Are You An Enabler or Codependent?
What Is Codependency?
Technically, codependency is an unhealthy approach to relationships, intimacy, problem-solving, and type of thinking. In the context of addiction, codependency paradoxically contributes to the very things that the codependent is trying to heal - their loved one’s recovery. The example of helping your loved one avoid the consequences of their DUI is usually codependent behavior.
The solution is often counter-intuitive because it goes against what comes naturally – unconditional love. You try to do what your loving instincts tell you to do instead.
How do I know if my behavior and thinking is codependent? How many of the following questions do you resonate with?
1. Do you attach your sense of self, success in life, or daily mood to how your loved one is acting that day?
2. Do you hope, against experience, that if you have yet another conversation/argument they will finally change?
3. Do you forget to enjoy your own life because you are so involved in trying to fix your loved one? Are you often only as happy as your most unhappy child?
4. Do you ignore the evidence to the contrary, and hope love conquers all and if you love them enough or they love you enough they will change?
5. Do you give them things they want hoping you can buy their love and recovery?
6. Do you feel you are held hostage in your own home to your loved one’s tantrums, threats, and manipulations?
7. Do you fear that you’ll upset your loved ones by expecting them to act respectfully?
8. Do you blame yourself and feel guilty for causing their addiction and bad choices? Or has your loved one convinced you that you caused their addiction by something you did or didn’t do?
9. Do you worry and feel ashamed about what others might say or think if they find out about your struggles?
10. Do you threaten consequences in order to end the madness – but never do?
11. Do you rescue them from legal, financial, and social problems caused by their lifestyle?
12. Do you overlook, defend, or rescue them from the consequences of their lifestyle and behaviors?
13. Do you allow your other relationships to suffer as a result of your absorption with your loved one’s addiction and all its consequences?
14. Do you exaggerate and embellish small signs of change as if they are on the threshold of recovery?
15. Do you repeat all the above (and more) without lasting success?
If you identify with just a few of the above examples you will benefit from this program of education and developing a plan of action we call a Kind Intervention.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know if things are getting better?
The simple answer is, the addict will stop using their drugs and not replace it with another addiction. For example, instead of using alcohol or cannabis, the addict will replace it with pornography or gambling.
1. They will begin living life on life’s terms
2. They will display emotional maturity
3. There will be no drama
What Will I learn?
1. How to set boundaries
2. How to stop enabling
3. How to create an action plan for change
4. How to say no with confidence
5. How to stop denial
6. How not to get entangled in arguments.
7. How to stop being manipulated
8. Letting go of shame and guilt
10. how to talk to family members about your situation
11. Learn to love the child you have
How do people react to the letter?
The reaction to The Letter may sometimes be dramatic and emotional. Sometimes these interventions are enough to motivate the addict to seek help. I have seen all types of reactions from, “Ok, I’ll go to rehab.” And two hours later we were on the road to rehab.
Other times the reactions are a mix of the following:
· Practical Concerns
Remember, most people struggling with addictions have become master manipulators. All their intelligence and motivation are hijacked and employed by their addiction so they can continue their use.
Benefits of participating in a support group may include:
Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
Reducing distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
Improving skills to cope with challenges
Staying motivated to manage chronic conditions or stick to treatment plans
Gaining a sense of empowerment, control or hope
Improving understanding of a disease and your own experience with it
Getting practical feedback about treatment options
Learning about health, economic or social resources