Co-Dependency And Behaviour ModificationMinnesota House - the leading specialist in the treatment of co-dependence
Co-Dependency And Behaviour Modification
Minnesota House – the leading specialist in the treatment of co-dependence.
At Minnesota House, we recognise codependency as a primary, life-threatening disease, and integrate codependency treatment into every aspect of our program, in addition to providing on-site Co-dependents Anonymous meetings. Even those of us who recognise other addictions as our primary issue, discover profound difficulties in knowing what we want or feel, taking care of ourselves, setting boundaries, controlling others, or changing ourselves to meet others’ expectations. These challenges make codependency recovery a crucial component of recovery for all of us.
Each component of our program brings its own particular strength to our codependency treatment. Since codependency develops within the relationships of childhood and adult life, the focus on family-of-origin and core issues provided in our program is ideally suited to treating codependency. The therapeutic community presents an opportunity to explore dysfunctional patterns of relation to others, as well as to practice new skills of healthy communication and managing personal boundaries.
Codependency is a learned behaviour that is passed down from one generation to the next. It is an emotional and behavioural condition which affects someone’s ability to have a healthy, mutually-satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive or abusive. Codependency is learned by watching and imitating other family members.
Codependency is characterised by sacrificing one’s personal needs in order to try to meet the needs of others and is associated with passivity and feelings of shame, low self-worth, or insecurity. The term codependency was originally coined to describe a person’s dependence on the addictive behaviours of a partner or family member, usually with regards to drugs and alcohol. Today it is more broadly associated with the behaviours of someone whose actions and thoughts revolve around another person or thing.
Co-dependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.
What is co-dependency?
Co-dependency involves obsession and compulsion just like other addictions. It is a progressive condition that affects people globally The behaviours of a co-dependent vary according to the type of relationship involved. Co-dependency is not specific to one type of relationship. It can be seen in a romantic, family, community or a peer to peer context. Children often have co-dependent relationships with their parents; the child becomes anxious and fearful when separated from their parents, even if just for a little while. Adult romantic relationships may exhibit similar problems.
All co-dependents put the needs of others in front of their own wellbeing, the irony being that meeting the needs of others is what makes them feel good. This need to look after others is actually an addiction and comes from a place of self-preservation and control. The co-dependent desperately tries to control the dysfunctional person they love, to avoid their own pain.
Co-dependency also occurs when one side of a relationship is struggling with self-destructive behaviour. It occurs naturally and can be expected in situations involving addictions such as drugs, alcoholism, eating disorders and more. The person on a self-destructive path is ‘helped’ by desperate family members, children and spouses. For example, the mother of a drug addict will leave work early and put her career in jeopardy to go and pay off her son’s drug bill at a dealer. The mother is placing her son’s drug habit ahead of her own personal needs, but she cannot help herself and just wants to save her son. The sad part is that this behaviour benefits neither party. It keeps the son in a state of active drug addiction while potentially costing the mother her job.
Eventually the co-dependent begins to feel helpless but cannot break away from the cycle of dependence. They begin to see themselves as victims and are often attracted to similar weakness in other relationships.
A dysfunctional family is defined as a family where the members engage in destructive behavioural patterns with each other. Dysfunctional families choose to deny the existence of their problems, repressing any emotions connected to them. They develop behaviours based on denial to help them avoid dealing with these emotions.
Those who are co-dependent often have a low self-esteem and seek outside affection to deal with negative emotions. This leads to them avoiding their problems or consistently trying to change others’ perspective of themselves.
What Causes Codependency?
Codependency is usually rooted in childhood. A child who is constantly called upon to meet the needs of others will learn to suppress his or her own needs and may become addicted, in a sense, to filling the care giving role. For example, someone who grew up with a drug-addicted or alcoholic parent, or who experienced abuse, emotional neglect, or the reversal of the parent-child role (in which the child is expected to meet the needs of the parent) may develop co-dependent behaviours, and these patterns tend to repeat in adult relationships.
Who does codependency affect?
