Codependency-A Second Hand Life
Codependency is a big ‘buzz’ word in the recovery community yet not always understood too well!
Twin Rivers incorporates education and support around codependency as it is realistically a big relapse dynamic. How so? Once an addict gains some insight into their addiction then, quite naturally their codependent self rises to the surface. Codependency underpins all addiction as addiction is a sign and symptom of something greater and that is our desperate need for ‘connection’ which becomes stronger once the fog of active addiction starts to clear. As our ‘substance’ is not longer available we start to seek alternative ways of ‘filling the void’ and toxic codependent relationships become the number one offender!
Codependency Takers and caretakers (Controllers and being Compliant)– they often seem to find each other! This is the most frequent relationship dynamic that comes up in the addiction recovery process.
Codependency Takers are people who tend to be narcissistic – that is, they are self-centered with an excessive need for attention and admiration. The taker takes manipulative control to get love, attention, approval or sex from others with anger, blame, violence, criticism, irritation, righteousness, neediness, invasive touch, invasive energy, incessant talking and emotional drama.
The taker uses many forms of both overt and covert control to get the attention he or she wants. Takers not only want a lot of control, but are often afraid of being controlled and become resistant to doing what someone else wants them to do. The taker might resist with denial, defending, procrastination, rebellion, irresponsibility, indifference, withdrawal, deadness, numbness, rigidity or incompetence.
In a relationship, takers operate from the belief that “You are responsible for my feelings of pain and joy. It is your job to make sure that I am okay on a daily basis.”
Codependency Caretakers on the other hand, operate from the belief that “I am responsible for your feelings and general well being. When I do it right, you will be happy and then I will receive the approval I need.” Caretakers sacrifice their own needs and wants to take care of the needs and wants of others, even when others are perfectly capable of doing it themselves. Caretakers give to others from fear rather than love – they give to get back but rarely complain if their expectations are not met for fear of rejection.
Neither takers nor caretakers take responsibility for their own feelings and well-being. Takers generally attempt to have control over others’ giving them the attention and admiration they want in overt ways, while caretakers attempt to have control over getting approval in more covert ways, such as compliance, doing to much for others, and withholding their own wants and opinions.
Because neither Codependency takers nor caretakers are taking care of themselves, they will each end up feeling angry, resentful, trapped, unappreciated, unseen, unloved, misunderstood, and unacknowledged. Arguments will be commonplace with bouts of ‘making up’ again and again!
‘Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if this dependency is a dependency of our self-esteem. If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back from everybody, then you make everybody your judge’