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Please recommend a book about codependency that is not in regards to substance abuse

Please recommend a book about codependency that is not in regards to substance abuse



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I would like to find a book that would be helpful to a codependent person with the following criteria.

  1. The book focuses on relationships with needy people who don't care for themselves, instead of focusing on relationships with substance abusers.
  2. The book emphasizes leaving and avoiding these kinds of relationships instead of helping the reader improve these relationships.

Most any book on codependency will mention substance abuse, if for no other reason than the concept began there. Treatment of codependency is about empowering the person who is the caregiver to stop that sort of behavior. The best book I can recommend (I'm a LMHC) is Codependent No More. I would also suggest looking at Attachment Theory, as some researchers believe it can encompass the problems ascribed to codependency in a wider-reaching theoretical approach. To that end you might read Attached.


Maybe check out the work of Pia Mellody. It's nearly impossible to speak about codependency outside of the context of addiction. That being said, Pia comes at codependency from the perspective of trauma and attachment


This is a non-scientific suggestion

[Please be open-minded since we're all just trying to help here]

Maybe we can try looking at codependency from a different angle. We are made of the physical body, emotional and spiritual elements.

If biology is the logical step towards understanding the pathway of the physical body, then astrology explains the whole gravity of your personality. Not only does it explains who you are, it also explains how you became who you are. One can only heal when there is an awareness of the root of an event. (There are many psychotherapists that are astrologers as well, a faster way to identify the cause of a trauma or event.)

The placements of Neptune and Pluto between two individuals are highly related to codependency and empath/narcissist or victim/saviour relationships. Know your boundaries and make them known, instead quietly resenting yourself for being submissive to the other party.

Healing might take place after reading a book, meeting someone, witnessing an event. What harm does it do to give it a try?

Codepency from an astrological point of view:

1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vaJ2YiuRrQ 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a93jjY_Lj3g 3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg_5xxlhxeM

Astrology book suggestion: Alive and Well with Neptune (Bil Tierney)


Interdependence Is Not Codependence

Interdependence is not the same thing as being codependent. A codependent person tends to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. There is no ability for that person to distinguish where they end and their partner begins, there is an enmeshed sense of responsibility to another person to meet their needs and/or for their partner to meet all of their needs to feel okay about who they are.

Traits of a codependent relationship include things like:  

  • Poor/no boundaries
  • People-pleasing behaviors
  • Reactivity
  • Unhealthy, ineffective communication
  • Manipulation
  • Difficulty with emotional intimacy
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Blaming each other
  • Low self-esteem of one or both partners
  • No personal interests or goals outside the relationship

Codependent relationships are not healthy and do not allow partners room to be themselves, to grow and to be autonomous. These unhealthy relationships involve one partner, or both, relying heavily on the other and the relationship for their sense of self, feelings of worthiness and overall emotional well-being. There are often feelings of guilt and shame for one or both partners when the relationship is not going well.

Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, therapist and codependency specialist, explains that codependency involves "someone who has lost their core sense of self, so that his or her thinking and behavior revolves around someone or something external, including a person, a substance, or an activity, such as sex or gambling."

Why Interdependence Is Healthy for a Relationship

Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways.

Partners are not demanding of one another and they do not look to their partner for feelings of worthiness. This gives each partner space to maintain a sense of self, room to move toward each other in times of need and the freedom to make these decisions without fear of what will happen in the relationship.


What's to know about codependent relationships?

The term ‘codependency’ is often used casually to describe relationships where a person is needy, or dependent upon, another person.

There is much more to this term than everyday clinginess. Codependent relationships are far more extreme than this. A person who is codependent will plan their entire life around pleasing the other person, or the enabler.

In its simplest terms, a codependent relationship is when one partner needs the other partner, who in turn, needs to be needed. This circular relationship is the basis of what experts refer to when they describe the “cycle” of codependency.

The codependent’s self-esteem and self-worth will come only from sacrificing themselves for their partner, who is only too glad to receive their sacrifices.

Share on Pinterest In codependency, one person has their needs prioritised over the other’s.

It is important to know the difference between depending on another person — which can be a positive and desirable trait — and codependency, which is harmful.

The following are some examples that illustrate the difference:

Dependent: Two people rely on each other for support and love. Both find value in the relationship.

Codependent: The codependent person feels worthless unless they are needed by — and making drastic sacrifices for — the enabler. The enabler gets satisfaction from getting their every need met by the other person.

The codependent is only happy when making extreme sacrifices for their partner. They feel they must be needed by this other person to have any purpose.

Dependent: Both parties make their relationship a priority, but can find joy in outside interests, other friends, and hobbies.

Codependent: The codependent has no personal identity, interests, or values outside of their codependent relationship.

Dependent: Both people can express their emotions and needs and find ways to make the relationship beneficial for both of them.

Codependent: One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.

One or both parties can be codependent. A codependent person will neglect other important areas of their life to please their partner. Their extreme dedication to this one person may cause damage to:

The enabler’s role is also dysfunctional. A person who relies upon a codependent does not learn how to have an equal, two-sided relationship and often comes to rely upon another person’s sacrifices and neediness.


There’s No Shame in Being CoDependent

After learning about codependency and the behaviors involved with it, and then working on choosing different behavioral options such as detaching, letting go, feeling my emotions and setting and enforcing boundaries – including saying no — I began to feel … ashamed for having been so blatantly codependent.

I’d been the poster girl for the hand-wringing, anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing, controlling and obsessive stereotype often associated with people identifying themselves as “codependent.”

It (being codependent) wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t something I was proud of.

Then I began to understand: there’s no shame in being codependent or having been that way.

The real root of the word “codependent” and the original definition came from the legal use of the word in contracts and documents. It (codependent) meant that an action was mutually dependent on or influenced by something else – someone or something besides the original factor or persons involved.

Codependent defined certain legal terms in agreements, contracts or decisions.

Then, in the 80’s, when codependency came out as a word used to describe (mostly) dysfunctional relationships, it took on a new meaning for many of us – but not a completely new one.

When making decisions and choices, we all take into consideration various factors: our choice’s impact on people we love, the results of that choice on our (and other people’s lives) and other considerations.

Being “Codependent No More” (or at least “Not as Much”) doesn’t mean we’re crazy. And isn’t cause for embarrassment.

It means we’re now consciously considering the motivations for our decisions. For many of us, it means that instead of making our choices solely to please others – or to try to control them – we’re considering all our options, and finally (for many of us), understanding the impact of our decisions and behaviors on ourselves. We learned that we matter too.

There’s no need to be embarrassed to be (and stay) Codependent No More.

No need to be ashamed to have gone through the process of allowing codependency (in a negative way) to impact our lives, and then learning to stop trying to do what’s impossible (control others) and start focusing on the possible: taking good care of ourselves. Consciously and in a way that takes others and (at last) ourselves into consideration when making decisions.

Feeling embarrassed about different stages of life we experience on the way to becoming who we are now is no different from cringing when we see pictures of how we wore our hair 25 years ago. We can feel that way but it isn’t necessary. We were doing what we thought best – at that time.

We weren’t crazy – even at the height of our obsessing and controlling. We were codependent on unhealthy factors in our decisions and behaviors.

To many millions of us, that revelation was and still is a huge relief. We set ourselves free to live our lives in a way that was and still is in our best interests.

From the desk of Melody Beattie

Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.

