Most of us have felt embarrassment when a relationship didn’t work out the way we intended or if we got involved with someone that wasn’t “good” for us. When we suffer from addictions and other co-occurring disorders, we take it a step further and create a co-dependency with others. By definition, co-dependency is an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner. This dependence in another person can create a feeling of shame that leads us to take control of our relationships. This attempt to control others can distance us from others and ourselves.Here is an example of the thought process from a person with Co-Dependency:
What was just described is a recipe for relational disaster! To experience relief from this vicious cycle, we will need to embark on a journey of a healthy relationship with oneself.Initially, this may sound very selfish and contrary to recovery from self-centeredness, which is at the core of all addictions.This process paradoxically leads to a lack of need for control, affection, attention and affirmation from others.As we heal and learn to nurture ourselves, we can start to open up our hearts up to others in a unique way, to love without demanding anything in return.As we have increased our capacity for intimacy, we can support others without expecting anything in return. What a gift! Obviously, this takes time, patience and lots of practice but worth every ounce of effort.