Codependency is excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.
Being in relationship with an alcoholic, addict, or otherwise out of control person often causes behavior traits to emerge that cause great misery for the “helper.” I often see this person in my office, who comes in wanting to know how to change their loved one. Unfortunately, we cannot change another adult, and efforts to do so usually make the addict resist control by going deeper into their addiction.
The Mistaken Beliefs of Codependents:
“If I AM: good enough/nice enough/skinny enough/vigilant enough/accommodating enough/loud enough/upset enough…
“If I say it enough times in enough different ways…
“If I give enough money/withhold enough money, give sex/withhold sex, pout, criticize, get you out of bed in the mornings, do all the irrational things you demand…
THEN YOU WILL BECOME THE PERSON I WANT YOU TO BE.
You will do what I think you need to do to fix your life, our relationship.
You won’t drink/cheat/use drugs/yell/hit/get mad at me.
You will appreciate me.
If I do all of the above and you STILL DON’T become the person I want you to be, then I FEEL LIKE A FAILURE. I FEEL GUILTY.
I keep doing these things because I believe it will make you/others/God pleased with me. You/others/God will admire me for my sacrifice. This is what makes me worthy.
I know exactly what YOU think, feel, and need, and why. I can analyze you endlessly.
I have no idea what I think, feel, or need, or why. And I am uncomfortable when my counselor asks me to be still, listen to myself, journal, dig deeper, try new things that might make me happy, set a boundary with you.
I would much rather figure out what’s wrong with YOU than look at ME.