A codependent relationship usually happens before you even know what is happening. In addiction and recovery, these kinds of relationships are especially prevalent and also incredibly toxic. It is important to know how to recognize one so that you can avoid the traps of getting stuck in one!
It is important to remember that codependency can happen with anyone, it doesn’t have to only be a romantic partner. It can happen with your mom, your best friend, or a sibling. No matter who it involves, it isn’t healthy. These relationships can help to fuel addiction and also hinder recovery, and the worst part is that the people involved usually aren’t even aware that they are doing it!
What a Codependent Relationship Is
This kind of relationship is based off one or two individuals who have an emotional and behavioral condition. It hinders their ability to have a happy, satisfying relationship without going to extreme measures. Many people who habitually form codependent relationships are “serial daters” who always have to be in a relationship, even if it is completely one-sided and destructive.
One of the biggest red flags of a codependent relationship is when you rely on the other person for approval, and you make a ton of sacrifices to keep them happy, without concern for your own happiness. If your self-worth is dependent on the other person’s mood, this is a sign of codependency.
While it is completely natural to want to satisfy your partner and ensure they are happy, it is another story when your life revolves around it and your own happiness suffers as a result. In a healthy relationship, there should be an equal amount of give and take so that both people in it feel at ease and comfortable. There should never be one person who is clearly “above” the other.
Codependency and Addiction
Codependent relationships in addiction are incredibly common, yet they take different forms. You might see it between two addicts who share the same drug of choice and build their love and relationship around that. Also, it can happen when a woman is so obsessed with making her violent-tempered husband happy that she drinks to numb the pain he causes her, becoming an alcoholic. You can also see it in a mother with a drug-addicted son who continues to provide food, shelter, and money for him, thinking she is doing a good thing when she is only helping to fuel his habit.
Codependency and Recovery
In treatment, you will learn about codependent relationships and how to get out of the ones you have and avoid new ones in the future. This doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with everyone in your life that you may have had a bad relationship with, but rather of changing the course of the relationship so that you can both lead a healthy life.
The one time it is necessary to cut ties is when those people do not have your best interest in mind. For example, if your significant other or best friend are still using drugs or drinking and you are trying to stay sober, they are likely to try to bring you down with them. It is a lot easier to drag someone back down than to build people up.
On the flip side, if you are someone who was inadvertently helping someone stay in their addiction through codependency, it is important for you to speak with a professional as well so that you can learn to be happier on your own, and avoid bringing the other person down. It will help everyone in the long run.
Codependent relationships often happen with no warning, and the people in them can be blind to what is going on. Get to know the warning signs and make changes as soon as possible. In a truly happy relationship, codependence is not a necessity, instead, it is something to be avoided.