Codependency is a pattern of behavior that many recovering addicts struggle with. This is a pattern in relationships in which one or more of the partners rely upon the other to the point where they believe that they cannot live their lives on their own. In other words, codependency comes with an inability to believe in one’s own power. Instead, what happens is that a person feels they need someone else in their lives to facilitate achieving what they want to achieve. Thus, there is a dependency upon someone else.
At the same time, someone who is codependent will also believe that others do not have the ability to stand in their own power. And because of this he or she will respond to that person in controlling or anxious ways, believing that the other person isn’t capable of handling their own life.
For instance, in the classic book, Codependent No More, author Melody Beattie, writes that codependents:
· Think and feel responsible for other people. They may feel responsible for their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
· Feel anxious, pity, or guilt when others have a problem.
· Feel compelled to help someone else solve a problem, including offering unwanted advice and suggestions.
· Feel angry when their help isn’t effective
· Will say yes when they mean no, doing things that they do not want to do and often doing more than their share of work
· Not know what they want or need.
· Will try to please others instead of themselves
· Feel safe when they are giving to someone else
· Feel insecure when someone offers help or is giving to them
· Finds themselves attracted to needy people
· Feel bored, empty, and worthless if they do not have a crisis on their hands
This list is from a wonderfully supportive book in the self-help field. It has been incredibly useful for many recovering addicts. If you found yourself in this list, you might want to explore the rest of this book. It is a popular resource for many addicts.
In general, codependents tends to have low self worth, tend to push away intense and uncomfortable feelings, tend to obsess over problems including those of others, feel anxious about small things, tend to want to control events and other people, have weak boundaries, and have poor communication skills.
You might be able to see that codependency can affect many aspects of a relationship. The troubling part is that many people who are prone to codependent relationships grew up with them. They were taught these kinds of relationship patterns in their family of origin, making them familiar in adulthood. This is the way that young men and women learn to interact in relationships.
For this reason, a significant part of healing addiction is learning how to stand in your own power. This includes learning how to believe in your own power, that you have the ability to affect change in your own life. Addiction is often fueled by the feelings of powerlessness, a feeling that is accompanied by having an external locus of control. This simply means that someone has the tendency to believe that outer circumstances are the cause of the events in his or her life. This is different than having an internal locus of control, believing that you are solely responsible for the events in your life.
Learning how to have an internal locus of control is an essential part of healing. Believing that you can achieve what you want to achieve is a crucial part of transforming your relationships. When this takes place, you will also let go of the need to control others and events to bend to your wishes. Instead you will have the confidence to make the changes you want to make in your life. Alongside this, your relationships will become healthier, happier, and more meaningful.
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