About Codependency-Codependent

A characteristic trait in dysfunctional environments
It is not unhealthy to need someone, or to want to feel loved;
it is unhealthy to "give yourself up" to fulfil that need.
    It is also known as (or referred to as) "the relationship addiction” because Codependent people  
    often form, or maintain, relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive.
    Codependent behaviour is pattern that is a result of circumstances in the past. These can be
    overcome, and new behaviours learned - see "The Awakening".

    Being Codependent (codependency) is a condition where people lose sight of the true    
    meaning of caring & sharing (where others ridicule, put-down real and destroy real
    caring & sharing.

    Codependency results either from fear, or from previously learned reactions in
    dysfunctional home environments. Codependent people often were the children who took on the
    Fixer/Rescuer role in their childhoods.

    It can be a learned behavior, it can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an
    emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually
    satisfying relationship. It is NOT a disease - either way, it is a learned behaviour. And anything    
    that has been learned, can be 'unlearned'!

    Codependent behavior is passed on and learned by others through watching and imitating other
    family members who display this type of behavior - often there is already a tendency to   
    dependence - see Dependent Personality.

    Determining whether you are codependent or not, is a matter of assessing the degree of      
    "balance" that either exists or is absent - to determine whether all the giving is one-sided, or if   
    there is a mutual, back- and-forth giving-taking, helping situation.

    Being Codependent (Codependency) refers to:
    * doing things for others (all the time) - with it being expected - instead of helping
      others learn how to do it for themselves - or to insist on them doing it for themselves.

    * the person who "tip-toes" around the sick (dysfunctional or addicted person) to avoid
      angering or upsetting the “sick” person (there may be more than one codependent
      in a family).

    * A person who gives up his/her own wants, needs, likes etc., in order to “keep the peace”, and     
    to avoid upsetting someone with a major behaviour problem (such as anger  / violence). If you  
    think you are codependent, or dysfunctional, or have some tendencies that way - take this Quiz.
The patterns of codependency can emerge from any family system where the open/direct and hidden
/indirect rules close its members off from the outside world. Family systems like these discourage healthy
communication of issues and feelings between themselves, which destroys the family members' ability to
trust themselves and to trust another in an intimate relationship. This freezes family members into
unnatural roles, which makes constructive change difficult.

Rules that encourage the unnatural patterns of relating in these codependent family systems include:
* Don't talk about problems
* Don't express feelings openly or honestly
* Communicate indirectly, through acting out or sulking, or via another family member
* Have unrealistic expectations about what the Dependent will do for you
* Don't be selfish, think of the other person first
* Don't take your parents as an example, because it's a
"do as I say,
not as I do" environment
*Don't have fun
* Don't rock the boat, keep the status quo
* Don't talk about sex
* Don't challenge your parent's religious beliefs or these family rules

These are all based on the dysfunctional family's taboos:
Don't Trust, Don't Feel, Don't Touch, Don't Talk.
Later in life these are carried over into other intimate relationships - thus continuing and perpetuating
the pattern.
    Codependence is like a huge blood sucker which starts sucking you dry; slowly at first. Frequently it
    begins by being in a codependent relationship, and often does so for all the 'right' reasons. People
    who are loving, kind, caring, considerate of others and compassionate slowly slip  into 'victimhood'.

    They want to be of help to the wounded (dysfunctional) person. So initially they try to let certain
    things go, hoping that their patience and kindness will help facilitate change. Before long, however,
    they discover that change is not happening, and the only thing they have really accomplished is to
    enable the dysfunctional behaviour even more. By then, it is usually too late to backtrack - and they
    are trapped into an endless cycle of codependence - good intentions   gone bad.

    Codependent as enabler . . .
    What the literature mostly doesn't mention, is that codependency enables the other person to    
    remain in denial about their addiction, anti-social or dysfunctional behaviour.  They will have no
    reason to change, since there won't be a 'crash', because the enabler(s) continue to provide a  
    constant safety net. In a very real way, both get 'enslaved' to maintaining the charade.
                     More definitions of Codependent behaviour:

* Codependency is "an emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition that develops as a result of
an individual's prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive
rules - rulers which prevent
the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal  
problems."
-Subby, Co-Dependency: And Intimate Relationships  (Norelco Box).

* "Those self-defeating, learned behaviors or character defects that result in a diminished capacity to
 initiate or to participate in loving relationships."
-E. Larsen.

* "A codependent person is one who has let another person's behaviors affect him or her, and who is
 obsessed with controlling the person's behavior." -M. Beattie,
Codependent No More: How to Stop
  Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

The core matter of the definition lies in the codependent, not the other person; it is in the way the
codependent lets other peoples' behaviors and feelings control them (the codependent).

