The Chains that Bind: Codependency


Are you familiar with the term codependency?  Most people are not familiar with the term, but once they learn more about it, they find how familiar it actually is.

Codependency is synonymous with the concept “relationship addiction.”  Reflect on some of the following:

  • Do you find yourself in the role of caregiver to those who need something from you?
  • Do you do whatever it takes to fix, rescue, control or protect some one else? Even if that is through manipulative or enabling behaviors? For example, save a loved one from a drinking problem or other destructive habit?
  • Are you drawn to people who come form chaotic or emotionally painful situations?
  • Do you feel controlled by some one else’s circumstances?
  • Have you lost your sense of self because you are so consumed by others?
  • Do you have a high need to please other people?

Answering yes to the above questions may indicate a struggle with codependency.  Most often codependency affects a spouse, sibling or friend of a person with a drug or alcohol dependence.  However, the term can also be generalized beyond substances to dysfunctional family systems or relationships.

If you are struggling with codependency there is a chance you may also be experiencing:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Looking for sources outside of your self to make you feel better
  • Self-medicating behaviors
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Fatigue, anxiety or fear
  • Poor boundaries
  • Fear of abandonment

What are some steps to overcoming codependency:

  • Codependency is often rooted in childhood; education and therapy will help you gain insights about yourself and over come your struggles
  • The first step to changing a problem is to understand it, so education is essential
  • Support groups, surround yourself with others experiencing a similar struggle
  • Overcoming codependency is possible, take the first step today!