Co-dependanceGetting Help
The Harmony Group has an excellent track record in working with co-dependants and helping them find the freedom they so deserve. Treatment is an exciting voyage of self discovery, and though difficult, feelings need to be felt and resolved. The promise of a future life of self-fulfillment is highly rewarding. We have specialised counsellors and support groups to get you started. Call us today! 0861 695 9067

Information about Co-dependence

Co-dependence is a pattern of detrimental, behavioral interactions within a dysfunctional relationship which is regarded as an emotional disorder, and by some as a psychological disease. In the relationship, the co-dependent person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition, such as drug addiction. The co-dependent’s life gets more and more out of hand and eventually, they may become as sick as the person they are co-dependent on. In general, the co-dependent is understood to be a person who perpetuates the addiction or pathological condition of someone close to them in a way that hampers recovery. This can be done through direct control over the dependent, by making excuses for their dysfunctional behavior or relieving them of the consequences of the dependence. This is called enabling, which can have negative social and health consequences for both parties. A co-dependent may feel shame about, or try to change, their most private thoughts and feelings if they conflict with those of another person.

Symptoms of co-dependence may include controlling behavior, distrust, perfectionism, avoidance of feelings, problems with intimacy, excessive caretaking, hypervigilance, or physical illness related to stress. Co-dependence is often accompanied by clinical depression, as the co-dependent person succumbs to feelings of frustration or sadness over their inability to improve their situation. Symptoms include:

  • tendency to place the needs and wants of others first and to the exclusion of acknowledging one’s own
  • continued investment of self-esteem in the ability to control both oneself and others
  • anxiety and boundary distortions relating to intimacy and separation
  • difficulty expressing feelings
  • excessive worry over how others may respond to one’s feelings
  • undue fear of being hurt and/or rejected by others
  • self-esteem dependent on approval by others
  • tendency to ignore own values and attempt to adhere to the values of others.

Individuals who are suffering from co-dependence may seek assistance through various therapies, sometimes accompanied by chemical therapy for accompanying depression.

In addition, there exist support groups for co-dependency; some of these are Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) and Al-Anon/Alateen, Celebrate Recovery, Nar-Anon, and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA), which are based on the twelve-step program model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Although the term co-dependency originated outside of twelve-step groups, it is now a common concept understood in many of them.

Many books have been written on the subject of co-dependence. Pia Melody (Facing Co-dependence) and Shirley Smith (Set yourself Free) Melody Beattie was one of the first to describe such behaviors. She is the author of Co-dependent No More among many other volumes.

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