Identifying the Signs That You May Be in a Co-Dependent Relationship

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Identifying the Signs That You May Be in a Co-Dependent Relationship

Healthy relationships all require a proper balance. Both people should be giving and receiving equally, or as equally as possible. This balance is to help ensure that both people are contributing to the relationship and that it is not one-sided. The opposite of this is a co-dependent relationship.

Many people can reach a point where they are in a co-dependent relationship without even realizing it. Codependency is often found in situations where substance misuse is present, but not always. It can come in a lot of different forms and be recognizable to outsiders but not to the people involved. This can become very unhealthy and take a major toll on your mental health.

If you are living in a co-dependent relationship, the good news is that there are things you can do to change.

The Role of Substance Misuse in a Co-Dependent Relationship

Substance misuse can play a significant role in a co-dependent relationship. In many cases, the partner wants the best for their significant other struggling with drinking or drug use but doesn’t know how to show it in the right ways. Often they end up doing something called “enabling” their partner. This does harm instead of good.

To enable someone struggling with addiction is essentially to make it easier for them to continue engaging in substance misuse without facing any consequences. There are a lot of ways that one can enable someone struggling with addiction without even realizing they are doing so.

A lot of the time, this comes in the form of covering for the other person in some way. For example, maybe the individual is struggling to keep up with responsibilities at work, home, or school, so their partner picks up the slack. It could also include making up excuses for their behavior in order to protect their reputation.

This could also come in the form of helping the individual out if they get in legal trouble. For example, the partner might bail them out of jail or help them out with court costs. They may even hire a lawyer for them to help get them out of trouble. All of this is a form of enabling.

One of the most common forms of enabling is simply continuing to supply an individual with the substance they are addicted to. Maybe they don’t have a form of transportation or enough money to purchase it for themselves. This is only making it easier for the individual’s substance misuse to continue.

Ending a Co-Dependent Relationship by Stopping to Enable

The best way to end co-dependency in a relationship in which substance misuse is a problem is to stop enabling. It can be very difficult to not step in and cover for the individual who is struggling. In addition, it can be even harder to watch them take steps toward destroying their livelihood and simply look on from a distance. However, this is necessary in order to make continuing to engage in substance misuse more difficult for them.

To stop enabling someone, especially after doing it for a long time, can seem as if it’s the opposite thing to do in some situations. For example, some people might think, “If my partner is struggling, shouldn’t I be doing everything that I can to support them?” But the truth is, ending enabling behaviors is actually an act of love and service to the individual. Their partner can support them in other healthy and beneficial ways.

When someone doesn’t always have another person there to pick up the pieces for them when these go wrong, they are forced to do so themselves. It is at this point that they must accept the reality of how serious their situation is and how badly they need help. This can often be a turning point, encouraging them to finally seek treatment and turn things around.

Identifying if a Co-Dependent Relationship Can Be Saved

When some people identify the fact that they are in a co-dependent relationship, they may be reluctant to change. They may be afraid that their partner will leave them and that they will be alone or that things will change in a negative way. In reality, staying in a co-dependent relationship, whether it involves substance misuse or not, is a disservice to both people involved.

Not only does it allow the individual to continue engaging in substance misuse, but it means their partner is not able to be in a healthy and balanced relationship as they deserve. Whether or not a co-dependent relationship can be salvaged and repaired is totally dependent on the relationship itself. Both individuals must be willing to put in the work to make the changes that need to occur.

If one or both of the people in the relationship are determined to stay on the path that they are on, this might be a toxic relationship that needs to come to an end.

When it comes to issues of substance misuse within a co-dependent relationship, it is often one person who is struggling and the other who is enabling. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes both individuals can be struggling with substance misuse and enabling themselves in different ways. The only way positive change can occur is through willingness and positive action. If you’re struggling with substance use disorder, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. We have helped many individuals get their lives back from substance misuse, and we can help you too. Call us at (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about the types of services we provide. 

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