When Codependency Takes Over Your Life and the Need for Treatment Help
Relationships, whether intimate, friends, acquaintances or colleagues, play a central role in dictating a person’s overall quality of life. Intimate relationships in particular exert a tremendous bearing on one’s identity, self-worth and desire to thrive in daily life.
Codependency exists as a form of dependent personality disorder that takes place within intimate relationships, but can also develop within the context of friendships and family-based relationships, such as parent and child. Rather than functioning as a healthy interdependent unit, a codependent person’s role and sense of well-being in the relationship revolves around his or her mate, friend or loved one.
After a certain point, a cycle of codependency develops making it all the more difficult for a person to regain his or her sense of self. Without needed treatment help, codependency cycles can follow a person through life, from one relationship to the next.
Dependent Personality Disorder
Fear of abandonment and an all-encompassing need to be taken care of most distinguish dependent personality from other personality-based disorders. Unlike healthy relationships, dependency driven pairings develop out of low self-esteem issues harbored by one or both persons.
From this standpoint, the codependent partner bases his or her self-worth, decisions and overall life outlook on catering to the needs of the other person, according to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. In the process, codependent behaviors strip away any sense of individuality a person may have both inside and outside the relationship.
Codependency Effects on Daily Life
More often than not, someone struggling with codependency issues has learned this behavior through childhood conditioning since this relationship pattern tends to run in families. In effect, the codependent partner isn’t aware of any dysfunction in the relationship, nor is he/she aware of the loss of identity that’s taking place as a result of this destructive behavioral style.
Not surprisingly, codependent individuals tend to gravitate towards people who “need” to be the center of attention within relationships. In effect, the attention-seeker relies on the codependent partner to have his or her back at all costs, which makes the codependent a target for blame and feelings of over-responsibility, according to Psychology Today. With intimate relationships in particular, this pattern of interacting can become a breeding ground for domestic abuse, substance abuse and child abuse over time.
Signs of Codependency
According to the University of California, signs of codependency can vary in degree in terms of the level of dysfunction that’s taken hold within the relationship. Signs of codependency to watch out for include:
- Avoids conflict at all costs
- Difficulty expressing one’s feelings
- Prone to feelings of rejection when significant other spends time with friends
- Overly concerned about what other people think
- Feeling humiliated when you make a mistake
- Feeling humiliated when your significant other makes a mistake
- Make excuses for your partner’s or friend’s shortcomings no matter how bad or destructive
When to Get Help
When left untreated, cycles of codependency can leave a shell of a person in its wake. Over time, the loss of identity and self-direction make a person all the more desperate to make the relationship work. Once a person reaches a point where he or she becomes the target of abusive-type behaviors, whether physical, sexual or emotional, there’s an urgent need for professional help.
If you or someone you know struggles with codependency in his or her daily life, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) for more information. Our phone counselors can also help connect you with treatment providers in your area.