CAUTION: This is a public website and any comments made are visible to the public. To preserve your privacy, I highly recommend you post as an anonymous name. You can update your DISQUS settings by following these instructions.

“I met with an old boyfriend two years after I broke up with him. I was astounded by how much he loved me. I had broken up with him because I was irritated that he wasn’t loving me the way I wanted to be loved. I had some romantic ideas about how love should look and feel. Maybe the problem.


Detaching in Love

Detachment is a key to recovery from codependency. It strengthens our healthy relationships—the ones that we want to grow and flourish. It benefits our difficult relationships— the ones that are teaching us to cope. It helps us!

Detachment is not something we do once. It’s a daily behavior in recovery. We learn it when we’re beginning our recovery from codependency and adult children issues. And we continue to practice it along the way as we grow and change, and as our relationships grow and change.

We learn to let go of people we love, people we like, and those we don’t particularly care for. We separate ourselves, and our process, from others and their process.

We relinquish our tight hold and our need to control in our relationships. We take responsibility for ourselves we allow others to do the same. We detach with the understanding that life is unfolding exactly as it needs to, for others and ourselves. The way life unfolds is good, even when it hurts. And ultimately, we can benefit from even the most difficult situations. We do this with the understanding that a Power greater than ourselves is in charge, and all is well.

Today, I will apply the concept of detachment, to the best of my ability, in my relationships. If I can’t let go completely, I’ll try to “hang on loose.”

Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.

CAUTION: This is a public website and any comments made are visible to the public. To preserve your privacy, I highly recommend you post as an anonymous name. You can update your DISQUS settings by following these instructions.


The Dance That Takes Two: How Codependency Develops

Codependency is likely to develop in any situation where someone can’t function on their own — where someone seems to need us, and we need to be needed.

David was exhausted from dealing with his wife’s alcoholism. He knew that his pastor’s brother battled drug addiction — and that his pastor understood the desire to see change — so he decided to share everything. The pastor surprised David with his response: “David, I know you love your wife. You’ve tried throwing away her hidden liquor, covering for her when she’s hungover and her boss calls, and threatening legal action. But have you considered whether your actions are enabling her instead of helping?”

Codependency has long been associated with substance abuse. Treatment professionals first noticed that the spouse of an alcoholic could be as dependent on fixing, rescuing, and controlling the alcoholic as the alcoholic was dependent on alcohol. So spouses were described as codependent. The couple was in a destructive dance.

Substance abuse isn’t the only setting for codependency, however. The struggle could be with mental illness, irresponsibility, or any number of issues. Codependency is likely to develop in any situation where someone can’t function on their own — where someone seems to need us, and we need to be needed.


Reader Q&A

Book Review: Codependent No More/Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie I wanted to learn about co-dependency because I wasn&apost completely sure what was meant by being co-dependent. This book is wonderfully written and is extremely informative.

I wish I had read this book as a young woman so I could have been more aware of relationships with friends and others during that time of my life who may have been codependents. I believe reading this book as a young adult would help aide in figuring out pe Book Review: Codependent No More/Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie I wanted to learn about co-dependency because I wasn't completely sure what was meant by being co-dependent. This book is wonderfully written and is extremely informative.

I wish I had read this book as a young woman so I could have been more aware of relationships with friends and others during that time of my life who may have been codependents. I believe reading this book as a young adult would help aide in figuring out personal issues (and relationships with others) sooner in life rather than later.

Although the book also focuses on alcoholism, substance abuse and 12-step programs, there are many more topics in this book that relate to general life issues. Learning to love and accept yourself (and others), expressing yourself, setting goals and learning how to communicate properly are just some of the helpful topics covered.

This book is actually a 2 in 1 book with 'Codependent No More' being published in 1987 and 'Beyond Codependency' being published in 1989. Melody Beattie, the author, is a recovered addict, alcoholic and codependent. The reason this book is so insightful is because Ms. Beattie wrote from the heart. She shares her experiences and those she has connected with vividly in this book.

I must tell you that I started this book on February 11, 2014 and to my surprise I finished it exactly a year later. The reason I spread this book out over such a long period of time was because it is not 'light & fluffy' reading. It is intense and thought provoking. This was a borrowed book, but if I owned a copy I would go through the book again and highlight many insightful and smart advice that I could pass onto my daughters. . more

I was a sensitive child, raised in a loving but highly disciplined family. My wonderful mother, I love her so much. But she is always very adamant about how we must behave in public. Telephone and table manners, language, appearance, behaviors. I must behave like a little lady, no lols, no swear words. If I appeared "bubbly", my mom would tell me that it is not "ladylike". I should show reservation and never appear overly excited. My brother and I were the model children. Everyone asked my mothe I was a sensitive child, raised in a loving but highly disciplined family. My wonderful mother, I love her so much. But she is always very adamant about how we must behave in public. Telephone and table manners, language, appearance, behaviors. I must behave like a little lady, no lols, no swear words. If I appeared "bubbly", my mom would tell me that it is not "ladylike". I should show reservation and never appear overly excited. My brother and I were the model children. Everyone asked my mother: how did you manage? They behave so well!

With my personality and family education, I grew up evaluating myself by gauging how I am received by others and seeing myself through others' eyes. I was always very attuned to other people's feelings and a huge part of me always wanted to make things better for them. I was afraid if God forbid someone is not happy with me. I never said no. If someone asks something of me, I want so desperately to give whatever they need to them, even if that means I would end up having nothing. It is most important that I behave in the most selfless manner, because mama said, I am supposed to be a great child, who always shares, always makes people happy, never appears eager and always yields. Let other people have it, show grace and generosity.

This upkeep of "acting like a true lady" who is the embodiment of virtue is so ingrained in me. My tendency of avoiding confrontation made my road to adulthood that much harder. I always wanted to make other people happy. Whoever asked, received. I would work myself to the bones or swallow my anger when other insulted me. Never stood up for myself. I was scared. It was as if I was still 5 years old and I always was on my best on the phone because, what if they complained to my mother that I was not polite on the phone?

My mother loves me and wants only the best for me. She wants me to be a great person who helps people in need, shows kindness and be understanding. I internalized those "expectatations" and turned them into a prison. This book, liberated me.

Another person who suffers from similar "symptoms" as I did, told me about this book. She said: look, you do not have to make other people happy ALL THE TIME. Nothing matters if you are miserable. And you are NOT responsible for other people's happiness.

I picked up this book with much self doubt. I did not realize that there was a "problem" with my being "proper". Co-Dependency is a topic which is prevalent in the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. This book dedicates a lot of pages to people who struggle with their relatinoships with significant others who suffer from substance abuse. But it also discuss at length the necessity of expressing and accepting oneselves, the importance of recognizing our own needs, emotionally or physically, not belittling ourselves and our feelings, seeing oneself in his true colors: a imperfect human being who may occassionally act in self-interest. It is not a crime nor is it immoral to want to be happy. So what if you are not nice all the time? So what if you are "a bad person"? So what, if you want the best spot in the parking lot for yourself? It is ok. Being proper and a good person, does not mean self-sacrifice. If you are not happy with how people treat you, you must tell them.

I am still a recovering co-dependent patient. I still suffer from guilt when I know someone wants something from me and I am not giving it. But this book really helped me to see that I am not responsible for other people's happiness. If they are not happy, I don't have to save the day. It is ok, if I just go home and watch TV. I don't have to take the earliest apppointment because someone else does not want to get up early. I don't have to put on a smile when someone is mean to me. I can tell them to fxck off. It is ok.

