Why Codependency Is One Of The Toughest Addictions

September 10, 2019  |  
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If you think about codependency as a form of addiction, it could actually help you overcome it. Of course, you’ll still need therapy—whether that’s group therapy or one-on-one sessions—because, like with many addictions, there is a root source of the problem that you need to discover before you can potentially get better. A therapist will give you the tools to figure out what that is. A lot of people reject the idea that something causes codependency issues, and I just don’t know how they can say that. Where there is an effect, there is a cause. And as far as addictions go, codependency is one that more often than not has some connection to our childhood. Our upbringing affects our relationship behavior, whether we like to admit it or not. So if you do struggle with codependency issues, consider these ways it is very much an addiction, and actually one of the toughest ones to overcome.


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You choose it over your wellbeing

Here is big proof that codependency is an addiction: if you’re codependent, you will choose the company of others—perhaps a bad relationship—over taking good care of yourself. You’ll be with people who disrespect you, are mean to you, and perhaps even put you in harm’s way, all so you don’t have to be alone.

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You panic about not having it

Another addiction symptom: the idea of not having this thing (companionship) makes you panic. You must always know where your next fix is coming from. If your relationship is on the rocks, you’re already talking to other men, lining up the next one, so you’ll never have to be alone.

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You screw others over for it

You will disrespect and wrong the people you care about in order to have your addiction. If you are in a codependent romantic relationship, you’ll cancel on friends at the last minute to be with your partner—or just to fight with your partner. The most important thing to you is that you don’t lose that relationship, and if that means screwing over other people, you’ll do it.

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It blurs your judgment

Your judgment and perception become blurry. Your idea of what is good or healthy is completely off. Here’s an example: you’ve started giving your partner points simply for not cheating on you or not yelling at you one day. He gets praise for simply not being terrible. That has become your idea of a “good thing.”

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Your addiction calls you

Now let’s discuss why codependency is one of the hardest addictions to kick. For starters, it will get in touch with you. When you try to take time to be alone, people will call you. The man you broke up with will try to get in touch with you. When you try to quit smoking, cigarettes don’t call you and beg you to take them back.

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Your addiction is an addict

Codependent people often find each other, so that means that the person you’re addicted to is also an addict. And that means that he won’t just try to reach out once or twice if you leave him—he will persistently pursue you, possibly stalk you, and do anything he can to get you back.

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It affects your finances

Here’s another way codependency is a type of addiction: just like a drug or alcohol addiction, it affects your finances. The ways in which it does this are endless and vast, but some examples are, you pay for the life of a total mooch, just so you can have his companionship, or you move across the country and leave your job for a man you barely know.

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It affects your health

And here is yet another way codependency is an addiction: it affects your health. Like with finances, there are many ways it can do this. Some examples include that you begin to eat and drink in an unhealthy manner, because that’s how your partner does, because you just want to feel accepted, or you take up drinking and smoking, because your partner does those things. Perhaps you even contract an STD because the idea of using a condom angers your partner and you don’t want to anger him.

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You lie about it

Just like with any other type of addiction, your codependency causes you to lie. Think about it: when your friends ask you how your relationship is going, you say, “Great!” even though you and your boyfriend threw plates at each other’s heads last night and he slept in his car. Or, sometimes you tell your friends you’ve left your toxic boyfriend, and then you secretly still see him.

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You can’t just not see people

One of the biggest reasons codependency is possibly the most complicated addiction in the world is that you can’t just not have people in your life. You can quit alcohol and cigarettes entirely—you don’t need those to survive—but you’ll always need human relationships.

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You get better for a while

Much like an addiction, you’ll have periods of time when you get better. You’ll spend a couple of months single, and taking care of yourself. You won’t go on a date. You’ll tell people I am not dating because I am trying to handle my codependency issues. Much like alcoholics will say I can’t be around alcohol because I’m in recovery.

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But you can fall off the wagon

And, just like with alcohol addiction, you can fall off the wagon. You meet someone you can’t resist. You dive back in. You spend every night together, move way too fast, become obsessed, and fall back into your unhealthy patterns.

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It isn’t all bad, all of the time

Here’s another complex part of codependency: the thing (or in this case person) to whom you’re addicted isn’t inherently bad. We know cigarettes are just bad. But you may develop codependent behaviors towards a partner who is actually a good, kind, and loving person. He may not be the problem, but rather your behaviors in the relationship are.

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Others can’t really see it

At least when you have an alcohol or cigarette issue, there are easy visual cues that your friends and family can pick up on. They see you drinking too much or chain smoking. They find the empty bottles in your recycling. But, with codependency, it’s actually rather hard for outsiders to spot it aka it’s rare a loved one says something.

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There is a lot of access

There is just so much access to the problematic element. Today, you can download an app that puts you in touch with other people—perhaps other addicts—within minutes. You can press a button on your phone and meet your next potential partner aka problem around the corner.

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