Codependent Relationships and How to Help
The September 2011 Living Free web article focuses on the trap of co-dependency. Often, as family members or friends, we desire to help relieve the pain and consequences that our loved-one is experiencing. Although our love drives us to rescue, we often become trapped in enabling verses letting our loved-one experience the pain that would motivate them to change. The following are signs of co-dependency. You will also notice tips on how to help your loved-one, who is trapped in his or her life-controlling problem, without becoming trapped yourself.
There are certain characteristics that develop in codependent relationships. According to Kathy Capell-Sowder, a person who has a love relationship with an addicted person will demonstrate certain symptoms: increase in tolerance, denial, compromise in value system, major-life areas decline, trapped in the victim's role, plans to escape, addictions develop in other areas (Capell-Sowder, 20-23).
Increase in tolerance. The excuses from the dependent person are increasingly accepted. The codependent individual experiences an increased loss of control over feelings, mood swings, acceptance of blame, and responses to the addicted person. There is a decline in his or her self-worth along with increased feelings of inadequacy. A wall of defenses designed to help the codependent and other family survive in the relationship to the dependent loved one is built.
Denial. Feeling the need to protect and cover up for the behavior of the dependent person, the co-addict joins the loved one in denial. Ignoring the problem and thinking things will get better when they are getting worse contribute to the numbing process of feelings. Codependent individuals deny their lifestyles are affected by a spouse's stronghold. They may deny their own needs because of their concern for the children. Losing touch with reality, they continue in denial resulting in distorted thinking which leads to a state of delusion.