Thank you Ms. Beattie. My mother gave me life, love and support. You gave me courage. . more


Dealing With Codependent Parents: How To Help Them And How To Heal

When we think of codependency in relationships, we often associate the term codependent with an abusive romantic relationship. In reality, one of the most common forms of codependency is in the form of codependent parents. Often unknowingly, the son or daughter in the situation can enable the unhealthy behavior of their parent. This can take an enormous toll on the child and can cause lasting negative effects. To help the parent, both parties need to understand what codependency is and how to heal from it.

What Is Codependency?

We often hear about codependency in the context of addiction. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines codependency as "a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin)." While associating codependency with addiction is still common, we understand today that substance abuse is not always a factor in codependent people. Today, doctors and psychologists have a better understanding of codependency and know people can become addicted to a person.

Codependency is sometimes referred to as a "relationship addiction" because someone can become so dependent on another person to the point of addiction. This addiction can even take form in a parent-child relationship. A parent can become emotionally and mentally reliant on their child when dealing with a stressful situation. A codependent parent will rely on their child for their source of happiness, mental stability, and self-esteem. When the parent loses a sense of control, they can lash out at their children, and can sometimes have severe breakdowns. The child being depended on can experience a severe emotional toll as the codependent parent's happiness is in their hands.

The Effects Of Codependency

Relationships with codependent people can often be emotionally abusive and destructive. When a child has codependent parents, they can experience a lasting negative impact on their mental health, emotional intelligence, and future relationships. Unfortunately, studies or statistics about children who suffer after growing up with a codependent parent are lacking. However, experts do know the issue is becoming more and more prevalent each year.

Parents and guardians play a big role in helping a child develop emotionally and mentally. When a child has codependent parents, this shapes their future values and behavior. Children pick up on their parents' behaviors and mimic them. Codependency can be one of the many behaviors learned from a parent. Similar to other forms of addiction, codependency can involve family members, so it is important to be careful when raising a child who has the chance of developing it.

A study by the University College London shows that children with less controlling, but more loving parents were more likely to be happier and more satisfied in their adult years. We know that a person struggling with codependency feels as if they need to have control over their child or else they experience anxiety or worry. Parents will exert some level of control over their child, but codependent parents will take control of a whole different level. When a parent places extreme psychological control over a child, studies suggest this can decrease life satisfaction and hurt the mental wellbeing of a child. This is why it is so important to treat codependency issues once they are diagnosed.

Signs Of A Codependent Parent

Just like with any other addiction, codependency looks different for everyone. It is important to refrain from self-diagnosing and seek a diagnosis from a licensed counselor or a psychologist. Below are some of the signs that there is codependency in a parent-child relationship.

  • Unhealthy psychological control through guilt tripping or emotional abuse
  • Mood swings or anger issues if there is ever a lack of control
  • Overly emotional behavior during an argument
  • Difficulty having conversations without getting angry or enraged
  • Tends to have a victim mentality even if they were the wrong one
  • Making threats to convince the other to do what they want
  • Confusing pity with sympathy
  • Being passive aggressive when they do not get things their way
  • Using silent treatment in a bid to gain control and compliance

There could be many other ways codependency manifests itself in relationships. The only way to know if someone has codependency issues is to get diagnosed by a licensed professional.

Can A Parent-Child Relationship Go Back To Normal After Codependency?

With the right boundaries and care, a parent-child relationship can be healthy again after codependency. Normally, the corrective behavior has to begin with the parent, especially if the child is at a young age. There are some steps that have been identified by professionals for getting on the road to a healthy parent-child relationship.

Steps To Heal A Relationship

Relationships that have suffered from a form of addiction need to be treated with loving care. When trying to stop the negativity that codependency brings, it is important to be careful, respectful, and sensitive at all times. It may be difficult, but closely following these steps can potentially fix a damaged relationship.

  1. Seek the help of a professional who is experienced with codependency or addiction. Counseling sessions with a licensed therapist will likely lead to better results.
  2. Have open communication while staying calm and respectful to one another. Often, codependent parents struggle with lashing out or expressing anger towards their children when they share their feelings. This is a cycle that must break to achieve normalcy again.

Confused About Dealing With Codependent Parents (And How To Heal)?

Give the child more freedom and control over themselves. In some situations, years will go by with the child feeling as if they have no control over their decisions. As mentioned above, a child must have a sense of independence for them to have a greater chance of feeling satisfied with their life in the future.

Set boundaries with each other. Setting boundaries, expectations, and rules are a big part of having a healthy parent-child relationship. With codependent parents, it is very likely that boundaries have never been set. It is best to set boundaries, so there are clear rules in the relationship moving forward.

Be forgiving when boundaries are crossed, and when rules are broken. Recovering from codependent parent-child relationship is a long journey for both parties, and it will be tough. Forgiveness should be freely given when one party is genuinely sorry for their behavior. The child should remember their parent is dealing with a diagnosed condition that causes their behavior. It should be noted that codependent parents can use manipulation to control, and purposefully crossing boundaries is not okay.

How To Heal After Growing Up With Codependent Parents

Growing up with codependent parents is undeniably hard. The negative and controlling behavior is shown to have a lasting impact on the child who is dependent on them. Once the child reaches adulthood, it can be challenging to have healthy friendships and romantic relationships. They can also exert the learned behavior in their future family as well. But healing is possible for both children and adults who have dealt with a codependent parent.

To avoid suffering from codependency in the future, doctors recommend people in this situation seek help from a licensed counselor. This can help break the generational effect codependency has. If the "child" is now an adult, they should consider going to relationship counseling with their partner. We learn how to treat others from our parents, and growing up with codependent parents is not an ideal environment to learn in. Even if the child is not in a relationship or their romantic relationship is healthy, counseling can equip people with healthy relationship skills they had not learned before.

No Longer Enabling

In an ideal world, the relationship will be fixed and can be healthy again. This would be great and would help to diminish the harmful effects of codependency. In reality, this does not always happen. Just like with other forms of addiction, the person struggling may not desire to recover or make little progress. In this case, it is the child's job to stop enabling the behavior.

No longer enabling the harmful behavior can be different for each relationship. One of the easiest ways is to repeatedly say, "You are breaking my boundaries, and I will not be controlled." This takes the parent out of their position of power and can help them realize what they are doing. Often, the enabler feels in control if they can spark emotions in their child. Trying to not react to the parent's hurtful actions and words is also a great step to no longer enable.

Dealing With Codependent Parents

Getting a codependent parent help is a selfless and courageous step for any child to make, no matter what age they are. Being depended on for someone else's happiness is too much responsibility that no person could be prepared for. The best way to help is to get the codependent parent the help they need by a licensed therapist so they can stop their behavior. It is also highly recommended the child in the situation seeks counseling to help them feel confident in having healthy relationships in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a codependent parent?

A codependent parent can be described as someone who shares an obsessive and irrational attachment to their child. In a codependent child parent relationship, the codependent parent, whether that be a codependent mother or father, tends to be needy and exploitative towards their adult child or adult children, and would always seek to control every aspect of their child's life at all times and a codependent parent never listens. A codependent parent-child relationship may not necessarily be physically abusive or violent, but it is often mentally and emotionally exhausting.

