The Attachment of Codependency
The Attachment of Codependency
By: Donna M.
One of the most common mistakes that parents make when they have a child in active addiction/alcoholism is that they don’t take care of themselves. They are often so busy being hyper focused on what their child is doing, rescuing and enabling that they lose themselves in the bowels of their child’s substance use disorder and unknowingly their mind, body and soul is getting sick because self-care never even enters their mind.
Two of the most important things a parent can do is show that they respect themselves, set and follow through with healthy boundaries. As uncomfortable as it may feel, practice creates perfection.
I have been taught that codependency is unhealthy love; it is when a parent puts their adult child’s wants and needs before their own. It’s running yourself ragged to make your adult child happy by paying their rent, paying their bills to give yourself piece of mind.
Fear is the number one component to codependency. Fear is what keeps parents engaged in their child’s active addiction/alcoholism. Parents often convince themselves that if they don’t step in, their adult child will fail because they don’t know how to take care of themselves. When parents have an inaccurate belief system and that their adult child is not able to take care of themselves, they don’t allow their adult child the opportunity to learn how to take care of their own problems and sort out their own lives on their own.
When parents jump in to the rescue inevitably the following things can happen:
• The adult child will grow increasingly dependent upon the parent.
• The adult child will not believe in their own resiliency or ability to deal with challenges on their own
• The adult child’s problems/substance use disorder will probably escalate into never-ending problems that will get bigger and bigger over time.
• The parent(s) will become emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt.
• The parent(s) will become physically ill and emotionally resentful
Neglecting yourself displays negative role modeling because it set’s a parent up to be disrupted, verbally and emotionally abused. My sponsor taught me years ago that we teach our children how to treat us. If you have allowed bad behavior and our children to disrespect us, you will need patience because it will take time for your child to learn his/her new way of talking to you and respecting you and your boundaries.
There is a saying that states a parent is as happy as their happiest child and what I have learned that it wasn’t my son’s job to make me happy by how he lives his life, I learned that only I could make myself happy and that took doing a lot of self-care, self-help and working my own recovery program for codependency and enabling.
You should not allow yourself to get to the point that you feel like your drowning while you work harder at your child’s recovery than your son or daughter does.
Once we take back our power and start taking care of ourselves, we can get past any codependent dynamics that are still present in our relationship