What happens when we love someone who struggles to love themselves?
Love requires boundaries, respect, and connection. But, when someone loves an addict the boundaries can become blurred.
This blurring of boundaries can sometimes result in codependency. Rather than truly helping the addict, codependent behaviors can perpetuate the addiction. The codependent believes they are loving and protecting the addict, but what’s actually happening is enabling.
Codependency is a learned behavior typically passed down from one generation to the next. It is also known as relationship addiction in which a codependent person develops relationships that are emotionally destructive. These relationships can also be abusive and one-sided.
These types of relationships can leave us feeling drained, depressed, and even anxious. We put the addict before ourselves and as a result, we lose sight of our own needs and desires.
But, codependent recovery is possible. To recover from codependency, we must learn new behaviors and new ways to think. It’s important to note, however, that codependent recovery doesn’t guarantee that the addict will also recover.
Codependency recovery can give you new insight and new hope. If you’re ready to recover from codependent relationships, then read on to find out more about codependency recovery.
Codependency Recovery: I Love You More
Have you ever felt like you loved someone more than you love yourself? This is a feeling typically applauded in our society, but sometimes love can be misguided. Many codependents believe that love means putting your own needs aside.
Codependent people are some of the most giving and loving people around. But, in many cases, such as with an addict, this love goes overboard and inhibits the development of a healthy relationship. This type of relationships also can inhibit a healthy relationship with yourself.
Just because we love someone doesn’t mean our own needs go away. But, for codependent people who struggle with self-esteem, codependency may seem like the only way they can feel better. So, they take on the role of the rescuer or a martyr.
Want to learn more about codependency recovery? Explore the following facets of codependency recovery to start the journey towards healing.
1. Educate Yourself
To start your recovery, it’s important to educate yourself about codependency. Read as many articles as you can, talk with a therapist, and read books about codependency.
One book that was monumental on the subject of codependency is called “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. This book goes into detail about codependency and how to recover. It is also relatable and understanding of people who are codependent.
It is a compassionate book that can help you on your road to recovery.
2. Know the Behaviors
When you know better, you do better. To some of us, codependent behaviors are the norm. But, normal doesn’t always mean healthy.
Familiarize yourself with codependent behaviors. Determine if you also use these behaviors and when. Some of these behaviors include lying for your loved one, chronic anger, and rigidity. Other codependent behaviors are difficulty making decisions, controlling others, and doing more work than is required.
3. Practice Self-Awareness
Once you are aware of codependent behaviors, it’s important to honestly assess how your behaviors manifest. Notice why you engage in these behaviors.
What thoughts come to mind when these behaviors are triggered? How do you feel when completing these behaviors?
You can also gain more awareness by practicing mindfulness meditation.
4. Practice Detachment
People who are codependent allow their lives to revolve around their loved ones. They may even stop hanging out with other people or participating in other fulfilling activities.
Detachment is a key recovery tool for people in codependency recovery. Detachment means mentally and emotionally detaching from the addicted partner. It requires you to allow your loved one to take responsibility for themselves while you take responsibility for yourself.
Detachment may also mean that you physically leave your loved one. This may be especially important if you are being abused by your partner or loved one.
It is important to note that detachment isn’t about punishment. Detachment is about protecting your own well-being and protecting yourself. It is also useful for learning how to practice behaving in a non-codependent manner.
5. Seek Out Support
We all need support. Support promotes worthiness and belonging, which is something many codependents desperately need.
There are many support groups dedicated to codependent relationships. These include Al-Non, Codependents Anonymous, and Nar-Anon. Which you choose to attend will depend on the type of relationship you’re in.
Learn more about codependency support and drug rehab.
6. Get Individual Support
Support groups allow you to feel less alone in your struggles. But, it’s also important to seek out individual, one-on-one support. Doing so will allow you to focus more on your individual history, relationships, and behaviors.
Having someone you can speak honestly with is key. This could be a sponsor or a therapist. This relationship will be extremely helpful for regaining trust in others and in yourself.
7. Set Boundaries
Eventually, you’ll need to set boundaries with your loved one. You’ll also need to stick to these boundaries on a regular basis. For example, if your loved one gets drunk, you can set a boundary to refuse to lie to their boss about it.
When you’re ready, it’s also important to discuss how you feel with your loved one. Explain to them how their behavior and addiction affects you. However, it’s important to note that your loved one may not be receptive to your feelings and concerns.
But, it’s still important to have this discussion for your own recovery. If the other person does not respond well, continue sticking to your boundaries and creating new ones as needed.
Codependency Recovery: Into Action
Knowing about codependency recovery is the first step towards relief. The next step is taking action.
Recovery from codependency won’t be an easy task. It requires you to take new risks and face many fears. But, recovery is well worth the effort.
Recovery can allow you to finally feel responsible only for yourself. You can also feel less guilty and more at ease knowing what you can and cannot control. You’ll also be free to explore interests of your own and create a life of your design.
Throughout the recovery process, it’s important to be patient with yourself. Self-awareness is a learned skill, which takes time to master. Stay the course and learn from your mistakes.
No road to recovery is seamless. You’ll still face problems that everyone faces. The difference will be how you respond to these problems and the life path you choose to take.
Want to learn about stress relief techniques to aid in your codependency recovery? Check out our blog post to learn more.