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Anastacia Lee

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What is Codependency?
By Anastacia Lee   

Last edited: Monday, July 14, 2003
Posted: Monday, July 14, 2003

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What is codependency?

What exactly is codependency? Well, it's when someone (a spouse, parent, coworker, sibling or friend) allows another persons addicted or dysfunctional behaviors to control his or her thought, feelings, or actions.

That is the definition of codependency but there are also many forms of the disease as well. Codependency exists in such situations as work, relationships (love or friendship or family), even school. Being codependent, you have an intense, distorted, and usually irrational need to do for others before doing for yourself. This is where it obviously, or not so obviously, can affect many aspects of ones life. So much of ones time and efforts are put into trying to make another happy and at ease that your wants and needs are neglected.

The following is a list of 6 characteristics attributed to codependency. They are in regard to a love relationship but they can be interpreted into any situation.

1- My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you.

2- Your struggle affects my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving your problems and easing your pain.

3- My attention is focused on protecting you, taking the blame, and manipulating you to do things my way.

4- My self esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain and solving your problems.

5- My fear of your anger determines things that I might say or do.

6- I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship.

Although this condition may not seem like that big of a deal, it definitely can be. It is an addiction - a relationship addiction and it can take over your life. Because it is a psychological condition, most people don't even know that this is a problem for them. Also, one is usually not aware of why he or she does the things that they do. It is just known that it makes them feel good and safe for the moment.

Most cases occur within a relationship in which the partner is an addict of some sort (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.). As this is not a healthy situation, it's also probably not a safe one either.

If there are children involved, they can most definitely be affected by this as well. They may react by lashing out, over or under achieving, rebelling, or withdrawing from friends and family. Along with all of these affects of this disease, there are long term problems due to this condition too. In terms of mental problems, one may experience low self esteem, depression, numbing of emotions and consistencies in being involved in bad relationships. Health problems may be severe headaches, asthma, ulcers, or even high blood pressure.

However, if wanted, there is help. It is sure to be a long journey and you will need to muster up some courage and make a decision to change this unhealthy and destructive way of life.

As previously stated, this disease IS an addiction. So, as with any addiction, the first step is admitting that there is a problem. Much like the recovery process for drugs or alcohol, there are meetings that one can attend (at no cost), support groups, and a step program that you can work with a sponsor to help you along the way.

Codependency issues and survival have been recognized for some time now and people are battling with this everyday. You are not alone, and there is always help just around the corner.



The topic of Health discussed here is only the opinion of the author. Please consult a professional before taking the advice of the author.

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