something that many a spouse, parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence need to understand, fully comprehend and get the required help and counselling for, if recovery is to be successful, post inpatient treatment.
Co-dependency does not necessarily or always occur with drug abuse, but it was first recognized in relation to family members of people struggling with alcoholism and is commonly found in those who have close relationships to people who struggle with addiction. We cannot over emphasise how vital it is for all those involved, to comprehensively understand this disorder and how to manage its complexities in order for treatment to be successful.
What is it?
Co-dependency defines a relationship in which one partner has extreme physical or emotional needs, and the other partner spends most of their time responding to those needs, often to the detriment of the co-dependent partner’s life, activities, and other relationships. Co-dependency can result in a difficult spiral in which the co-dependent partner cares for and enables the loved one’s challenges, making it easier for the loved one to maintain the challenging or destructive behaviours.
How does this behaviour actively manifest in a relationship? The following characteristics are extremely common in co-dependents:
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