Codependency is defined in many different ways. One of the leading definitions was coined by Melody Beattie who is a leader in codependency work. She defines codependency as letting someone else’s behavior impact you in an extreme way. Codependency takes on many different forms from care taking to manipulating to neediness to destructive behaviors. People criticize and characterize codependency in negative ways to try to make sense out of it. When codependency arises in someone, it is hard to understand. For example, when an alcoholic husband finally goes to treatment and gets sober, his angry wife seems to worsen in her moods, attitudes, and behaviors. The husband heals yet the wife remains something resembling mental illness. Doctors tried to understand the phenomena of codependency for years until they figured out something basic. A person who becomes codependent essentially loses themselves and their life to someone with a problem.
Codependency Takes People-Pleasing To The Extreme
Caretaking, people-pleasing, and serving others isn’t just a behavior of codependents but a compulsive behavior. Similar to the way an alcoholic reaches for a drink or a drug addict reaches for a drug, codependents reach for other people- to take care of them, control them, please them, and serve them, to the point of losing themselves. It isn’t about being overly nice and extra helpful, but feeling a deep and insatiable need to give to other people in order to feel wanted, appreciated, and not abandoned.
Codependency Has Many Gray Areas
Being codependent is not a matter of being codependent. The behaviors which accompany codependency can range from clinginess to avoidance. Everyone has some kind of boundary lacking which causes them to act codependent in some kind of way. The length to which someone get lost in their codependent behavior is what differs.
Codependency Is A Sign Of Weakness
Low self-esteem? Yes. Low self-worth? Yes. Needing to feel wanted, needed, useful, in order to feel validated? Yes. All of these things are part of codependency. However, they are not a sign of weakness. Instead, they are sign that someone has had to work extra hard in their lives to feel wanted. Often, people who develop codependency have carried a tremendous emotional burden on their backs for many years.
Codependency is not a shortcoming, a character defect, or a weakness. It is a coping mechanism and a means for survival. Many addicts and alcoholics develop codependency as the result of growing up in a dysfunctional home. We know the pain of codependency and addiction is real. If you are ready to heal and transform your life, call Enlightened Solutions today for information on our treatment programs. 833-801-5483.