A codependent parent believes their actions are in the best interest of their child, even when these actions may have a detrimental effect on the well-being of their child. A codependent parent as a hard time understanding that their adult children may not always need them, and has no problem guilt tripping their child or being passive aggressive to have their way. Guilt tripping is a manipulative tactic common with codependent parents, and it used to maintain the power dynamics of the relationship.

What causes a codependent parent?

A number of factors contributes to this type of behavior. A codependent parent-child relationship may involve a parent with a history of alcohol or drug addiction, which allows them to prioritize their own needs over their adult child. A codependent parent could also have experienced a traumatic childhood where they were made to compromise their own interests to please their narcissistic parents. Or probably the parents divorced and this caused codependency and eventually dependent parents.

In the event of the loss of a partner, the surviving parent could also form a codependent relationship with their child as a way to deal with their grief and anxiety issues. The codependent parent may also give the child guilt trips that will make the child think they are a burden to the parent, which could lead to feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

Parents dealing with health challenges may also choose to maintain a codependent relationship with their adult child or adult children, especially if their family members and friends have alienated them. A codependent parent may also experience mood swings in response to their child's actions.

Do I have a codependent parent?

Wondering if you're part of the children of codependent parents? Your parent constantly guilt trips you or makes passive aggressive comments in a bid to coerce you into doing something you don't want to, then this may be indicative of a codependent relationship as these are symptoms of codependency. A codependent parent may also prevent their child from having a best friend, with the intention of becoming their child's only best friend which can almost feel like a reversal of the parent role and the child role. If your parent consistently makes you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your friends, then you may need to consider their motive.

A codependent parent would often experience mood swings during an argument and projects a feeling of extreme dependency that makes them seem vulnerable and helpless without their adult child or adult children even when this is not the case. When a codependent parent realizes that guilt-tripping their adult child into doing something no longer works, they may threaten to harm themselves.

If you have ever been forced at a young age to make a decision due to pressure from your parent, maybe when they made you drop out of high school because they didn't want you to be away from them, or when they sabotaged your relationship with other family members because they claim to be afraid of losing you, these are some of the attributes of a narcissistic parent and may be considered as warning signs of codependent behavior.

What are the signs of a codependent person?

A codependent person has a victim mentality, which makes them feel entitled to the attention and compliance of others. This often manifests through guilt-tripping behavior and insincere mood swings that may involve the use of passive aggressive behavior. Rather than having an honest conversation to resolve conflict, a codependent person may choose to employ manipulative tactics like the silent treatment as a way of guilt tripping their adult children to feel sympathetic towards them.

A codependent person never takes responsibility for their actions, and believes they are always right regardless of the situation. In some instances, the passive person in a codependent relationship may leave choices like which high school to attend or if they should take up a part-time job for the dominant person to decide on their behalf.

A codependent person may suffer from a mental disorder like borderline personality disorder and dependency personality disorder, but not all codependent persons exhibit symptoms of these orders. However, if the codependent person is struggling with an addiction problem, it is important that they seek help.

What does a codependent parent look like?

A codependent parent may often describe themselves as their child's best friend, especially when they don't allow their child to have any other friends. A codependent parent will resort to using manipulative behavior like the silent treatment to ensure that child feels guilty enough to submit to their will.

For example, a codependent father may accuse his daughter of not visiting him, just to get her to promise she would visit more often. Once he has gained her promise, he may tell her not to bother because he doesn't want her to think he's guilt tripping her, which would make the daughter reassure him that her decision is based on her belief that it is the right thing to do.

What is the root of codependency?

In a codependent parent-child relationship, a narcissistic parent prioritizes their own needs ahead of their child. Codependency may also involve the relationship between an adult child and other family members, as well as a romantic relationship between two people. Children who grow up in dysfunctional families with narcissistic parents may also end up being codependent parents themselves.

Codependency may also be as a result of mental disorders like dependency personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, as well as other personality disorders that may have a negative effect on a parent's relationship with their child.

What does a codependent relationship look like?

A codependent relationship generally involves an individual who expects unconditional love and devotion from their romantic partner, child, or family members. Codependent relationships depend on a cycle of neediness, with one person needing the other, and the other person wanting to be needed. It can be hard to see when a relationship is codependent especially if you are a victim of narcissistic parenting.

In a codependent-parent child relationship, the parent may make their adult child feel guilty for not prioritizing the parent's needs, while the adult child may also feel guilty for not fulfilling the need of their narcissistic parent. A codependent parent-child relationship is one where the child bears the burden of responsibility and feels obligated to please their narcissistic parents.

What is a toxic mother son relationship?

Toxic parents often have no regard for the feelings and wellbeing of their children, which allows for abusive behavior. Toxic parents would usually use guilt tripping measures to adult children, but would never feel guilty for taking advantage of their adult children.

For example, in the situation that the child's father is absent, a toxic codependent mother would give a son guilt trips to make the child feel at fault that she went through the pain of raising him as a single parent. This creates a situation where the child feels indebted to the mother, spends considerable time being alone with her, and tries always to please his mother regardless of her demands.

Toxic mothers are often narcissistic parents, and may even alienate every other woman in their child's life they regard as a threat to their relationship with their son. To from their son's romantic partner, they could give him guilt trips by claiming he no longer loves or cares about them.

Is codependency a personality disorder?

Initially, codependency was used to describe someone who lives or is in a relationship with an addicted person. But over the years, codependency has taken on a broader meaning, with some experts suggesting it should be regarded as a personality disorder. However, while codependency overlaps with mental health issues like dependent personality disorder (DPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and histrionic personality disorder (HPD), it is not generally agreed to be a personality disorder on its own.


How and When are Codependency Traits Formed

First, I am wondering if you have identified with some or all of codependency signs and symptoms list? Codependency can be difficult to accept because it has received such a negative stigma by the public.

Many “codependents” feel ashamed, blamed, and like they have done something wrong to cause all these traits. So, I encourage you to understand two important basic points about codependency: 1) You are not responsible for what occurred in your childhood. It is not your fault. You are not to blame. 2) You are an adult now and the most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with your Self. So, if you want to get healthy, then therapy is recommended.

Codependency Personality Traits Develop in Childhood

During infancy and through childhood and adolescence is when personality is forming. The core of personality is formed by age of 5 and the years that follow are just add-on personality characteristic or traits.

Codependency developed during those important formative years as a way to cope with trauma of any kind.

Many Codependents grew up in a family with mental illness, family of addiction, family system dysfunction, or other problems.

Other individuals with Codependency traits appear on the surface level to have had seemingly normal childhoods, but codependent traits and behavioral patterns were passed down unknowingly by primary caregivers who were Codependents.

Other individuals with Codependency Traits have buried so deeply the wounding or painful memories of childhood that it is like amnesia and therefore stored in the subconscious.


Self Test for Codependency

Are you wondering if you may have a issues with codependency? Answer the following questions honestly and press Submit for results.

Last Door can provide you with contacts that offer Virtual Care. Contact the following counsellors to set up a virtual care plan to start your recovery journey today.

If addiction is part of the codependent relationship, please call us to consider bed based treatment.

You can also assess yourself, or your loved ones Recovery Capital Score by visits the following website www.MyRecoveryPlan.ca

Linda Lane Devlin ICADC CIP

To recover from codependency. The goal is to bring your attention back to yourself, to have an internal, rather than external, “locus of control.” This means that your actions are primarily motivated by your values, needs, and feelings, not someone else’s.

