Kevin’s FAQ’s about Codependency
In any relationship with an addict, it’s likely there’s codependency at play. What exactly is codependency though? Throughout the year’s Kevin has had his share of questions asked about codependency. Check out his top 10 questions and answers:
Q: What is codependency?
A: Codependency is a condition in which one person enables a person’s addiction or bad behavior.
Q: What is enabling?
A: Rescuing someone who continues to make poor choices is not called love – it’s enabling. Stop enabling and refuse to be a safety net so they can grow up.
Q: What is people-pleasing?
A: It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Codependents go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people. Saying “no” causes them anxiety and some codependents have a hard time saying “no” to anyone.
Q: What does passive-aggressive mean?
A: Conflict-avoidant and sabotaging instead of standing up for yourself and saying what you think or want. People with passive-aggressive behavior express their negative feelings subtly through their actions instead of handling them directly. This creates a separation between what they say and what they do.
Q: What is caretaking?
A: If someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. Codependents keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.
Q: What is denial?
A: Codependents pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some codependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving.
Q: Isn’t everyone who is a parent somewhat codependent?
A: Probably. As our kids get older, we have to let go and allow them to learn their life lessons on their own. Sometimes that means watching them run into a wall at full speed.
Q: How do we stop being codependent?
A: Educate yourself by reading Codependent No More, Facing Codependency, Unspoken Legacy and Chronic Hope: Parenting the Addicted Child. Find a therapist in your area who you can meet with that understands codependency and how it works.
Q: Why do we have to go to meetings?
A: Addiction affects the whole family, not just the addict. The entire family system has to change in order to not repeat the past.