Signs & Negative Impacts of Codependency

Codependency and Addiction

Those who struggle with addiction will often have issues with codependent behavior. Codependency is best described as the inability to set boundaries with other people and becoming overly concerned with meeting the requests and expectations of others while neglecting personal needs. This pattern of behavior usually begins in childhood and is connected to someone’s upbringing and the experiences that shaped them.

Why is Codependency Bad?

Some may see people with codependency issues as thoughtful of very giving, but there’s more beneath the surface. Codependent relationships are heavily unbalanced, where one person is entirely preoccupied with the intense emotional needs of another person and becomes consumed with tending to them, even at the expense of their own health and wellbeing. This dynamic creates significant imbalance and instability, causing the person who acts as the caretaker to develop low self-worth and lack self-esteem making them prone to abuse and self-destructive habits.

How is Codependency Linked to Addiction?

While there’s no evidence that codependency can directly cause or influence someone’s addiction, it is heavily prevalent in families where substance use disorders are present. The most common scenarios that involve codependency in the home are children and parents where addiction is active, partnerships where someone has a substance use disorder, and sometimes when both people in a relationship misuse drugs.

Codependency and addiction are similar in that the people affected are often unable to recognize the extent of the problem or the damaging effects. The most common signs of codependency are:

  • People-pleasing: The hesitation to assert feelings and opinions around others in fear of upsetting them while also being more likely to have an impressionable nature.

  • Lacking boundaries: Failing to misinterpret feelings of when it’s appropriate to push their will on others or accept others to place their expectations and desires on them is a telltale sign of codependency.

  • Focus on spoiling others: An innate desire to pamper someone, especially when they haven’t requested anything, and tend not to reciprocate the gesture. This can spur feelings of resentment over time because the person’s self-worth is directly tied to how much they feel appreciated.

  • Taking the blame: Always being willing to take on too much for the sake of other people, even their emotional labor, is a major connector between codependency and addiction. Many people who exhibit this behavior also tend to be enablers of loved ones with addiction.

  • Fear of rejection: Someone codependent derives their self-worth from others, so they experience a disproportionate emotional blow when they feel their attention is unwanted or unreciprocated.

There are many other intricate signs of codependent behavior that aren’t always obvious. Still, much of the self-doubt and insecurity that people face amid codependency can cause them to seek out ways to numb the pain. Middlesex Recovery can help people who struggle with substance use disorder and co-occurring conditions. Each facility has a specialized and compassionate staff that makes patients comfortable while treating their addiction in a private medical setting to reach long-lasting recovery. Call or message a local Middlesex Recovery location to learn more today.