[I am REBLOGGING this post. It is called “Codependency 101” (that is a link to take you directly to the original post) written by Victoria Berman in the blog, “800recoveryhubblog“. I am reblogging it in an incorrect way because I want to add my own comments to it as it pertains to myself (and my own photo). I will add all of my own comments in brackets and in this blue text. EVERYTHING else is written by Victoria Berman.]
Codependency is sometimes called “relationship addiction”. The definition is broad and varied. Actually, the meaning of co-dependency is in much dispute. The term is relatively new. I was surprised to read that the term came from recovering alcoholics, to describe their husband’s and wife’s. The most basic definition is: a relational pattern in which a person attempts to derive a sense of purpose through relationships with others. I have read others say: it’s a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity. Personally, I feel, if you are in an emotionally destructive or abusive relationship, you have a co-dependent problem. Now, I realize, most people have had a bad relationship or two .… yes that would be me. But, it is not just having one bad relationship, it is an overall issue that prevents you from acting in a healthy way, with others. Many times it is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another.
Do you think you have a problem? I think it can be tricky to determine. Look at the following list of questions.
Do you have a hard time asking for something you need? [IT DEPENDS; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS]
Do you sometimes feel compelled to help someone solve a problem? [YES, I ALWAYS FEEL COMPELLED TO HELP; HOWEVER, I TRY NOT TO INTERFERE UNLESS DIRECTLY ASKED; I WORK ON THIS ONE]
Are you afraid of what people may think of you? [YES, ALWAYS]
Do you lie to protect other people’s feelings? [OOHH YES; I WORK ON THIS]
Do you take care of others before you take care of yourself? [SOMETIMES; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS A LOT]
Are your loyal, even when the situation is harmful? [YES; I WORK ON THIS]
Do you put aside your own interests in order to make someone else happy? [YES]
Do you have a hard time receiving compliments? [SOMETIMES; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS; I USED TO DECLINE ALL COMPLIMENTS VERBALLY. NOW I SAY ‘THANK YOU’ BUT DISMISS THEM INTERNALLY]
Do you feel guilty doing something for yourself? [NO. YAY!]
Do you apologize excessively? [I USED TO; NO LONGER]
Are you afraid of making mistakes? [YES, ALWAYS]
Do you accept sexual attention, as a substitute for love? [YES, STRONGLY]
Do you have a hard time believing, the people around, you can do things for themselves? [IT DEPENDS; I HAVE WORKED ON THIS A LOT]
Do you offer advice and direction, when it’s inappropriate? [I USED TO; NO LONGER]
Have you ever compromised your values to please someone else? [YES, OF COURSE; I HAVE COMPROMISED ALL VALUES BEFORE UNTIL I HAD NOTHING LEFT AT ALL; I’M AFRAID I HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO STILL DO THIS AS ‘NECESSARY’ FOR THE SITUATION. FOR ME, PEACE/NON-CONFLICT IS THE NUMBER 1 PRIORITY.]
Are you a victim of abuse? [HAVE I EVER BEEN ‘ABUSED’? YES. AM I A ‘VICTIM’ TODAY? NO. THAT WORD DOES NOT DESCRIBE ME]
Have you ever lived with an alcoholic or drug addict? [I DON’T BELIEVE SO]
Are you overly sensitive to criticism? [OH YES; I WORK ON THIS]
Do you ever “self-harm” as a way of punishing yourself? [YES, I HAVE; ESPECIALLY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL]
Do you believe a person can change, even though they have proven that they can’t? [UGH. OF COURSE I BELIEVE IT’S POSSIBLE, IF ONLY THEY’D CHOOSE TO GET HELP… OKAY, I DO WORK ON LETTING GO OF THIS]
Are you often a victim in a relationship? [I CAN’T SAY YES TO THIS, BUT I ALSO CAN’T ANSWER NO]
Do you feel inferior to most people? [YES, ENTIRELY, 100%, ALWAYS, IT’S JUST A PART OF ME NOW; I DON’T BELIEVE THIS CAN CHANGE; I HAVE TRIED AND TRIED BUT I THINK IT’LL ALWAYS JUST BE THERE AND I AM NOW WORKING ON IGNORING THE FEELING]
Do you manipulate people in order to get what you want? [I USED TO; IT USED TO BE THE ONLY WAY; I TRY NOT TO EVER DO THIS NOW; I HAVE LEARNED MORE ASSERTIVE, CLEAR, DIRECT WAYS OF ASKING]
Do you allow a person to engage in an addiction, even though you know it is harmful or even deadly? [YES, I HAVE NO POWER OVER THEM]
Do you cover up for people’s mistakes? [YES, OF COURSE I HAVE]
Do you give to others as a way to deal with emotional pain? [I DON’T KNOW.]
Hmmmm, so you skimmed through the questions and thought (a) awesome … this stuff does not relate to me, or (b) bummer …. this seems to “hit a little close to home”.
The bad news is that codependency does not cure itself. Like many addictions, it is a progressive disorder.
Codependency does not just go away. It is a progressive disorder. The good news is that it is treatable. There are tools to learn how to live in a healthy way.
If you think you have a codependency issue and you want to get help, here are two options:
• Go to a Twelve Step meeting for codependents, such as Codependents Anonymous, called CoDA, or Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics. [I’VE ATTENDED TWO AL-ANON MEETINGS WITHIN THE PAST 7 MONTHS AND THEY WERE WONDERFUL! ❤ I LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT LETTING GO OF THAT DRIVE TO CHANGE OTHER PEOPLES’ BEHAVIORS. I WILL ONE DAY ATTEND MORE.]
• Get counseling. This can come in the form of a treatment center, psychologist, psychiatrist, family therapist or social worker.
I will end with a quote from the CoDA website “No matter how traumatic your past or despairing your present may seem, there is hope for a new day in the program of Co-Dependents Anonymous.” I like that!
[NOTES: I have been in several exceedingly unhealthy relationships in the past. The first was actually in elementary school, where I was literally, blatantly “trained” to please the other person (complicated, long story I won’t go into here and now). In another, I had inadvertently become a care-taker of an extremely mentally ill person (a great person inside, but extremely, extremely in need of professional help). I can see it from a distance today, but at the time, it consumed every aspect of my entire life and I faded away completely and became extremely mentally ill myself. And in another, I think we were equal in some aspects, but the anger outbursts definitely put me in a position of total lowness, trying so hard to make you happy again to stop the anger, to take care of and cover up any external damages to the apartment, to try and arrange things to go as smoothly as possible to prevent any possible outbursts, avoid certain trigger topics at all costs, etc. etc. Today, I work very hard not to repeat the same mistakes. I work very hard to make sure I am never, ever again in these circumstances or treat the world in this way. It will be a daily effort.]