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If you are suffering from addiction, substance dependence never affects just the addict alone, it can affect others around you. In fact sometimes those around us are consciously or unconsciously involved. This term usually refers to alcohol codependency but others addictions are valid in this case. It usually means that the co-dependent interacts with their behaviour to reinforce the addiction or illness of another person.
In general, co-dependents are described as close relatives of an addict who consciously or unconsciously legitimise and reinforce the dependency of the addict. For example, a typical codependent might be the wife or partner in a relationship who excuses her drunken husband from his employer because he is ill, or the parent who may take out loans or find money just to help her son get the money he wants for his gambling addiction. There are many causes of codependency, so let’s delve deeper.

5 Common Causes of Codependency

There are some common causes of codependency that will align with certain trauma and mental health issues. This can exacerbate the problem. However, here are some traits to be aware of, so that you can identify them and speak openly about them during rehab.

1. Protection/Worry

Love, attention, and nurturing are central to this first codependency phase. You may think that you are protecting the person by not getting them help because they seem happier when they have access to the substance. They may appear thankful for your help and you may worry it will damage your relationship if you refer them to rehab or speak to an intermediary. They may feel lost without their drug and therefore, you may want to protect and ‘love’ them further by giving them what they want but not what they need.

2.Control and Manipulation/ Childhood Traumas

This is a more toxic type of codependency and will occur when attempts occur to try to bring about change in the addict’s behaviour. You may want to control the addict, for either your or their benefit. It may be that you are worried about losing them and therefore control them by subconsciously or consciously fuelling their addiction. It is not uncommon for a complex network of excuses and lies to be built up, which can appear to an outsider that all is well when it really is not.

Childhood trauma is another branch of this cause that can create a lot of issues. Childhood trauma often leads addicts to this path. They may feel that they are not loved, they may have been subject to certain types of violence or assault. Overtime, this can create manipulation because they don’t want to lose anyone else.

3. Responsibility/Shame

You may worry that if anyone knew your loved one had an addiction, they may view your family differently. You may want to keep up appearances in order to show the world all is well.

This is a type of shame about the addict, therefore you do not challenge their addiction. You may feel a ‘responsibility’ to your family by not telling anyone or reaching out for help. It may be that you will try and focus on other members of the family, such as your children. Yet this can often make things spiral.

4. Feeling alone

When you feel alone in life and if you are struggling in other areas of your life, you may feel that the only way out is to enforce codependency. If a loved one is using a toxic substance, you may ignore it because you feel alone without them. It is a selfish behaviour that can cause multiple issues. You may worry things will become dysfunctional if the situation were to change.

5. You are Scared

You may be worried that your loved one may leave you if you ‘betray’ them (in their eyes) by referring them to rehab. You may worry that they will feel you are a traitor. Oftentimes, people with addictions do not think clearly. They are not fully aware of their actions and they may think that their continuous addiction is actually assisting their life. You may worry it will damage your relationships. However, rehab seeks to stop this with intense counselling sessions.

Codependency and Addiction

Because of their typical interaction patterns, the partners of addicts are prone to destructive and dysfunctional relationships and mental disorders in the affective area.

They usually develop psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, tension, sleep disorders or depression. In most cases, they lead lives completely dominated by the addict’s dependency. This simply fuels addiction and leads to larger problems. That is why rehab is the preferred choice for this problem.

If you deal with codependency and addiction, you may find that you are neglecting many areas of your life. This may include your career as well as your social life which may suffer.

You may have become withdrawn from certain activities and you may have lost your zest for life. Motivation may be at its lowest and you may feel that you are fighting a losing battle.

You may feel shame and worry about the situation, not knowing which way to turn. Many co-dependents may have suffered emotional neglect characterised by the environment in which they were raised, which is often why addictions can run in families. Once we have determined the cause of the codependency, it is much easier to treat. Being aware of the symptoms is important.

1. Difficulty making decisions with friendships/relationships
2. Difficulty identifying your feelings.
3. Difficulty communicating in a relationship.
4. Valuing others more than yourself and needing approval often
5. Lacking trust in yourself
6. Lacking in confidence which may impact work/social life

If you want to learn how to overcome these issues, then it is important to speak to a professional. It is not easy to heal yourself without professional counselling sessions and the necessary psychotherapies to help you deal with the trauma. Please seek out the help that you most definitely deserve. Please get in touch with us today for more information.