Orli R Paling BA, MA, RCC

Virtual Care Counselling can seem intimidating and scary but it is always worth it. You deserve to feel your best, so gift yourself the opportunity to feel better and reach out! I always recommend a phone consult to ensure a good therapeutic fit before committing to a full session. Get in touch by phone or email to get the ball rolling!

Rand has been working with teens and adults for over 40 years and for the past 20 years has been helping them understand how substance use can get in the way of having the life they want. Rand is also a very experienced addiction counsellor. He has also worked as a counsellor in the Regina Detox Centre. Rand is a certified counsellor who can assist people with codependency issues.

Codependency, Relationships, Love, Interventions, Life and Recovery Coaching

Last Door produces a weekly radio show, click here to watch and listen to codependency Expert Sherry Gaba, author of her new book, Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love.


Self Test for Codependency

Are you wondering if you may have a issues with codependency? Answer the following questions honestly and press Submit for results.

Last Door can provide you with contacts that offer Virtual Care. Contact the following counsellors to set up a virtual care plan to start your recovery journey today.

If addiction is part of the codependent relationship, please call us to consider bed based treatment.

You can also assess yourself, or your loved ones Recovery Capital Score by visits the following website www.MyRecoveryPlan.ca

Linda Lane Devlin ICADC CIP

To recover from codependency. The goal is to bring your attention back to yourself, to have an internal, rather than external, “locus of control.” This means that your actions are primarily motivated by your values, needs, and feelings, not someone else’s.

Orli R Paling BA, MA, RCC

Virtual Care Counselling can seem intimidating and scary but it is always worth it. You deserve to feel your best, so gift yourself the opportunity to feel better and reach out! I always recommend a phone consult to ensure a good therapeutic fit before committing to a full session. Get in touch by phone or email to get the ball rolling!

Rand has been working with teens and adults for over 40 years and for the past 20 years has been helping them understand how substance use can get in the way of having the life they want. Rand is also a very experienced addiction counsellor. He has also worked as a counsellor in the Regina Detox Centre. Rand is a certified counsellor who can assist people with codependency issues.

Codependency, Relationships, Love, Interventions, Life and Recovery Coaching

Last Door produces a weekly radio show, click here to watch and listen to codependency Expert Sherry Gaba, author of her new book, Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love.


There’s No Shame in Being CoDependent

After learning about codependency and the behaviors involved with it, and then working on choosing different behavioral options such as detaching, letting go, feeling my emotions and setting and enforcing boundaries – including saying no — I began to feel … ashamed for having been so blatantly codependent.

I’d been the poster girl for the hand-wringing, anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing, controlling and obsessive stereotype often associated with people identifying themselves as “codependent.”

It (being codependent) wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t something I was proud of.

Then I began to understand: there’s no shame in being codependent or having been that way.

The real root of the word “codependent” and the original definition came from the legal use of the word in contracts and documents. It (codependent) meant that an action was mutually dependent on or influenced by something else – someone or something besides the original factor or persons involved.

Codependent defined certain legal terms in agreements, contracts or decisions.

Then, in the 80’s, when codependency came out as a word used to describe (mostly) dysfunctional relationships, it took on a new meaning for many of us – but not a completely new one.

When making decisions and choices, we all take into consideration various factors: our choice’s impact on people we love, the results of that choice on our (and other people’s lives) and other considerations.

Being “Codependent No More” (or at least “Not as Much”) doesn’t mean we’re crazy. And isn’t cause for embarrassment.

It means we’re now consciously considering the motivations for our decisions. For many of us, it means that instead of making our choices solely to please others – or to try to control them – we’re considering all our options, and finally (for many of us), understanding the impact of our decisions and behaviors on ourselves. We learned that we matter too.

There’s no need to be embarrassed to be (and stay) Codependent No More.

No need to be ashamed to have gone through the process of allowing codependency (in a negative way) to impact our lives, and then learning to stop trying to do what’s impossible (control others) and start focusing on the possible: taking good care of ourselves. Consciously and in a way that takes others and (at last) ourselves into consideration when making decisions.

Feeling embarrassed about different stages of life we experience on the way to becoming who we are now is no different from cringing when we see pictures of how we wore our hair 25 years ago. We can feel that way but it isn’t necessary. We were doing what we thought best – at that time.

We weren’t crazy – even at the height of our obsessing and controlling. We were codependent on unhealthy factors in our decisions and behaviors.

To many millions of us, that revelation was and still is a huge relief. We set ourselves free to live our lives in a way that was and still is in our best interests.

From the desk of Melody Beattie

Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.

CAUTION: This is a public website and any comments made are visible to the public. To preserve your privacy, I highly recommend you post as an anonymous name. You can update your DISQUS settings by following these instructions.

“I met with an old boyfriend two years after I broke up with him. I was astounded by how much he loved me. I had broken up with him because I was irritated that he wasn’t loving me the way I wanted to be loved. I had some romantic ideas about how love should look and feel. Maybe the problem.


Detaching in Love

Detachment is a key to recovery from codependency. It strengthens our healthy relationships—the ones that we want to grow and flourish. It benefits our difficult relationships— the ones that are teaching us to cope. It helps us!

Detachment is not something we do once. It’s a daily behavior in recovery. We learn it when we’re beginning our recovery from codependency and adult children issues. And we continue to practice it along the way as we grow and change, and as our relationships grow and change.

We learn to let go of people we love, people we like, and those we don’t particularly care for. We separate ourselves, and our process, from others and their process.

We relinquish our tight hold and our need to control in our relationships. We take responsibility for ourselves we allow others to do the same. We detach with the understanding that life is unfolding exactly as it needs to, for others and ourselves. The way life unfolds is good, even when it hurts. And ultimately, we can benefit from even the most difficult situations. We do this with the understanding that a Power greater than ourselves is in charge, and all is well.

Today, I will apply the concept of detachment, to the best of my ability, in my relationships. If I can’t let go completely, I’ll try to “hang on loose.”

Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.

CAUTION: This is a public website and any comments made are visible to the public. To preserve your privacy, I highly recommend you post as an anonymous name. You can update your DISQUS settings by following these instructions.


Reader Q&A

Book Review: Codependent No More/Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie I wanted to learn about co-dependency because I wasn&apost completely sure what was meant by being co-dependent. This book is wonderfully written and is extremely informative.

I wish I had read this book as a young woman so I could have been more aware of relationships with friends and others during that time of my life who may have been codependents. I believe reading this book as a young adult would help aide in figuring out pe Book Review: Codependent No More/Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie I wanted to learn about co-dependency because I wasn't completely sure what was meant by being co-dependent. This book is wonderfully written and is extremely informative.

I wish I had read this book as a young woman so I could have been more aware of relationships with friends and others during that time of my life who may have been codependents. I believe reading this book as a young adult would help aide in figuring out personal issues (and relationships with others) sooner in life rather than later.

Although the book also focuses on alcoholism, substance abuse and 12-step programs, there are many more topics in this book that relate to general life issues. Learning to love and accept yourself (and others), expressing yourself, setting goals and learning how to communicate properly are just some of the helpful topics covered.

This book is actually a 2 in 1 book with 'Codependent No More' being published in 1987 and 'Beyond Codependency' being published in 1989. Melody Beattie, the author, is a recovered addict, alcoholic and codependent. The reason this book is so insightful is because Ms. Beattie wrote from the heart. She shares her experiences and those she has connected with vividly in this book.