Codependency often affects spouses, parents, siblings, children, friends or co-workers of a person suffering from an alcohol/drug addiction or other psychological disorder. Originally, the term “co-dependent” was used to describe partners who lived with, or were in a relationship with, an addicted person. Similar patterns have been seen among people in relationships with chronically-ill or mentally-ill individuals. Nowadays, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.
The dysfunctional family and how it leads to codependency
A dysfunctional family is one whose members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame which is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following:
- A family member’s addiction to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex or gambling.
- The existence of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
- The presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.
Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge or confront the existence of their problems, which causes family members to repress their emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors” and develop strategies to help them deny, ignore or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust.
The emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family is often inhibited. Attention and energy are focused on the needy family member(s), with the co-dependent person typically sacrificing their own needs in the process. When co-dependents rank other people’s health, welfare and safety above their own, they lose contact with their own needs, desires and sense of self.
How do co-dependent people behave?
Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves”. Some try to feel better through alcohol and drugs and may become addicts themselves. Others may develop compulsive behaviours, such as gambling or sex and love addiction.
Co-dependents have good intentions. They try to care for a person who is experiencing difficulties, but their care becomes compulsive and self-defeating. Their repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on their destructive course which, in turn, makes them even more dependent on the unhealthy care provided by the co-dependent. As such reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from feeling needed. When their care becomes compulsive, co-dependents feels helpless in their relationships, but are unable to break their cycle of behaviour which causes and reinforces it.
Co-dependency – How People Get Addicted to Relationships
Co-dependency is quite a broad term, and is used to define a variety of different behaviours that are compulsive, addictive and very destructive. At its basic level, those who are co-dependent engage in relationships that are emotionally-destructive, abusive or parasitical. This behaviour isn’t necessarily two sided; one person in the relationship may be co-dependent and the other person not.
Habits of co-dependency
Those suffering from co-dependency tend to develop emotional habits such as categorical thinking. In short, categorical thinking prevents them seeing any sort of middle ground or “grey area” in any type of situation. This leads them to jump to extremes when analysing a situation. For example, if they joined a soccer team and heard that another player had disliked them, they would immediately leave the team (before consulting with the other players without checking if this was true or sincere).
Personalisation is another habit caused by co-dependency. It is identified as a self-centred interpretation of a person’s surroundings. This is a belief that everything that is occurring around them is due to them or involves them. This leads to a paranoid mind-set as well hostility, defensiveness and isolation.
Another common habit found in co-dependent people is ‘over-analysing’. This is easily explained as looking too deeply into an issue or situation, to such an extent that the person can no longer cope with the emotional stress and anxiety that they have created for themselves. It is also common of co-dependents to exaggerate profusely.
When people have grown up surrounded by abuse, addiction or any traumatic situation, they may begin to expect the worst from every angle. This affects their overall perspective and they are most likely to apply this interpretation to most day-to-day events.
Some other characteristics found in co-dependent people are a tendency to become hurt when their efforts aren’t realised, an unhealthy dependence on relationships and other people, control issues over others, intimacy issues, chronic anger or a tendency to confuse love and pity.
It is also vital to note that people in these situations are in denial about these characteristics and are unable to recognise them themselves.
The effects of codependency
Individuals suffering from codependency will repress their emotions and needs to the point that they are subjected to relationship trauma and extremely low self-esteem.
If unaddressed, codependency continues, causing individuals to cope with their emotions by abusing alcohol, drugs, sex or food. Those who seek emotional relief in food can develop eating disorders without realising the transition.
Summary of signs and symptoms of codependency
- You judge what you think, say or do harshly, and as never ‘good enough’.
- Receiving recognition, praise or gifts embarrasses you.
- You don’t ask others to meet your needs or wants.
- You value others’ approval of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour over your own.
- You perceive yourself as an unlovable or unworthy person.
- You struggle to identify your own feelings.
- You minimise, alter or deny how you really feel.
- You perceive yourself as unselfish and fully dedicated to others’ well-being.
- You perceive other people as unable to take care of themselves.
- You try to convince others of what they ‘should’ think and how they ‘really’ feel.
- You feel resentment towards people who won’t let you help them.
- You give other people advice – even if they haven’t asked for your help.
- You have used sex to gain acceptance and approval.
