Codependency and dependence (alcoholism, drug addiction) are two sides of the same coin. Codependents are just as sick as addicts, only psychologically.
In the material dedicated to the wives of alcoholics, we have already said that for several decades there has been no concept of an alcoholic or drug addict in drug addiction apart from the so-called codependent person. Addiction is not a weak character and not a lack of will, it is a disease, both psychological and physiological. Codependency is exactly the same disease, but purely psychological. Typically, codependents refuse to believe they are sick. Alas, this is true. Codependency is not just a disease, but also something that "helps" an alcoholic or drug addict to continue to be addicted, although the contribution of both, perhaps, can be considered almost equal. Even if initially it was not so, later this picture, unfortunately, will become just like that.
Who is codependent? All those who are married or simply in a loving relationship with an addict; parents, adult brothers and sisters of an alcoholic / drug addict; all those with one or both parents or / used drugs; those who grew up in a family where emotions (usually negative) were “forbidden”, freedom and independence were suppressed. After reading this list, you understand that such people meet almost through one. Unfortunately this is the case. Even if they are not codependent today, they risk becoming one tomorrow. What traits does a codependent person have?
This is the most basic, most important characteristic of codependent people. Such people - even if outwardly it is not yet very evident - internally think of themselves as a person of little value, unworthy of any respect. It is low self-esteem that allows them to endure serious difficulties in marriage (or before it), to be faithful to those people who do not deserve it. However, the wives or mothers of alcoholics sometimes look like they are superior to those around them. This is nothing more than psychological protection - in this way, they want to compensate for their lack of self-esteem.
Life for others
These people are completely dependent on what others think about them, how they will be appreciated. At the same time, they themselves do not know how exactly these people around them should evaluate them. They themselves are very fond of criticizing themselves, but they cannot stand criticism from the outside, falling into anger and self-confidence (which is just the reverse side of insecurity). They love to help others precisely because of their low self-esteem - because this way they seem better to themselves and - as they think - to others. They do not believe that they can be loved “just like that”, without bringing any “benefit” no one will love them).
To be sick, to suffer - mentally, bodily, whatever - is typical for an alcoholic's wife. These are real "talents" for suffering. Why do they need this suffering? The answer to this question is not so simple. There are too many factors that lead to such a position in life. First of all, it is the dislike of the parents. Although most of us are sure that our parents loved us very much, and if they did something wrong, it was only because they wanted "the best". Few people think that parents could be full of their own mental problems that they could take out on us, believing that they are really doing it solely for our good. However, we have every reason not to admit this to ourselves.Firstly, so as not to spoil relations with parents (first of all, within oneself), and, secondly, it is fraught with a long-established worldview, which can collapse overnight, and with the "fragments" of which it is not clear what to do, because they can easily lead to a serious breakdown. But everyone is free to choose for himself: whether to continue to live in illusions or still try to face the truth, and look for more constructive solutions from this situation, without sliding into complete self-destruction, but also without falling into euphoric extremes: “Everything is fine with me ".
Quite quickly, a child learns to derive some benefit from suffering (and what else is left for him?), As if saying to himself: "I suffer because I am very significant, I am probably special." And here the traditional Russian mentality comes to the rescue, which literally shouts: “Suffering is the highest good. If you are suffering, it means that God wants it,”and so on. This is understandable. If a person (child) constantly suffers and cannot do anything about it (namely, the child, indeed, cannot do anything about it), he begins to believe (unconsciously or consciously) that suffering carries some kind of high spiritual goal, “Cleanse” the soul, etc. Otherwise, it will be very, very difficult to endure suffering. The child gets used to them. And although suffering, like bitter medicines, is vital for the normal development of every child, they must, like the same medicines, be very precisely dosed, limited to a small dose, otherwise the body will be intoxicated.
The future wives of alcoholics are accustomed to suffering from childhood and secretly revel in this suffering. The abandonment of this habit is long, difficult and, first of all, needs to be realized, to take and take a course towards new guidelines, for example, to realize oneself in another, more productive type of activity - say, in a profession, and not in suffering.
When it hurts a lot, it's easier not to feel than to feel. This is the same as anesthesia, anesthesia, only mental. The alcoholic's wife seeks to disguise and distort her negative feelings, or tries not to feel at all. At the same time, she loses access to her other emotions, to those that will help her create something new, better understand herself and others.
If you ask the future wife of an alcoholic the day after their marriage about whether she will endure constant betrayal, her husband's nocturnal absence at night, his unrestrained drinking, scandals and even beatings, she will recoil in horror and say: "Of course not!" But years pass, the husband begins to drink. She is patient. He begins to drink more and more, constantly increasing the dose of alcohol. She endures more and more, increasing the "dose" of her suffering. He begins not only to drink, but also to scandal, and cheat, and beat. She already tolerates drinking, scandals, and betrayal. An alcoholic has an increase in tolerance for alcohol (a drug addict - for a drug), and an alcoholic's wife - an increase in tolerance for her husband's antics. This is emotional tolerance.
But all patience has a limit. And it comes. The alcoholic is thrown off his feet by a tiny glass, and his wife goes berserk at the hint of a scandal.
Co-dependent, as we said above, tend to deny. Not only that they are also sick, but also that the problem has become very serious. They seem to persuade themselves that tomorrow “he will not drink like that”, “well, that yesterday he came drunk, everyone is drinking”, “tomorrow he will change”. Denial helps relieve acute pain, but giving up your feelings sooner or later leads to health problems, which can be not only serious, but also completely fatal.
The most basic feelings that codependents have are fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, and lingering despair.
Obsessive thoughts about the use of alcohol / drugs by a loved one and the consequences associated with this prevent wives (mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, husbands - we can talk about absolutely any person, just in our country the wife most often becomes codependent) clearly realize reality … Why are obsessive thoughts needed? The point is that they give us the illusion that we are in control, the illusion that we are still in control of our lives. Obsessive thoughts are produced by anxiety and mental pain, which is caused by an ongoing problem.
A feature of the codependent's thinking is the tendency to harsh judgments, to dividing everyone: people, events, causes, qualities only into good or bad, friend or foe, friend or foe, etc. Halftones do not exist, there is no doubt.
This is also a way of denial. “My husband drinks too much, but he is not an alcoholic. He's such a good person. " This is one of the most common myths used by the alcoholic's wife to cope with her pain. Many alcoholics, indeed, are good people, but they have not ceased to be alcoholics (with all the ensuing consequences) from this.
“My husband doesn’t drink his wages and does a good housekeeping in the house, he is not an alcoholic.” Most alcoholics, indeed, are able to provide for their families for a long time, but, alas, this happens only until a certain time.
"But he's not always drunk." There are very few alcoholics who are always drunk. You can only drink once a year and be an alcoholic.
"I have no shortcomings and problems, it is my husband's shortcomings and problems that have turned my life into torment." This is the most important myth that we have already talked about.
Blurred boundaries of "I"
In the family of an alcoholic and a drug addict, no one knows their boundaries, even this word seems wild, distant and frightening to them. Everyone here perceives the problems of an alcoholic dad, an alcoholic husband, as their own. The whole life actually revolves around the addict.