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CODEPENDENCY

"One of the hardest things I have had to learn, is how to be alone.  It just seemed like I could never function being by myself.  After a series of failed relationships, and difficult friendships, I knew that I needed help.  I went to FLBT, and I am learning that I can be alone if I choose to be, independent and HAPPY!!"

Codependency has many faces in an established unhealthy relationship. One, is when your value, self-worth or identity is reliant upon another individual for a sense of feeling whole or complete in your own life.  For this reason, usually in a codependent relationship, one person is enabling another person, supporting them with things such as having irresponsible behaviors, mental health issues, substance abuse, or to take advantage of you, to name but just a few.  It is an unhealthy relationship, because the relationship is normally one-sided, abusive and most times, destructive.  The enabler is usually in the relationship because of a need to feel needed, even though they might be fully aware that the relationship is unhealthy.  Both parties are getting some type of needs met from this relationship, however, the relationship is dysfunctional.  There may be a fear of being alone, boredom, emptiness, need for love or affection and acceptance, denial, lack of self-esteem, intensity and instability.  

The codependent individual is always reliant upon someone else to fulfill emotional needs and a sense of self-worth, even outside the confines of a relationship.  Rescue and support are huge factors in codependency, where one partner feels the need to meet all of the needs of the other, for the sake of having their presence and/or approval.  Codependency is learned behavior which gets passed down in families. Codependent patterns undermine relationships by weakening and burying the self. People with a weak sense of self often are often attracted to relationships that are emotionally destructive. If the self is buried long enough and deeply enough, codependency becomes what is called “relationship addiction” or "love addiction”.  A codependent has strong ideas of how things "should" be and are often excessively helpful, trying to "fix" things. Underneath this mask is a strong control impulse; this is how a codependent manages his or her anxiety.  

Codependents will create situations of giving too much to the wrong person or the wrong situation, and end up being the victim or scapegoat. Now they have "reason" to blame others or the world for their unhappiness. It is hard for a codependent to see their part in creating their own pain, as they truly believe they are being selfless, and kind and appropriate. It is everyone else who is at fault.  Co-dependents have low self-esteem. They have forgotten who they are, and believe their value lies outside of themselves. They are uncomfortable in their own skin. and look for things or people outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to be themselves. Either everyone is more important than they are, or they have to be more important than anyone else. Either way they are concerned with how others view them, and what others are doing instead of exploring their inner world of self. Many codependents take on caretaking roles. 

Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or food, and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.  Codependents are often kind people who have been taught ways to love that are not truly healthy. They believe that by giving too much of themselves they are loving more. They believe that they are being kind by allowing bad things to continue or by sublimating their own desires, needs and feelings.  Help is available, and this learned behavior can be changed.   With the help of a trained professional you can learn to administer self-love and self-care, thus allowing yourself to heal and love in a healthy manner.