What is codependency?

Codependency is a dependence on another human being for meaning.  This person becomes the focus of your life, and how you feel about yourself is based in the actions of someone else, therefore you do your best to control their behavior, so that they will make you feel good about yourself.  You may get very angry when they do not act the way you want them to.  You may want to get them out of your life.  However, being without them and the pain they cause you is even more painful then staying with them.   Your relationship becomes your addiction.

What type of people do codependents get involved with?

It is common for you to be involved with someone who has an addiction, or a big problem you can help them with.  You feel like if only they will do what you want them to do, they would get better.  As a codependent you need to have someone to fix.  An addict is the perfect choice, because they can become the focus of your life.  They need you.  They will not abandon you because they want your help.

How does codependency lead me awry?

No one can change or fix another.  No one changes unless they are ready to.  An addict will not seek help unless they are ready.  There is nothing you can do, in fact trying to fix them only makes things worse for both of you.  It causes both of you pain.

What happens to the codependent if there is no one to fix?

This is the painful place for you.  You will have to face yourself, rather than concentrate on the other.  You have your own pain, your own hurts from the past, usually dealing with your own family of origin.  You may have been abused either verbally, physically or sexually.  You probably had to take care of someone else in your family, such as a parent or a sibling. Taking care of them became more important then taking care of yourself.  In fact often your own survival in the family meant that you had to give to others.

Why is codependency sometimes called an addiction?

The process of recovering from your codependent behavior can be as painful and as difficult as the addicts.  Once we stop the behavior that protects us from our own hurt, it brings up feelings that you have been avoiding your whole life.  The healing process takes time and is very uncomfortable.

What kind of help can I get?

There are many forms of help.  The most common and readily available is a good therapist who understands codependency and a myriad of 12 step programs.  CODA, Codependents anonymous is very helpful.  Alanon was started to support spouses living with alcoholics.  Later, people went to Alanon if they had any family dealing with alcoholism.  COSA (Codependent partner of Sex Addicts) was founded to support those whose lives have been affected by sex addiction.  ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) is also a good resource.

What do I do now?

Call today for a free therapy consultation 415-834-1755 or email me at: info@goldengatecounseling.com

Mental Health appointments available in my downtown San Francisco counseling office, by phone, or webcam.

Click here for an in-depth questionaire about sex addiction

More information on Addictions

Counseling and Therapy for Sex Addiction

Recovery for Alcohol or Substance Abuse

To the Partners of Sex Addicts.

ARISE addiction interventions

Issues of Codependency

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