- You need to be ‘needed’ to have relationships with people.
- You compromise your own values and integrity to avoid others’ anger or rejection.
- You are fiercely loyal, and stay in dangerous or abusive situations too long.
- You accept sex when you want love.
- Needing to control or “fix” situations
- Needing to control or “fix” other people
- Blaming situations and other people for your feelings
- Difficulty in trusting others
- Avoiding your own real feelings
- Problems with, or fear of, intimacy
- Hyper-vigilance (a heightened awareness of potential threats/danger)
- Living through, or for, another person
- Low self-worth. Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others are signs of low self-esteem. The tricky thing about self-esteem is that some people think highly of themselves, but it’s only a disguise — they actually feel unlovable or inadequate. Underneath, usually hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame. Guilt and perfectionism often go along with low self-esteem. If everything is perfect, you don’t feel bad about yourself.
- People-pleasing. It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but co-dependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes them anxiety. Some co-dependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.
- Poor boundaries. Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That’s especially where co-dependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else. Some co-dependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones.
- Reactivity. A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words, because there’s no boundary. With a boundary, you’d realise it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you and not feel threatened by disagreements.
- Caretaking. Another effect of poor boundaries is that if someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but co-dependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. In fact, they need to help and might feel rejected if another person doesn’t want help. Moreover, they keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.
- Control. Control helps co-dependents feel safe and secure. Everyone needs some control over events in their life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos, but for co-dependents, control limits their ability to take risks and share their feelings. Sometimes they have an addiction that either helps them loosen up, like alcoholism, or helps them hold their feelings down, like workaholic, so that they don’t feel out of control. Co-dependents also need to control those close to them, because they need other people to behave in a certain way to feel okay. In fact, people-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate people. Alternatively, co-dependents are bossy and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. This is a violation of someone else’s boundary.
- Dysfunctional communication. Co-dependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs. Of course, if you don’t know what you think, feel or need, this becomes a problem. Other times, you know, but you won’t own up to your truth. You’re afraid to be truthful, because you don’t want to upset someone else. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend that it’s okay or tell someone what to do. Communication becomes dishonest and confusing when you try to manipulate the other person out of fear.
- Obsessions. Co-dependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears. They can also become obsessed when they think they’ve made or might make a “mistake. “Sometimes you can lapse into fantasy about how you’d like things to be or about someone you love as a way to avoid the pain of the present. This is one way to stay in denial, discussed below, but it keeps you from living your life.
- Dependency. Co-dependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own. Others need always to be in a relationship, because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped.
- Denial. One of the problems people face in getting help for codependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually they think the problem is someone else or the situation. They either keep complaining or trying to fix the other person, or go from one relationship or job to another and never own up the fact that they have a problem. Co-dependents also deny their feelings and needs. Often, they don’t know what they’re feeling and are instead focused on what others are feeling. The same thing goes for their needs. They pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some co-dependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving. They are in denial of their vulnerability and need for love and intimacy.
- Problems with intimacy. By this I’m not referring to sex, although sexual dysfunction often is a reflection of an intimacy problem. I’m talking about being open and close with someone in an intimate relationship. Because of the shame and weak boundaries, you might fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left. On the other hand, you may fear being smothered in a relationship and losing your autonomy. You might deny your need for closeness and feel that your partner wants too much of your time; your partner complains that you’re unavailable, but he or she is denying his or her need for separateness.
- Painful emotions. Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.
Minnesota House understands the difficulties and trauma that can be experienced by the families and loved ones of our -. We believe that they need treatment as much as our patient do. Accordingly, we strongly recommend our Family Program, which not only enables family members to support their loved one during their treatment at our treatment centre but also allows us to provide the support and treatment that they need themselves. Additionally, we offer a full treatment program for people who are experiencing co-dependency issues and require help.
The symptoms of co-dependence are largely focused around a compulsion to put others’ needs before your own, a tendency to develop relationships that are one-sided, abusive or destructive, and a fear of not being liked by others.
This often causes co-dependent people to stay in abusive or unhealthy relationships. Rather than seeing the abuse they are subjected to, co-dependent people will place the feelings of their abuser above themselves. They may even see the abuse as a result of their own failings as a partner.
