In a prior blog post, I wrote about addiction as a family disease, and how important it is for family members to reach out and look after themselves during a time of chaos. This chaos, of course, isn’t just specific to addiction. Codependency is a term used when we find ourselves ignoring our own happiness and well-being – and placing other’s ahead of our own.
Sometimes it can be described as “walking on eggshells”; It’s that state where we are so concerned of other’s reactions, that we anxiously tip-toe around discussions because something we say or do might set someone else off. Perhaps it takes the form of caretaking; where we give 110% to helping someone else out who’s capable of doing it for themselves, while ignoring our own needs. Maybe it’s an inability to speak our truth and take a firm stand - allowing others to walk all over us.
These codependent behaviours keep us unwell and stuck. It gives those around us a green light to continue unhealthy patterns. It’s in recognition of these behaviours that the cycle can begin to stop, and be replaced with a new, healthy way of life.
What’s in the way of this change might look like addictive behaviour: denial, defensiveness, powerlessness, negativity or low self-image – just to name a few. And the addiction isn’t found in substance, but in others, and our obsession of putting others ahead of ourselves. Codependency can take a toll. It can bring us to the end of our rope – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially. The chaos and unmanageability are all realities of this illness, but the good news is that codependency is highly treatable. It takes strength to reach out, and ask for help.