More people than you would think live as a codependent. A codependent person is one who is unable to have a healthy mutual relationship. Many individuals who are family members or friends of someone who abuses substances is codependent. This type of person is a caretaker who is always putting the needs of the substance abuser before their own. These relationships are not mutually satisfying, rather they are dysfunctional and lead to heartache, pain, and financial ruin in most cases. If you are codependent, you allow your partner to manipulate and degrade you, and yet, you stay in the relationship constantly thinking that you can make it better. Some codependents fear to be alone; therefore, they would rather be in a bad relationship than no relationship at all.
What Determines if a Person is Codependent?
Codependent people usually come from broken, troubled, or dysfunctional homes. They always allow their happiness to be defined by someone else and never put their own happiness first. Codependents blame themselves when relationships go wrong or fail. Most of the time, codependency stems from early childhood. When the child does not get care from the parents because they are preoccupied with other things, whether it is addiction or something other than that, the child begins to lavish care on others in the hopes that someone will, in turn, give them the care that they need and deserve.
Being Codependent and Living with an Addict
Codependent individuals are not always connected with someone with an addiction, but usually, if you know someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they have a codependent in their life. If you are codependent and live with an addict, you either knowingly or unknowingly enable this user in many ways although you think you are helping them. You may provide them a place to stay even though they manipulate and lie to you time after time. You may give them money, which in turn, is like buying their drugs or alcohol for them.
If you are a codependent person living with an addict, you feel that you are trying to give the user your support and encouragement. The addict knows this and will take every advantage of it. They will use you to cover for them and lie for them in any circumstance, whether it is at their job or other obligations that they skip out on and disappoint someone.
What if the Codependent Feels Living with the Addict is Normal?
Many codependents who are living with an addict do not see their relationship as a problem but view it as normal. They, in fact, may subconsciously not want the addict to get help. They may fear change that might come with the addict recovering and wanting to make changes in their life. The codependent may worry that their addicted partner may no longer be satisfied with them or need them anymore if they become sober.
Treatment for Addiction and Treatment for Codependency
In the case of a codependent relationship with an addict, both parties need to seek treatment. Codependency is a behavioral problem which needs counseling and treatment for the person to develop better habits and learn to have healthy relationships and not continue with their codependent behaviors. Treatment will give you the ability to see how your behavior is affecting your life and teach you how to put your needs before the needs of everyone else.
Your partner can seek treatment for addiction while you work on yourself. When you both finish your treatment programs, you will be ready to resume life in a healthy relationship where you both will be able to equally give and take in your relationship in a healthy manner.