Co-dependent people are very likeable people.
- They go out of their way to be pleasant and make those around them happy. They put on a happy face and are bubbly, warm, and giving people.
- There is nothing wrong with this unless the giving becomes so one-sided and excessive that it starts to weigh upon the giver.
- If the giver is giving away a great deal more than he/she is receiving, then that is a sign of co-dependency.
- A healthy partnership between people involves give and take. This pattern is referred to as interdependent. Of course if your partner is having difficulty it is not unhealthy to give a little more knowing that your partner would reciprocate if the tables were turned.
- People in an interdependent relationship will not give until it hurts.
- In a co-dependent relationship one partner will do nearly all the giving and the other will do nearly all the taking.
- Co-dependent people using giving as a way to avoid negative emotions. To them it gives them a sense of self-worth and makes them feel useful.
- Co-dependent people need the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves.
- They often struggle to receive anything from other people because their low self-esteem leaves them feeling that they do not deserve anything.
- Maintaining co-dependent behaviour requires a great deal of effort and causes emotional pain. People with codependency often struggle with low self-esteem, depression, guilt, and other unpleasant thoughts and feelings.
- Co-dependents are usually highly self-critical and judge themselves very harshly even if they are very forgiving of those around them.
- Co-dependent people find it difficult to express anger when they should. They tend to store it up and let it erupt at times when they shouldn’t be angry.
- They are often disconnected from their emotions because they experience these as being painful and unwanted.
- They maintain a facade of enthusiastic and happy behaviour rather than allowing their inner pain to surface. They look after people around them to the point of ignoring their own needs.
- Co-dependent people can be found in terrible relationships where they are verbally, emotionally, and physically abused.
- They put up with this because the idea of being alone is scary, empty, and depressing.
- Without somebody to tell them they’re okay the co-dependent will have no self-worth and so they cling to the abusive partner even though the relationship is a disaster.
- Being alone and not having somebody else to look after would mean the co-dependent would be forced to look at his/her own inner life.
- The co-dependent will go to great lengths to excuse the bad behaviour of his/her partner. They will rationalise, ignore, and excuse behaviour so that they don’t have to look at making the decision to be alone.
- The co-dependent person endeavours to “understand” and ignores the hurt that the behaviour causes. It seems never to occur to the co-dependent to stand up to the partner and lay down boundaries.
- Because the co-dependent spends so much effort excusing the partners behaviour he/she may not even feel abused. They do not feel worth enough to deserve proper treatment.
- This could be as a result of childhood experiences growing up. The co-dependent person may have grown up in a difficult emotional climate and so the partners behaviour may seem normal and familiar.
- A co-dependent will not feel worthy of respect and if somebody treats them badly they will assume they did something to deserve it. They will not think that even if a person is angry they should still be responsible for their behaviour and should be respectful to others.
- Because they don’t stand up for themselves co-dependents often experience increasing abuse and neglect from those around them.
- When the co-dependent starts to feel angry because he/she is being mistreated instead of getting angry at the right person they will try to distort things and avoid this.
- They feel that they cannot be angry with the person they are reliant on for feeling good about themselves. Co-dependents will try to rationalise their feelings and blame their reaction on over-sensitivity.
- Anger is a healthy emotion if it is dealt with appropriately. It is a sign that something is wrong and needs attention.
- If you do not express anger, then the people around you will not know that you are unhappy and require something to be adjusted.
- Co-dependents turn their anger towards themselves and become sad and depressed. Rather than facing up to their partner they blame themselves and look for ways as to how they might have caused the misbehaviour.
- If anger is kept in and suppressed it may lead to resentments. These simmer inside the co-dependent until they eventually can’t handle them anymore. They then have an aggressive blow-up or use passive-aggression to lash out at people.
- Co-dependents struggle to assert themselves appropriately and are often hurt that other people are unable to know what they need. They spend a huge amount of effort in trying to understand other people’s needs and feelings and are hurt if this is not reciprocated.
- Co-dependents often believe that they have conveyed their desires when in actual fact they have simply been unable to properly express them.