I must tell you that I started this book on February 11, 2014 and to my surprise I finished it exactly a year later. The reason I spread this book out over such a long period of time was because it is not 'light & fluffy' reading. It is intense and thought provoking. This was a borrowed book, but if I owned a copy I would go through the book again and highlight many insightful and smart advice that I could pass onto my daughters. . more

I was a sensitive child, raised in a loving but highly disciplined family. My wonderful mother, I love her so much. But she is always very adamant about how we must behave in public. Telephone and table manners, language, appearance, behaviors. I must behave like a little lady, no lols, no swear words. If I appeared "bubbly", my mom would tell me that it is not "ladylike". I should show reservation and never appear overly excited. My brother and I were the model children. Everyone asked my mothe I was a sensitive child, raised in a loving but highly disciplined family. My wonderful mother, I love her so much. But she is always very adamant about how we must behave in public. Telephone and table manners, language, appearance, behaviors. I must behave like a little lady, no lols, no swear words. If I appeared "bubbly", my mom would tell me that it is not "ladylike". I should show reservation and never appear overly excited. My brother and I were the model children. Everyone asked my mother: how did you manage? They behave so well!

With my personality and family education, I grew up evaluating myself by gauging how I am received by others and seeing myself through others' eyes. I was always very attuned to other people's feelings and a huge part of me always wanted to make things better for them. I was afraid if God forbid someone is not happy with me. I never said no. If someone asks something of me, I want so desperately to give whatever they need to them, even if that means I would end up having nothing. It is most important that I behave in the most selfless manner, because mama said, I am supposed to be a great child, who always shares, always makes people happy, never appears eager and always yields. Let other people have it, show grace and generosity.

This upkeep of "acting like a true lady" who is the embodiment of virtue is so ingrained in me. My tendency of avoiding confrontation made my road to adulthood that much harder. I always wanted to make other people happy. Whoever asked, received. I would work myself to the bones or swallow my anger when other insulted me. Never stood up for myself. I was scared. It was as if I was still 5 years old and I always was on my best on the phone because, what if they complained to my mother that I was not polite on the phone?

My mother loves me and wants only the best for me. She wants me to be a great person who helps people in need, shows kindness and be understanding. I internalized those "expectatations" and turned them into a prison. This book, liberated me.

Another person who suffers from similar "symptoms" as I did, told me about this book. She said: look, you do not have to make other people happy ALL THE TIME. Nothing matters if you are miserable. And you are NOT responsible for other people's happiness.

I picked up this book with much self doubt. I did not realize that there was a "problem" with my being "proper". Co-Dependency is a topic which is prevalent in the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. This book dedicates a lot of pages to people who struggle with their relatinoships with significant others who suffer from substance abuse. But it also discuss at length the necessity of expressing and accepting oneselves, the importance of recognizing our own needs, emotionally or physically, not belittling ourselves and our feelings, seeing oneself in his true colors: a imperfect human being who may occassionally act in self-interest. It is not a crime nor is it immoral to want to be happy. So what if you are not nice all the time? So what if you are "a bad person"? So what, if you want the best spot in the parking lot for yourself? It is ok. Being proper and a good person, does not mean self-sacrifice. If you are not happy with how people treat you, you must tell them.

I am still a recovering co-dependent patient. I still suffer from guilt when I know someone wants something from me and I am not giving it. But this book really helped me to see that I am not responsible for other people's happiness. If they are not happy, I don't have to save the day. It is ok, if I just go home and watch TV. I don't have to take the earliest apppointment because someone else does not want to get up early. I don't have to put on a smile when someone is mean to me. I can tell them to fxck off. It is ok.

Thank you Ms. Beattie. My mother gave me life, love and support. You gave me courage. . more


Interdependence Is Not Codependence

Interdependence is not the same thing as being codependent. A codependent person tends to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. There is no ability for that person to distinguish where they end and their partner begins, there is an enmeshed sense of responsibility to another person to meet their needs and/or for their partner to meet all of their needs to feel okay about who they are.

Traits of a codependent relationship include things like:  

  • Poor/no boundaries
  • People-pleasing behaviors
  • Reactivity
  • Unhealthy, ineffective communication
  • Manipulation
  • Difficulty with emotional intimacy
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Blaming each other
  • Low self-esteem of one or both partners
  • No personal interests or goals outside the relationship

Codependent relationships are not healthy and do not allow partners room to be themselves, to grow and to be autonomous. These unhealthy relationships involve one partner, or both, relying heavily on the other and the relationship for their sense of self, feelings of worthiness and overall emotional well-being. There are often feelings of guilt and shame for one or both partners when the relationship is not going well.

Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, therapist and codependency specialist, explains that codependency involves "someone who has lost their core sense of self, so that his or her thinking and behavior revolves around someone or something external, including a person, a substance, or an activity, such as sex or gambling."

Why Interdependence Is Healthy for a Relationship

Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways.

Partners are not demanding of one another and they do not look to their partner for feelings of worthiness. This gives each partner space to maintain a sense of self, room to move toward each other in times of need and the freedom to make these decisions without fear of what will happen in the relationship.


Dealing With Codependent Parents: How To Help Them And How To Heal

When we think of codependency in relationships, we often associate the term codependent with an abusive romantic relationship. In reality, one of the most common forms of codependency is in the form of codependent parents. Often unknowingly, the son or daughter in the situation can enable the unhealthy behavior of their parent. This can take an enormous toll on the child and can cause lasting negative effects. To help the parent, both parties need to understand what codependency is and how to heal from it.

What Is Codependency?

We often hear about codependency in the context of addiction. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines codependency as "a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin)." While associating codependency with addiction is still common, we understand today that substance abuse is not always a factor in codependent people. Today, doctors and psychologists have a better understanding of codependency and know people can become addicted to a person.

Codependency is sometimes referred to as a "relationship addiction" because someone can become so dependent on another person to the point of addiction. This addiction can even take form in a parent-child relationship. A parent can become emotionally and mentally reliant on their child when dealing with a stressful situation. A codependent parent will rely on their child for their source of happiness, mental stability, and self-esteem. When the parent loses a sense of control, they can lash out at their children, and can sometimes have severe breakdowns. The child being depended on can experience a severe emotional toll as the codependent parent's happiness is in their hands.

The Effects Of Codependency

Relationships with codependent people can often be emotionally abusive and destructive. When a child has codependent parents, they can experience a lasting negative impact on their mental health, emotional intelligence, and future relationships. Unfortunately, studies or statistics about children who suffer after growing up with a codependent parent are lacking. However, experts do know the issue is becoming more and more prevalent each year.

Parents and guardians play a big role in helping a child develop emotionally and mentally. When a child has codependent parents, this shapes their future values and behavior. Children pick up on their parents' behaviors and mimic them. Codependency can be one of the many behaviors learned from a parent. Similar to other forms of addiction, codependency can involve family members, so it is important to be careful when raising a child who has the chance of developing it.

A study by the University College London shows that children with less controlling, but more loving parents were more likely to be happier and more satisfied in their adult years. We know that a person struggling with codependency feels as if they need to have control over their child or else they experience anxiety or worry. Parents will exert some level of control over their child, but codependent parents will take control of a whole different level. When a parent places extreme psychological control over a child, studies suggest this can decrease life satisfaction and hurt the mental wellbeing of a child. This is why it is so important to treat codependency issues once they are diagnosed.