* A Codependent is a person, or persons, living with/in a relationship with a dysfunctional, or addicted
 person.

* Codependency often happens with people in relationships with chronically or mentally ill individuals.

* A codependent person is frequently someone from any dysfunctional family (The Everybody Loves
Raymond TV series provides many perfect examples).

* Codependency is a learned behavior that can be (and often is) passed down from one generation to
another (socialization). It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects your ability to have a
healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.
Co-dependency is a “natural” (common), but dysfunctional coping (and survival) response to a
dysfunctional "sick" situation (family or relationship).

It is NOT a disease - it is a learned response!  And it is an important survival strategy.  

However - after time has passed, it's character changes from being a survival strategy in a particular
circumstance - to seeing it as "normal" - and that leads to the "sickness".

* In many ways codependence traits and behaviours are a type of variation of "Adult Children Of
Alcoholics / Dysfunction" behaviours in general.

It becomes ingrained as "normal", and those dysfunctional behaviours and patterns are carried-over into    
all aspects and situations of life (hence the "sickness" or dysfunction). Many Codependents are insecure.
Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront
them.  As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs (denial).
Codependency affects spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers of a person afflicted
with alcohol. Because Co-dependency is such a mis-used label often given to behaviours that are not
negative and self-defeating, it is important to
learn what it is not, to do so, you must first learn what it
"looks like" if someone truly is codependent. You may find it useful to also read Codependency
TRAITS.

For a more rounded picture of "codependence", you have to understand what a dysfunctional
family/relationship is, because codependency emerges from that: see
Dysfunctional Family,
Healthy Family, Compare Relationships

In addition, also see: Givers Vs Takers, Assertiveness, Fear, Let Go of Fear.
and Freedom-I and Freedom-II.

For Behaviours, Other Traits & Characteristics Inventory see Traits
NOTE: This page, like most pages on the site, describes and explains behaviours and circumstances.    
They can bring understanding, and while understanding by itself does not necessarily bring recovery: it   
can bring a sense of relief.
Understanding is only the first step - it is not the recovery process itself!

The information on this page describes an 'extreme' of behaviour. Very few people ever display all of   
them. Some of the behaviours listed here are actually ‘normal’ responses to certain events and      
situations. These reactions usually subside and lose their power to disrupt life or create and maintain  
chaos. However, when a person is deeply wounded they linger and contribute to dysfunction.
The good
news is that although it seems difficult, anyone can dig down deep past set behaviours and change their
core responses.
Therefore, part of any healing journey is to reconnect with that child inside: the inner child. And although
healing occurs in all those who actively engage in that journey - there will always be remnants and
memories.

Dysfunction too-often is generational: it is passed on from one generation to another. The only way to
change it is to break that cycle. The best way to do so is to begin one's own recovery and healing, and   
then focus on children in one's life. This cannot be emphasized too much: I suggest you read
Prayer For
The Children

In  reading the description on this page, if you "see" yourself in it, your first reaction might be of
overwhelming despair and hopelessness. Please do not fall into that trap.

Take heart: there is Hope - all of this can not only be overcome, but turned around - often rather
quickly. First comes awareness and insight. Next comes acceptance of it and embracing it. After that   
comes taking fresh steps in new directions, followed by re-inventing and re-integration; that and the
consolidation stages are the longest - part of life's ongoing learning process.
There are three main players or roles in this
dysfunctional family system (or any codependent
relationship system or group), the Victim, the
Victim -- The Victim is characterized by feelings
of helplessness, self-pity, and blames others for
their problems;  in a family with   an addict, this is
the addict.

Victims are characterized by a lot of "poor me"
and black-and- white thinking.

You will hear them say such things as, "Why do I
always get into trouble? Why am I always the
blame? Everyone is against me. Nobody likes me.
Everybody hates me. . . ."

The irony is that everyone in such a dysfunctional
system feels the "victim". All of them feel
disempowered. Children and teens often take this role.
Rescuer -- Here we come to the dysfunctional role played by many parents: also referred to as an
"enabler", these are the martyrs of the system, they are the sufferers. They discount their own needs,  
always "sacrificing" for the other two players, especially the Victim. They use guilt to control others,      
avoid their own true feelings, and are usually
overstressed.

Persecutor -- Finally, we come to the persecutor. S/he abuses others in the system,  also uses guilt to
control, as well as withdrawal and sulking, and often also uses drugs and alcohol.
In the codependent triangle:
* All are codependent.
* All feel a lack of personal power.