- Co-dependent people are very control-oriented and tend to be very responsible. They are eager to please and do their work thoroughly which makes them great employees. They tend to help out their co-workers wherever possible. They will do anything for approval.
- In other areas of life some co-dependent people lack in responsibility.
- They often won’t take care of their own basic needs, especially if they can get affirmation for looking after somebody else.
- Co-dependent people are at a greater risk of developing addictions than the rest of the population. They may drink too much, shop too much, eat too much, work too much, etc.
- Co-dependents find themselves unable to experience true intimacy in a relationship. They discover that to be intimate with somebody else requires a certain level of familiarity and comfort with one’s internal world. Co-dependents often regard their ordinary human needs as “base” or somehow shameful and embarrassing. They dismiss their needs and choose superficial relationships that are safe (but unfulfilling).
- Control is of key importance to the co-dependent person. They attempt to control their self-esteem by catering to others’ needs for the pay-off of affirmation.
- They attempt to control others by taking responsibility and picking up where other people have slacked off. They attempt to control their partners by avoiding intimacy.
- Co-dependents work very hard to control themselves and everybody around them.
- Codependency can be treated at Minnesota House Treatment Centre in South Africa. We have a number of specialist programs that address a spectrum of behavioural problems with behaviour modification.
- If your partner is attending drug rehab in South Africa, then we can help you to make arrangements to attend family sessions that will help you to assess whether you have a problem with codependency.
How We Treat Codependency
Minnesota House – the leading specialist in the treatment of co-dependence
How can one heal from co-dependency?
It is vital for those suffering from this illness to learn to be assertive and to identify where they are negatively affecting their lives due to their obsessive behaviour. For example, a wife whose husband repeatedly relapses on an alcohol addiction needs to stipulate where they are cutting their own well-being short to run around and try and ‘save’ their husband. She bails him out of jail when he is arrested for drunken driving, she lies to their family, friends and employers about his habit to cover up for him. She drives around in dangerous areas in the dead of night, looking for her husband in bars or she cleans up after his mess caused by his drinking.
Stopping these behaviours might sound like absolute common sense to a healthy individual. However, as already mentioned, to the co-dependent, it is unbearable to admit to their own unhealthy behaviours, and to stop acting in these equally self-destructive ways. Yet, the existence of co-dependency in a relationship does not mean that the relationship is going to fail. If both parties can work on their issues and regain some healthy boundaries and self-esteem, the relationship can go from strength to strength.
As co-dependency is normally related to a person’s psychological make-up since childhood, treatment usually involves re-exploring issues from those points in a person’s life. It is also useful to look at their current destructive behavioural patterns and how they can improve their situation.
Why Minnesota House is so important for co-dependent recovery
Professional help is very important in the treatment of co-dependency. Receiving the tools to deal with co-dependency at a professional rehabilitation centre can work miracles in relationship addiction. The help and support a co-dependent will receive at Minnesota House is offered in the form of group-therapy (in which they connect with other co-dependents and identify self-defeating behaviours or patterns), individual therapy sessions and educational sessions. Once those affected are able to cope with uncomfortable emotions and are able to work on their co-dependent relationships in a healthy way, then recovery can truly begin.
Finding the right form of treatment for a co-dependent person can seem confusing. Suffering from this illness is draining and frightening, and knowing who to turn to for advice can be extremely stressful. This is why, when choosing a co-dependency treatment centre, it is best done with the help of experienced professionals. Minnesota House is an ideal way to find out how to deal with this problem.
Our therapists will assess the co-dependent’s situation and needs for recovery. Through this process, a rehabilitation centre will be recommended, offering the best chance of recovery.
The first step in changing unhealthy behaviour is to understand it. It is important for co-dependents, and when possible their family members, to educate themselves on the course and cycle of addiction and how it affects their relationships.
Considerable change and growth are necessary for co-dependents and their families. Any behaviour that allows or enables abuse to continue in their relationships needs to be recognised and stopped. The co-dependent must identify and embrace their own feelings and needs. This may include learning to say no, to be loving yet tough and to be self-reliant. Co-dependents can find freedom, love and serenity in recovery. If you are concerned that you, or someone you care about, may be co-dependent, take our codependency self-assessment test or contact us.