Signs Of A Codependent Parent

Just like with any other addiction, codependency looks different for everyone. It is important to refrain from self-diagnosing and seek a diagnosis from a licensed counselor or a psychologist. Below are some of the signs that there is codependency in a parent-child relationship.

  • Unhealthy psychological control through guilt tripping or emotional abuse
  • Mood swings or anger issues if there is ever a lack of control
  • Overly emotional behavior during an argument
  • Difficulty having conversations without getting angry or enraged
  • Tends to have a victim mentality even if they were the wrong one
  • Making threats to convince the other to do what they want
  • Confusing pity with sympathy
  • Being passive aggressive when they do not get things their way
  • Using silent treatment in a bid to gain control and compliance

There could be many other ways codependency manifests itself in relationships. The only way to know if someone has codependency issues is to get diagnosed by a licensed professional.

Can A Parent-Child Relationship Go Back To Normal After Codependency?

With the right boundaries and care, a parent-child relationship can be healthy again after codependency. Normally, the corrective behavior has to begin with the parent, especially if the child is at a young age. There are some steps that have been identified by professionals for getting on the road to a healthy parent-child relationship.

Steps To Heal A Relationship

Relationships that have suffered from a form of addiction need to be treated with loving care. When trying to stop the negativity that codependency brings, it is important to be careful, respectful, and sensitive at all times. It may be difficult, but closely following these steps can potentially fix a damaged relationship.

  1. Seek the help of a professional who is experienced with codependency or addiction. Counseling sessions with a licensed therapist will likely lead to better results.
  2. Have open communication while staying calm and respectful to one another. Often, codependent parents struggle with lashing out or expressing anger towards their children when they share their feelings. This is a cycle that must break to achieve normalcy again.

Confused About Dealing With Codependent Parents (And How To Heal)?

Give the child more freedom and control over themselves. In some situations, years will go by with the child feeling as if they have no control over their decisions. As mentioned above, a child must have a sense of independence for them to have a greater chance of feeling satisfied with their life in the future.

Set boundaries with each other. Setting boundaries, expectations, and rules are a big part of having a healthy parent-child relationship. With codependent parents, it is very likely that boundaries have never been set. It is best to set boundaries, so there are clear rules in the relationship moving forward.

Be forgiving when boundaries are crossed, and when rules are broken. Recovering from codependent parent-child relationship is a long journey for both parties, and it will be tough. Forgiveness should be freely given when one party is genuinely sorry for their behavior. The child should remember their parent is dealing with a diagnosed condition that causes their behavior. It should be noted that codependent parents can use manipulation to control, and purposefully crossing boundaries is not okay.

How To Heal After Growing Up With Codependent Parents

Growing up with codependent parents is undeniably hard. The negative and controlling behavior is shown to have a lasting impact on the child who is dependent on them. Once the child reaches adulthood, it can be challenging to have healthy friendships and romantic relationships. They can also exert the learned behavior in their future family as well. But healing is possible for both children and adults who have dealt with a codependent parent.

To avoid suffering from codependency in the future, doctors recommend people in this situation seek help from a licensed counselor. This can help break the generational effect codependency has. If the "child" is now an adult, they should consider going to relationship counseling with their partner. We learn how to treat others from our parents, and growing up with codependent parents is not an ideal environment to learn in. Even if the child is not in a relationship or their romantic relationship is healthy, counseling can equip people with healthy relationship skills they had not learned before.

No Longer Enabling

In an ideal world, the relationship will be fixed and can be healthy again. This would be great and would help to diminish the harmful effects of codependency. In reality, this does not always happen. Just like with other forms of addiction, the person struggling may not desire to recover or make little progress. In this case, it is the child's job to stop enabling the behavior.

No longer enabling the harmful behavior can be different for each relationship. One of the easiest ways is to repeatedly say, "You are breaking my boundaries, and I will not be controlled." This takes the parent out of their position of power and can help them realize what they are doing. Often, the enabler feels in control if they can spark emotions in their child. Trying to not react to the parent's hurtful actions and words is also a great step to no longer enable.

Dealing With Codependent Parents

Getting a codependent parent help is a selfless and courageous step for any child to make, no matter what age they are. Being depended on for someone else's happiness is too much responsibility that no person could be prepared for. The best way to help is to get the codependent parent the help they need by a licensed therapist so they can stop their behavior. It is also highly recommended the child in the situation seeks counseling to help them feel confident in having healthy relationships in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a codependent parent?

A codependent parent can be described as someone who shares an obsessive and irrational attachment to their child. In a codependent child parent relationship, the codependent parent, whether that be a codependent mother or father, tends to be needy and exploitative towards their adult child or adult children, and would always seek to control every aspect of their child's life at all times and a codependent parent never listens. A codependent parent-child relationship may not necessarily be physically abusive or violent, but it is often mentally and emotionally exhausting.

A codependent parent believes their actions are in the best interest of their child, even when these actions may have a detrimental effect on the well-being of their child. A codependent parent as a hard time understanding that their adult children may not always need them, and has no problem guilt tripping their child or being passive aggressive to have their way. Guilt tripping is a manipulative tactic common with codependent parents, and it used to maintain the power dynamics of the relationship.

What causes a codependent parent?

A number of factors contributes to this type of behavior. A codependent parent-child relationship may involve a parent with a history of alcohol or drug addiction, which allows them to prioritize their own needs over their adult child. A codependent parent could also have experienced a traumatic childhood where they were made to compromise their own interests to please their narcissistic parents. Or probably the parents divorced and this caused codependency and eventually dependent parents.

In the event of the loss of a partner, the surviving parent could also form a codependent relationship with their child as a way to deal with their grief and anxiety issues. The codependent parent may also give the child guilt trips that will make the child think they are a burden to the parent, which could lead to feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

Parents dealing with health challenges may also choose to maintain a codependent relationship with their adult child or adult children, especially if their family members and friends have alienated them. A codependent parent may also experience mood swings in response to their child's actions.

Do I have a codependent parent?

Wondering if you're part of the children of codependent parents? Your parent constantly guilt trips you or makes passive aggressive comments in a bid to coerce you into doing something you don't want to, then this may be indicative of a codependent relationship as these are symptoms of codependency. A codependent parent may also prevent their child from having a best friend, with the intention of becoming their child's only best friend which can almost feel like a reversal of the parent role and the child role. If your parent consistently makes you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your friends, then you may need to consider their motive.

A codependent parent would often experience mood swings during an argument and projects a feeling of extreme dependency that makes them seem vulnerable and helpless without their adult child or adult children even when this is not the case. When a codependent parent realizes that guilt-tripping their adult child into doing something no longer works, they may threaten to harm themselves.

If you have ever been forced at a young age to make a decision due to pressure from your parent, maybe when they made you drop out of high school because they didn't want you to be away from them, or when they sabotaged your relationship with other family members because they claim to be afraid of losing you, these are some of the attributes of a narcissistic parent and may be considered as warning signs of codependent behavior.

What are the signs of a codependent person?

A codependent person has a victim mentality, which makes them feel entitled to the attention and compliance of others. This often manifests through guilt-tripping behavior and insincere mood swings that may involve the use of passive aggressive behavior. Rather than having an honest conversation to resolve conflict, a codependent person may choose to employ manipulative tactics like the silent treatment as a way of guilt tripping their adult children to feel sympathetic towards them.

