affects people in a variety of ways, but common characteristics include:
In her book, Codependent No More, author Melody Beattie describes codependents as hostile, controlling, manipulative and crazy and they are. They are hostile because they feel chronically hurt; they try to control others in a misguided attempt to regain control of themselves; they use manipulation because they believer it's the only way to get things done; and they are crazy as a result of living this way. Fortunately, codependency can be overcome, but it takes a strong desire to change and usually requires some kind of therapy as well.
Working It Out
CODEPENDENTS IN THERAPY
The hardest part of therapy for codependents is getting into it! Denial plays as big a role in codependency as it does in substance abuse. Since codependents are focused on the other person's behavior, it's easy for them to believe that their problems will be resolved when the other person changes.
While it's true that another person's behavior can influence use, codependents have problems of their own. Letting someone else's behavior affect you to the point that it interferes with you life is the codependent's - not the other person's - problem. Learning to let go of the myth that you can control another's behavior (detach, as Al-Anon puts it) is a big step toward recovery.
Building self-esteem is essential for recovering codependents. A good therapist can help you define your own identity and boost your self-worth so that you don't need another person to create or validate you as a person. Obsession with someone else's life becomes less appealing when your own is full and rewarding. Additionally, people who feel good about themselves are much less likely to start or stay in relationships that are abusive or otherwise unhealthy.
Therapy can also help codependents deal with other problems such as suppressed anger and the depression it often causes. It can reassure you that you're not "crazy", even if things around you are!
Whether you are resolving issues from past relationships or working through problems in a current one, therapy can help you learn healthier patterns of relating to yourself and others.
CODEPENDENCY IN THE WORKPLACE
Jane's boss really loves her. She is the employee who never says "no" even when she can't possibly handle another assignment on top of what she already has. She works harder than anyone else, volunteers for (or at least accepts) the jobs that no one else wants, and assumes responsibility for everything that happens.
Jane is more than a hard worker; she is codependent. To managers, she may sound great, and she is - until she burns out. Chances are, it will happen faster to her than to others, and will leave the boss wondering who will take care of everything now that she's fallen apart. For Jane, the picture is worse - headaches, insomnia, stomachaches and even ulcers are common ailments of codependent employees.
of codependency in the workplace include:
THE ROLES CODEPENDENTS PLAY
relationships, codependents assume a variety of roles that protect their
illusions and keep them in a relationship:
These roles help unhealthy relationships continue. When you assume one of them, you give the other person control and render yourself powerless to change the situation. Roles can be difficult to give up, however, because they keep you from seeing the reality of the situation and acknowledging that your own needs aren't being met.
Patterns of codependency are often learned very early. Since children are already physically and emotionally dependent on their parents, they are especially vulnerable to codependency.
Getting help for a codependent child or adolescent can keep destructive patterns from being perpetuated in adult relationships.
WHY MORE WOMEN?
Women are over represented in the population defined as "codependent". The explanation, according to many experts in the field , is that the traditional female role model "trains" women to be codependent. Historically, our culture has rewarded women for being care taking and self-sacrificing, qualities which in excess become codependent traits.
A career alone is not the answer; codependent women can just transfer their codependent tendencies to the office, or become "superwoman" in an attempt to take care of everyone everywhere. Whether at home or at work, balancing roles and respecting your own needs are key issues for those struggling with codependency.