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There are many concerns you may need to address upon entering treatment. For instance, you may need to find new work, identify a new place to live, or distance yourself from friendships that are not conducive to your newfound lifestyle. Many must also end deeply personal relationships that could threaten their recovery and mental well-being. Unfortunately, many individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) have co-dependent relationships with loved ones. For you to truly thrive in recovery, you must address co-dependency. 

Co-dependency can enable maladaptive behaviors like substance use and even increase the risk of relapse. Individuals who do not address co-dependent relationships inevitably put their recovery at risk. For help with addressing co-dependency or to seek treatment, contact West Coast Recovery Centers today. 

What Is Co-Dependency?

In a nutshell, co-dependency describes a type of unhealthy relationship someone has with another person. For some, it can become an emotional or behavioral condition. However, many individuals showcase co-dependent tendencies. These tendencies can impact the ability to have healthy interpersonal relationships with friends, family members, and romantic partners. Relationships such as these are referred to as co-dependent relationships. 

Co-Dependent Relationships

In general, co-dependent relationships are dysfunctional and one-sided. One individual finds themselves in a role that has them constantly sacrificing their needs for another. The constant sacrificing of needs can lead to emotional damage, reduced mental health, and substance use problems. 

Co-dependency within a relationship can be toxic. They lead to a lack of independence and low self-esteem. People may also begin seeking out an unhealthy amount of reassurance from others. More problems can also surface when it comes to substance use disorder (SUD). 

Unfortunately, the line between love and enablement is paper thin. When someone is in a co-dependent relationship and struggling with substance use, their loved one may be enabling the harmful habit. So, we must be self-reflective to determine whether or not we are enabling a loved one

Before determining if we are enabling a loved one, we must learn the signs of a co-dependent relationship. 

Signs of a Co-Dependent Relationship

People experience different co-dependency triggers depending on their situation. In general, though, some typical signs of a co-dependent relationship include the following: 

  • Tendencies to put a loved one on a pedestal and ignore their flaws or abusive behaviors 
  • Controlling behaviors such as a partner who manipulates their partner into doing what they want 
  • Trouble being alone or experiencing anxiety when you are not in contact with your co-dependent partner
  • An inability to express needs or desires, even when feeling alone and neglected in the relationship 
  • Lack of boundaries within a relationship and trouble making decisions alone 
  • Recognizing harmful behaviors in yourself, such as substance use
  • Having a partner that actively prevents you from seeking treatment for substance use or other harmful behaviors 

So, why should we address co-dependency? Is it only worth addressing when addiction is involved, or should we all be addressing co-dependent relationships within our lives? Let’s look at why addressing co-dependency within our relationships is necessary for our overall mental health. 

Why Is It Necessary to Address Co-Dependency?

Healthy relationships should be symbiotic. In other words, they should be mutually beneficial for both individuals involved in the relationship or partnership. Co-dependent relationships are anything but that. 

Of course, we should sacrifice for our loved ones and help them when necessary. However, help can quickly become enablement, leading to maladaptive behaviors. Plus, a healthy relationship will inherently address the needs of all individuals. That is why you must address co-dependency in your life. 

Another reason to address co-dependency is because it can help end the cycle of addiction. As mentioned, enabling behaviors support the addiction of a loved one. Though these relationships can harm people who constantly sacrifice for the other, the enabler can also be toxic. Unfortunately, enablers sometimes thrive off being the savior. They rely on the harmful behaviors of others to satisfy their needs. 

Additionally, enablers may also manipulate their partner and prevent them from seeking treatment. This is incredibly toxic. It prevents a person from seeking necessary treatment to satisfy their savior complex. So, how can we address co-dependency? 

Addressing Co-Dependency

Addressing and stopping being co-dependent is not easy and takes time. However, here are some ways to start: 

  • Improve your communication skills to address your needs and stop co-dependent habits 
  • Spend time alone and become more comfortable with being by yourself 
  • Practice mindfulness and avoid worrying about the future or focusing on the past 
  • Learn to set and enforce boundaries that outline what you want out of a relationship 
  • Work on improving yourself and your self-esteem and fostering personal growth in different areas of your life 

For many, the most effective way to address co-dependency is by working with a therapist. Co-dependency is typically connected to past trauma, and a therapist can help you work through that trauma and address it with your partner. In many cases, for the sake of your recovery, a relationship must be ended to break free from the toxic cycles of co-dependency and addiction. 

Consider professional help to seek treatment for SUD or end the toxic cycle of co-dependency. Call West Coast Recovery Centers to learn more today. 

A co-dependent relationship is one where an individual constantly sacrifices their needs for the sake of their partner. While this can damage their mental health, there are instances where the person needs to sacrifice to fulfill a sort of savior complex. This may lead them to prevent a partner from seeking addiction treatment. They continually enable maladaptive behaviors like substance use to suit their needs. That is why individuals must address co-dependency in order to fully recover from their struggle with substance use disorder (SUD). If this sounds anything like your own situation, seek help immediately. Call West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 to learn more about our treatment programs and addressing co-dependency today.