Gain Independence from Codependency While Helping Your Addicted Loved One
Victims of codependency consistently place the needs or wants of the other member of the relationship ahead of their own. In the case of addiction, this usually means enabling or giving in to drug and alcohol use. They’re afraid of creating tension or turmoil within the relationship, so they conform to their loved one’s behaviour. No matter what they do, their actions and efforts meant to please the other person are usually met with further hostility, causing them to try even harder to please and to place less importance on their own needs. This cycle leads to significant decline in one’s quality of life and makes it incredibly difficult for those abusing drugs and alcohol to get the help they need.
Trying to function in a co-dependent relationship ultimately damages both people involved. It’s often difficult to even see the extent of codependency until it’s assessed and diagnosed by a mental health professional. There are usually deep-rooted confidence and self-worth issues at play in this condition. Our codependency treatment program provides expert care to codependency patients and helps their addicted loved ones at the same time. Patients learn to overcome their respective mental disorders as well as how to maintain harmony and mutual respect in their relationships.
Restoring Confidence and Self-Respect
The longer a patient remains trapped in a co-dependent relationship, the more their self-worth erodes and the more they believe that they’re undeserving of love, respect and appreciation. Our professionals identify codependency while assessing patients’ family dynamics and history. Depending upon how much damage codependency has inflicted in patients’ relationships, we integrate group and individual counselling, family involvement and intervention to help patients recognise their independence. Our co-dependency behaviour modification treatment helps adult patients struggling with codependency and a wide range of other mental disorders.
During the course of their treatment, patients learn to:
- Honestly assess their relationship with their addicted loved one
- Set boundaries and parameters to help prevent tension and inequality
- Accept the fact that they are not to blame for their loved one’s addiction
- Establish a more assertive attitude in the context of their relationship
Psychiatric treatment also allows for exploration of the origins of the self-esteem issues that have contributed to codependency. Patients leave with a plan to apply what they’ve learned into their relationships. This enables them to take a more positive and active role in their loved one’s recovery and continued sobriety.
If you think you may be co-dependent, you need help to change your behaviour. Here are some sources of help for those suffering from codependency:
Go to a Twelve Step meeting for co-dependents, such as Co-dependents Anonymous, called CoDA, or Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics. There are other Twelve Step groups for relatives of other addicts, such as for relatives of gamblers, narcotic addicts, and sex addicts. You can look on the Internet or in your phone book to find out where there’s a meeting near you. Get counselling from someone familiar with codependency. It’s preferable that they are licensed in your state. They may be marriage and family counsellors, social workers, addiction specialists, psychologists, or psychiatrists.
Get to Minnesota House, George and work on your co-dependency issues, getting to the route etymology and cause of the problem.
Co-dependants are always welcome to retreat at Minnesota House and spend some time healing with us, getting into some good therapy processes and get to the root causes of the issues. Individualised care means we are equipped to deal with your co-dependency and related symptoms from where you are with the dis-ease.
For help with co-dependency issues please get in touch with Minnesota House and we will assist you with any questions and queries that you may have. +0044 870 8585
Rehab centres are normally the safest and most effective way to make a full recovery and be able to start a healthy new life. The main thing to remember about rehabilitation is that it treats an entire person, not just their codependency. The principle form of treatment for codependency is normally extensive counselling and behavioural therapy to help the co-dependent person realise that they have a problem and understand how negative their behaviour is. This style of treatment is based around helping the co-dependent person to recognise their own self-worth and improve their self-esteem. Some options can include psychotherapy, group or individual counselling, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or focused intervention. In some cases, the co-dependent person may need to take a “holiday” from the person they are focused on, which is where residential rehab options can be useful.
It is sometimes useful for the families and friends of co-dependents to be involved in the rehab and treatment process. Sometimes family counselling is needed. Co-dependency aftercare is often effective and helps to prevent relapse.
Co-Dependency Treatment Programmes
Minnesota House – the leading specialist in the treatment of Co-dependency.
Co-dependency is the excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one with an illness or addiction. Those that suffer from co-dependency experience a diminished sense of self-worth, which damages the most essential component of happy relationships: self-esteem.
