Codependency describes an unhealthy relationship where one person depends on another and that other person in turn feels the need to be depended upon. A codependent relationship goes beyond clinginess or the amount of a time a couple spends together. One person in a codependent relationship receives their entire self-worth and value by making sacrifices for and serving the other person. Unfortunately, this type of relationship is common when one person is struggling with addiction. Sober partners may rearrange their lives entirely to take care of or accommodate for the addicted behaviors and struggles of their significant others. Unlearning codependent behavior becomes critical for the sake of both people in the relationship.
Symptoms of a Codependent Relationship
Codependency is not the same as dependency. Mutual respect, care, and love define dependent relationships. Both partners in a dependent relationship find value in it yet are able to pursue joy and happiness beyond the confines of the relationship. On the other hand, codependency is characterized by codependent individuals feeling worthless unless they are doing their partner’s bidding. Their happiness depends on sacrificing as much as possible for their partner.
Some of the common symptoms displayed by codependent people include:
- Doing anything to please their manipulator, no matter what it may cost them physically, mentally, or financially
- Achieving little joy or satisfaction in anything beyond serving the manipulator
- Feeling guilt about expressing a personal need
- Remaining in the relationship even after experiencing abuse at the hands of their manipulator
Leaving a codependent relationship is rarely easy. Frequently, addressing a codependent relationship is best accomplished when codependents are surrounded by outside sources of support and has a safe place to go beyond the reach of their manipulators. Therefore, one common method families or social networks use to attempt to disrupt a codependent relationship is the staging of an intervention.
Staging an Intervention
Staging an intervention can be an effective wake-up call for the enabler in a codependent relationship. It could start with something as simple as a one-on-one conversation. If that proves ineffective, staging an intervention with an entire group of concerned family and friends can break the cycle of codependency. The goal of staging an intervention is to help enablers realize the negative nature of the relationship and to get them to a place of wanting to change the relationship or even leave it.
A few helpful things to keep in mind when staging an intervention:
- Consider involving an intervention specialist
- Carefully plan who will play a role in the intervention group
- Script out what you plan to say and rehearse ahead of time
- Choose a specific time and place to conduct the intervention
The intervention ideally concludes with setting goals and expectations for how everyone will support enablers in changing their codependent relationship. Some examples could be changing their living situation or connecting them and their partner to family or couples counseling.
Altering a Codependent Relationship
Changing the landscape of a codependent relationship can take time. Yet working toward a healthier, more balanced partnership is vital to the physical and mental health of everyone involved. Small steps toward progress are key. This can be as simple as decreasing the amount of time enablers spend with their manipulator. Therefore, planning social activities with friends or helping them take up a new hobby are good suggestions.
One of the larger, long-term goals is to help enablers understand they aren’t helping themselves or their manipulator by sacrificing to such an extreme extent. Individual or couples counseling is often an effective method of working through past pain and toward a more productive partnership.
Overcome codependency today. Contact Georgia Addiction Treatment Center at 833.641.0661 to learn more about successfully staging an intervention for a codependent relationship.