Codependency is defined as being a relationship in which someone begins to rely on the needs of his or her partner. Mostly, this happens in a relationship that involves an addict or someone with a pathological issue. This person can exert control or manipulate the other until he or she begins to rely on the manipulation or control. The cycle is then perpetuated when the person being manipulated enables the addict by providing for him or her. This can be difficult to separate from the love, care, and commitment needed to foster a healthy relationship. When we get married, we do promise to love our partner ‘in sickness and in health’, right? Where do we draw the line between love and enabling? So, how does this relate to being addicted and codependent?
A common, lighthearted example of codependence is the classic argument over where to eat. Most couples can recall a time in which a dispute was had over where the date was supposed to take place. Maybe you have said something like, “I don’t care, sweetie, you choose”. While seemingly kind, the whole idea was to get the discussion out of the way and to avoid having to think about it, right? Or maybe you are on the other side. Maybe you have complained until that control was finally relinquished to you. If this is becoming a pattern, it may be classified as being codependency. While choosing where to eat may not be a big deal, or signify unhealthy in a relationship, addicted and codependent can be detrimental to a marriage.
A lot of times, a codependent person will seek someone that needs help or who ‘can be fixed’. Therefore, addiction is common among partners of codependent people. It is important to check in with yourself about your motives. If you love someone because you pity that person, feel responsible for others’ moods, seek approval from others, or often wish that others could make choices for you, you may be codependent. Be sure to do things for the sake of your own enjoyment. Time away from your partner is not always bad. Also, keep in mind that just because someone you love may not be happy, does not mean that you should also be unhappy. Let joy (and sorrow) be your very own.
You have probably heard someone say, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”. This is true in overcoming codependency, too. Having two people unhappy certainly does not solve anything. Instead, try to think of positivity as a healthy opposition to your partner’s negativity. Be the force of change. This is true help. Honesty can be a keystone. If you are addicted and codependent, be honest about your feelings or desires. It may seem better to give in or enable all the time, but resentment will build and so will the addiction in your partner. Be truthful about how you feel and stand up for yourself. If this seems difficult or overwhelming, sometimes a ‘mediator’ is a good idea. There is a lot of success had by those who seek counseling together. Counseling can facilitate communication and progress while providing someone to help keep conversation calm and on track.
Where to Start When You are Addicted and Codependent
The best thing you can do, if you tend to be codependent, or are in a codependent relationship, is to remember that being selfish is not always a bad thing. In fact, being selfish can, sometimes, be the best way to foster your altruism. Don’t be afraid to take time to do the things that you feel need to be done. Also, let your partner’s joy or happiness be his or her own journey. You have chosen and promised to conquer the journey of life together, but this does not mean that you are obligated to experience all of the same emotions along the way. Lastly, don’t be afraid to break the cycle. Maybe seek counseling or decide that it is time to talk about the way you feel with your partner. There are many more aspects of addiction and codependency. For additional helpful information on addiction and codependent behaviors and how to break codependent them, contact us today