Personal fulfilment is continually pushed aside and when this happens repeatedly, it increases the feelings of worthlessness. In this way, the unending cycle of co-dependency continues. Often those struggling with co-dependency also suffer from love addiction.
CODA or Co-dependents Anonymous -The sense of community and belonging, which are the gifts of our program, begin at the group meeting level. The CoDA community uses the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which are the foundation for our program, and are guides to our personal behaviour and attitudes. They teach us to be respectful and honourable with one another.
A CoDA meeting is much more than a place to sit and tell your troubles, it is a place to meet people like yourself and to learn from those who are different from you; a place to interact with people focused on learning to have healthy and loving relationships.
A CoDA meeting is a group of people who come together around their shared desire for healthy and loving relationships. The meeting uses the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Co-Dependents Anonymous as the basis for working toward recovery. It is a place to find sponsorship and fellowship as well as the sharing of experience, strength, and hope. A strong sense of acceptance and community makes a meeting attractive both to the newcomer and old timer.
CoDA meetings remain strong and have the ongoing participation of long-term members when they demonstrate the qualities of acceptance and community. Members are encouraged to carry on fellowship outside of the meeting by going to coffee afterwards or working with a community committee to plan community events such as picnics, pot lucks, camp outs, or other events.
ACA or Adult Children of Alcoholics – Adult Children of Alcoholics is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program of women and men who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. We meet with each other in a mutually respectful, safe environment and acknowledge our common experiences. We discover how childhood affected us in the past and influences us in the present (“The Problem”). We take positive action. By practicing the Twelve Steps, focusing on “The Solution”, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our understanding, we find freedom from the past and a way t0 improve our lives today.
Al-Anon and Alateen – Al-Anon is for families, relatives, and friends whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. If someone close to you, such as a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbour, has or has had a drinking problem, the following questions may help you determine if Al-Anon is for you: Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation? Do you fail to recognise your accomplishments? Do you fear criticism? Do you overextend yourself? Have you had problems with your own compulsive behaviour? Do you have a need for perfection? Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems? Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis? Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?
Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself? Do you isolate yourself from other people? Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people? Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you? Do you have trouble with intimate relationships? Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker? Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and/or abusive? Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone? Do you often mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others? Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions? Do you think someone’s drinking may have affected you?
Additional Authority On Co-Dependency From Hazeldon
Consequences of Codependency
Identifying codependency and finding help for the helper.
The term ‘co-dependent’ is traditionally used as an adjective to describe the family members and other loved ones of a chemically dependent person; however, studies show that that codependency is often considered an addiction in itself.
Psychologist Robert Subby defines co-dependency as “…an emotional, psychological and behavioural condition that develops as a result of an individual’s prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules – rules which prevent the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems.”
Unresolved codependency can lead to serious problems like drug addiction, alcoholism and eating disorders. Co-dependents are also less likely to seek needed medical care and more likely to remain in stressful situations Resulting social insecurity can progress into social anxiety and stress-related disorders such as depression. Physical ramifications of codependency run the gamut from ulcers, high blood pressure, headaches, respiratory issues and heart problems.
Mary Gordon, director of the Betty Ford Centre family and outpatient programs, welcomes co-dependents into the Family Program every week of the year. She said the most widespread misconception about the program is that it will teach family members how to take care of the alcoholic/addict after primary treatment ends.
Instead, we provide education about family recovery and gently let the family members know they need to take care of their own needs, first and foremost,” said Ms. Gordon.
Following are excerpts from a lengthy list of co-dependent characteristics compiled by Melody Beattie, author of Co-dependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself:
- Think and feel responsible for other people – for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being and ultimate destiny.
- Feel compelled – almost forced – to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving rapid-fire series of suggestions, or fixing feelings.
- Find themselves saying yes when they mean no, doing things they don’t really want to be doing, doing more than their fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves.
- Find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others, rather than injustices done to themselves.
- Find themselves attracted to needy people.
- Feel angry, victimised, unappreciated and used.
- Come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families.
- Blame themselves for everything.
- Reject compliments or praise.
- Think they’re not quite good enough.