A codependent person never takes responsibility for their actions, and believes they are always right regardless of the situation. In some instances, the passive person in a codependent relationship may leave choices like which high school to attend or if they should take up a part-time job for the dominant person to decide on their behalf.

A codependent person may suffer from a mental disorder like borderline personality disorder and dependency personality disorder, but not all codependent persons exhibit symptoms of these orders. However, if the codependent person is struggling with an addiction problem, it is important that they seek help.

What does a codependent parent look like?

A codependent parent may often describe themselves as their child's best friend, especially when they don't allow their child to have any other friends. A codependent parent will resort to using manipulative behavior like the silent treatment to ensure that child feels guilty enough to submit to their will.

For example, a codependent father may accuse his daughter of not visiting him, just to get her to promise she would visit more often. Once he has gained her promise, he may tell her not to bother because he doesn't want her to think he's guilt tripping her, which would make the daughter reassure him that her decision is based on her belief that it is the right thing to do.

What is the root of codependency?

In a codependent parent-child relationship, a narcissistic parent prioritizes their own needs ahead of their child. Codependency may also involve the relationship between an adult child and other family members, as well as a romantic relationship between two people. Children who grow up in dysfunctional families with narcissistic parents may also end up being codependent parents themselves.

Codependency may also be as a result of mental disorders like dependency personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, as well as other personality disorders that may have a negative effect on a parent's relationship with their child.

What does a codependent relationship look like?

A codependent relationship generally involves an individual who expects unconditional love and devotion from their romantic partner, child, or family members. Codependent relationships depend on a cycle of neediness, with one person needing the other, and the other person wanting to be needed. It can be hard to see when a relationship is codependent especially if you are a victim of narcissistic parenting.

In a codependent-parent child relationship, the parent may make their adult child feel guilty for not prioritizing the parent's needs, while the adult child may also feel guilty for not fulfilling the need of their narcissistic parent. A codependent parent-child relationship is one where the child bears the burden of responsibility and feels obligated to please their narcissistic parents.

What is a toxic mother son relationship?

Toxic parents often have no regard for the feelings and wellbeing of their children, which allows for abusive behavior. Toxic parents would usually use guilt tripping measures to adult children, but would never feel guilty for taking advantage of their adult children.

For example, in the situation that the child's father is absent, a toxic codependent mother would give a son guilt trips to make the child feel at fault that she went through the pain of raising him as a single parent. This creates a situation where the child feels indebted to the mother, spends considerable time being alone with her, and tries always to please his mother regardless of her demands.

Toxic mothers are often narcissistic parents, and may even alienate every other woman in their child's life they regard as a threat to their relationship with their son. To from their son's romantic partner, they could give him guilt trips by claiming he no longer loves or cares about them.

Is codependency a personality disorder?

Initially, codependency was used to describe someone who lives or is in a relationship with an addicted person. But over the years, codependency has taken on a broader meaning, with some experts suggesting it should be regarded as a personality disorder. However, while codependency overlaps with mental health issues like dependent personality disorder (DPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and histrionic personality disorder (HPD), it is not generally agreed to be a personality disorder on its own.


How and When are Codependency Traits Formed

First, I am wondering if you have identified with some or all of codependency signs and symptoms list? Codependency can be difficult to accept because it has received such a negative stigma by the public.

Many “codependents” feel ashamed, blamed, and like they have done something wrong to cause all these traits. So, I encourage you to understand two important basic points about codependency: 1) You are not responsible for what occurred in your childhood. It is not your fault. You are not to blame. 2) You are an adult now and the most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with your Self. So, if you want to get healthy, then therapy is recommended.

Codependency Personality Traits Develop in Childhood

During infancy and through childhood and adolescence is when personality is forming. The core of personality is formed by age of 5 and the years that follow are just add-on personality characteristic or traits.

Codependency developed during those important formative years as a way to cope with trauma of any kind.

Many Codependents grew up in a family with mental illness, family of addiction, family system dysfunction, or other problems.

Other individuals with Codependency traits appear on the surface level to have had seemingly normal childhoods, but codependent traits and behavioral patterns were passed down unknowingly by primary caregivers who were Codependents.

Other individuals with Codependency Traits have buried so deeply the wounding or painful memories of childhood that it is like amnesia and therefore stored in the subconscious.


The Dance That Takes Two: How Codependency Develops

Codependency is likely to develop in any situation where someone can’t function on their own — where someone seems to need us, and we need to be needed.

David was exhausted from dealing with his wife’s alcoholism. He knew that his pastor’s brother battled drug addiction — and that his pastor understood the desire to see change — so he decided to share everything. The pastor surprised David with his response: “David, I know you love your wife. You’ve tried throwing away her hidden liquor, covering for her when she’s hungover and her boss calls, and threatening legal action. But have you considered whether your actions are enabling her instead of helping?”

Codependency has long been associated with substance abuse. Treatment professionals first noticed that the spouse of an alcoholic could be as dependent on fixing, rescuing, and controlling the alcoholic as the alcoholic was dependent on alcohol. So spouses were described as codependent. The couple was in a destructive dance.

Substance abuse isn’t the only setting for codependency, however. The struggle could be with mental illness, irresponsibility, or any number of issues. Codependency is likely to develop in any situation where someone can’t function on their own — where someone seems to need us, and we need to be needed.


What's to know about codependent relationships?

The term ‘codependency’ is often used casually to describe relationships where a person is needy, or dependent upon, another person.

There is much more to this term than everyday clinginess. Codependent relationships are far more extreme than this. A person who is codependent will plan their entire life around pleasing the other person, or the enabler.

In its simplest terms, a codependent relationship is when one partner needs the other partner, who in turn, needs to be needed. This circular relationship is the basis of what experts refer to when they describe the “cycle” of codependency.

The codependent’s self-esteem and self-worth will come only from sacrificing themselves for their partner, who is only too glad to receive their sacrifices.

Share on Pinterest In codependency, one person has their needs prioritised over the other’s.

It is important to know the difference between depending on another person — which can be a positive and desirable trait — and codependency, which is harmful.

The following are some examples that illustrate the difference:

Dependent: Two people rely on each other for support and love. Both find value in the relationship.

Codependent: The codependent person feels worthless unless they are needed by — and making drastic sacrifices for — the enabler. The enabler gets satisfaction from getting their every need met by the other person.

The codependent is only happy when making extreme sacrifices for their partner. They feel they must be needed by this other person to have any purpose.

Dependent: Both parties make their relationship a priority, but can find joy in outside interests, other friends, and hobbies.

Codependent: The codependent has no personal identity, interests, or values outside of their codependent relationship.

Dependent: Both people can express their emotions and needs and find ways to make the relationship beneficial for both of them.

Codependent: One person feels that their desires and needs are unimportant and will not express them. They may have difficulty recognizing their own feelings or needs at all.

One or both parties can be codependent. A codependent person will neglect other important areas of their life to please their partner. Their extreme dedication to this one person may cause damage to:

The enabler’s role is also dysfunctional. A person who relies upon a codependent does not learn how to have an equal, two-sided relationship and often comes to rely upon another person’s sacrifices and neediness.


Watch the video: Ιστορική διαδρομή της χρήσης ουσιών (August 2022).