In a family "system" of more than three, you can have multiples of each of the three players.  It is a  
dynamic system. There is a lot of switching around of roles. The Rescuer can quickly  take on a     
Persecutor role or a Victim role, etc. Players may switch roles even in a short conversation or interaction.
Personal boundaries are unclear between the players (more about boundaries below).

For example, The Victim tries to get others in the Triangle to be responsible or rescue them.
The Rescuer thinks s/he is responsible for the Victim.
The Persecutor blames everyone else.
There is no clear sense of where each begins and ends, i.e. boundaries.

Each of the players tries to use the others to make them feel like a whole, complete person. But, of course,  
it or they never do. They always feel something is missing, that  they are not complete (Triangle  
information gathered from the web)

Codependents 'Boundary Problems
* Being sexual for your partner, not yourself.
* Going against personal values or rights to please others.
* Allowing someone to take as much as they can from you.
* Letting others direct your life.
* Letting others describe your reality.
* Letting others define you.
* Not noticing when someone invades your boundaries
* Inability to say no for fear of rejection or abandonment.
* A weak sense of your own identity; you live to serve others.
* Disempowered; others hold the power and make decisions for you consequentially you
have no power or are responsible for your life
* Inability to protect your physical and emotional space from intrusion.
* Feeling responsible for other’s happiness and satisfaction to the point where you will
sometimes rely on your relationship to create that for you.
* Sacrificing your plans, dreams, and goals in order to please others.
* Taking responsibility for another’s feelings.
* Inability to protect your physical and emotional space from intrusion.
* Inability to say no for fear of rejection or abandonment.

Boundaries are one of the most critical components for establishing healthy relationships; but boundaries  
are also a common source of conflict and tension.
Start the recovery & healing starting steps today. Learn to be
Dependent NO MORE
As long as you keep thinking that it is not your fault (how you feel
now); that something else must change, you will continue to feel
helpless and the victim, you will be totally at the mercy of your environment.
-Unknown
No matter how much you despair of healing: recovery - healing and becoming a true survivor is possible   
at any time. "Each night I die to old habits and to negative thinking and actions that do not serve me any
more; each morning I am resurrected into new life, again and again – if I so choose." (adapted from the
Sanctuary's prayers).
People who really want to heal, will find a way;
those who aren't ready yet, will find an excuse.
If you found this page helpful and know someone else who could benefit from it, please tell them.
If you are ready to make the change / transition to begin your spiritual or healing journey (or have    
already begun) and want to do so in the company of others going in the same direction, why not write or
email me? I may be able to exchange or share experience for mutual benefit and growth.

I sincerely hope that you take the
Less Travelled Road and that it brings awakening  and healing to you.
    The dictionary definition of codependence is, "excessive emotional or psychological
    reliance are all reliant or dependent on others": there is a long chain of people
    involved with supplying us with the things we need; and that chain needs us in return,
    to keep it intact; it is called inter-dependence - a healthy relationship.

    In our immediate environments we also rely or are dependent on those around us       
    - as they are on us. In balanced, fair and harmonious situations, that is healthy. It is
    when the balance tips and goes mostly one way. Yet, it depends on the circumstances:
    with illnesses and infirmities for example, it is easier to accept because it isn't
    intentional. With alcoholism or other addictions, or simply dysfunctional behaviour, it
    is completely different. It is there, that codependency occurs.

    Causes of Codependency: it is a learned response, and you can "unlearn" it. In a
    dysfunctional family or relationship members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame
    that is ignored  or denied. Underlying problems that result from this may include any
    of the following: an addiction by a family member 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.

    Codependency results either from fear, or from previously learned reactions in
    dysfunctional home environments. Codependent people often were the children who
    took on the Fixer/Rescue role in their childhoods.

    It can be a learned behavior, it can be passed down from one generation to another.
    It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a
    healthy, usually satisfying relationship. It is NOT a disease - either way, it is a learned
    behaviour; and anything that has been learned, can be 'unlearned'!

                                           Of all our infirmities,
                              the most savage is to despise our being.
                                       -Michel de Montaigne

                           An Introduction to Codependence
                    with an Inventory of Codependent/Codependency behaviors

    Being Codependent means taking-on the responsibility for someone else's  
    happiness. and doing whatever is necessary to keep the peace - to make the other
    person feel good. Being Codependent means to wrongly blame oneself for the other
    person's unhappiness or condition or state. It is about having a dysfunctional
    relationship with self!
Dawn Cove Abbey
_____________________________
"Roadside assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
____________________________________________________
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A.  © 2007-2020
Questions and comments welcomed.