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What is Codependency?

What is codependency? It’s a question that comes up a lot with families looking at drug and alcohol treatment. People in relationships strive to support one another. In a way, codependency is born out of this need to be there for someone you love. Understanding the term codependency is essential if you care for someone with an addiction disorder.

What Is Codependency?

Codependency, or relationship addiction, refers to someone who enables another person’s unhealthy behavior because they need the relationship to continue. Their self-worth depends on it. That behavior might be substance abuse, drinking alcohol, committing crimes, or physical abuse. It’s the mom who gives her child money even though she knows they will use it for drugs or the wife who makes sure the refrigerator has plenty of beer even though her husband has a drinking problem. That’s a very simplistic few of what is a complex concept.

How Does One Become Codependent?

People who ask, “What is codependency?” also wonder why it happens. Codependency is a pattern of behavior seen in families. A daughter who watches her mom buy beer to support her father’s drinking may grow up thinking that is what being a spouse means. People develop codependency by watching it and imitating the behavior.

What Is Wrong with Being Codependent?

At the root of codependency is enabling behavior. To be clear, being codependent is not the same thing as being a supportive loved one. Codependency is about requiring approval from another person to feel a sense of self-worth. That approval comes at a cost, though. Codependent relationships are unhealthy and often one-sided. The codependent person will ignore harmful behavior to stay in the relationship.

How Do You Know If You are Codependent?

You need to ask yourself some critical questions:

  • Do you feel enjoyment outside of your life with this person?
  • Are things like substance abuse ignored? Do you enable this behavior?
  • Does the support you offer this person make you feel like something is wrong with you? Do you feel anxious all the time?
  • Do you sacrifice to ensure this person stays with you or remains happy?

Next Step Once You Know What Codependency Is

If you are asking, “What is codependency?” that’s an excellent first step. But discovering your codependency doesn’t mean the end of your relationship necessarily. However, it does mean you need to consider getting some professional help as a family. Thus, The Ranch PA in Pennsylvania offers individual and family therapy that would provide you with answers. Other services at The Ranch PA include:

There are both men’s and women’s programs, and The Ranch PA is a firm believer that substance abuse is a family affair. They work with you to break codependencies so you can move forward. Also, if your relationship is with someone who has a drug or alcohol abuse disorder, they can become clients at The Ranch PA and get the help they need. The Ranch PA’s men’s and women’s drug rehab facilities sit in Hanover, PA on 15 acres of beautiful countryside. We offer treatment for a variety of substances such as opioids, alcohol, benzos, cocaine, meth, heroin, and marijuana. The staff works to help clients and families build emotional awareness so that they can understand addiction as a brain disease and their role in it. The Ranch PA treatment is neurobiological and built on clinically proven methodologies such as cognitive behavior therapy. If you think you may be codependent, getting help isn’t just for the person you love. It’s for you, too. Give us a call today at 717.969.9126. We can be here for you both.

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