Within this paper, I will explain codependency. According to Merriam Webster the definition of Codependency is: “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another. An extreme dependency by one person on another who is suffering from an addiction. Common characteristics include low self-esteem coupled with a high need for approval. Not a formal psychiatric diagnosis, codependency is a psychological syndrome noted in relatives or partners of alcoholics or substance abusers.” How it is created within a person including the origin of the dysfunction. Also covered are what the symptoms of codependency are. I will also cover how to identify codependency in yourself or others. How the codependency affects a person’s wellbeing & how to change that. The conclusion of the paper focuses on how to stop being codependent.
This topic is near & dear to me. As I have predisposition towards codependency (more on that later). It seems to be a family tradition. Thinking about my relatives I could label all of them codependent. As well as most people especially in any type of caregiving role or job. Careers that have a propensity toward codependency are nursing or health care including therapists. All run the risk of wanting patients to get better so we can feel validated that we are skilled at our job. Of course, we all want people to be relieved of their suffering but when that goal starts to interfere with our own sense of self, it becomes very detrimental. It goes from healthy caring to over caring & enmeshment, which can ruin our lives. When it started innocently enough as wanting more for someone, we care about. Codependency seems to be almost encouraged by society. It seems expected to be selfless, caring & loving to others sometimes to the determent of the self. If the individual is not, then they are deemed selfish & cold, which people would rather be, sick with someone (while helping them of course) then be labeled as self-involved or egocentric. Codependency is also being portrayed in movies. One particular story line about modern day vampires comes to mind. As I watched, I could not help but think wow way to encourage young impressionable minds to become enmeshed & codependent on one another to an extreme. Making statements such as “I would die for you” obviously not a statement to be taken lightly. Sadly, often they mean it. There seems to be a gender difference here as well woman are much more likely to become codependents than men are. I liken that to the stereotypical role & societal expectation that woman will be the nurturers & caregivers for everyone in the family. This expectation could be expected at an early age expecting the little girl of the house to take on mommy’s role if the mother is absent or sick possibly even too drunk or high to take on her duties. This could also be the case for a boy whose Daddy is absent or sick. Mom may need the son to be a breadwinner at an early age or help tend the house. Worse, these single parents could expect these children to take on adult situations like bills emotional support or sexual incest. My experience as a codependent started as a child. I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my mother was an alcoholic. Her drinking was a secret from the outside world. My brother was the family scapegoat he had some behavioral issues. My role was the perfect child. There were many empty promises about the drinking stopping but it never did. I never really understood the impact of growing up with an alcoholic until I learned about codependency. As a teenager, my first dating relationship was unhealthy. In the past, I have found myself in codependent relationships with men. Trying to help them & becoming immersed & obsessed. I have...
References: Beattie, M. (1992). Codependent no more (2nd ed). Center City, Minnesota:
Beattie, M. (1990). Codependent s guide to the twelve steps. New York, NY: Fireside
Beattie, M (1989). Beyond codependency. New York, NY: Hazelden Foundation
Woititz, J. G. (1993) Adult children of alcoholics (2nd ed). Deerfield Beach, FL: Health
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