Addictionology Course – In a South African Context – 12 Modules – 4 days – 3 x 50 mins per day

Codependent-relationships-addiction-courses-codependencyModule 10 – Day 4

26. Co-dependency

Understanding co-dependency is the path to emotional, psychological, spiritual and social independence. If you do not understand the principles of co-dependency, chances are that you are enabling an addict to remain an addict, or are in an unhealthy relationship.

There are many definitions used to talk about co-dependency today. The original concept of co-dependency was developed to acknowledge the responses and behaviours people develop from living with an alcoholic or substance abuser. A number of

attributes can be developed as a result of those conditions.

However, over the years, co-dependency has expanded into a definition which describes a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem solving developed during childhood by family rules.

The simple definition would involve at least two people who are dependent on one another and the destructive behaviour involved in receiving whatever is needed from each other. The consequences are an inability to function independently emotionally, psychologically and even financially from each other. One of many definitions of co-dependency is: a set of maladaptive,  ompulsive behaviours learned by family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing great emotional pain and stress.

Maladaptive - inability for a person to develop behaviours which get needs met.

Compulsive – psychological state where a person acts against their own will or conscious desires in which to behave.

Sources of great emotional pain and stress – chemical dependency; chronic mental illness; chronic physical illness; physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; divorce; hypercritical or non-loving environment.

As adults, co-dependent people have a greater tendency to get involved in relationships with people who are perhaps unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy. And the co-dependent person tries to provide and control everything within the relationship without addressing their own needs or desires; setting themselves up for continued unfulfillment.

Even when a co-dependent person encounters someone with healthy boundaries, the co-dependent person still operates in their own system; they’re not likely to get too involved with people who have healthy boundaries. This of course creates problems that continue to recycle; if co-dependent people can’t get involved with people who have healthy behaviours and coping skills, then the

problems continue into each new relationship.

How do I know if I’m co-dependent?

Generally, if you’re feeling unfulfilled consistently in relationships, you tend to be indirect, don’t assert yourself when you have a need, if you’re able to recognize you don’t play as much as others, or other people point out you could be more playful. Things like this can indicate you’re co-dependent.

Characteristics of Codependency

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