When you have a friend or family member that is an addict, it can be difficult to draw the line between being supportive and being codependent. There is a very fine line between codependence and supportive behavior. You want to help them, but what is too much help and what is too little? When you are dealing with an addict, it is important to known what is codependent behavior and what is supportive behavior.
What is Codependent?
Codependent behavior is when the support serves a deep need inside someone. They try to take care of the addict but their caretaking is self-defeating, according to the UC Davis Health System. There are several characteristics that will help you recognize what codependent behavior is. These characteristics are:
- Lying to cover for the addict.
- Inability to establish or keep boundaries.
- Need the addicts approval.
- May give the addict support in other ways such as financial or emotional support to the point of hurting themselves.
- They feel guilty when they try to stop the addict or assert themselves.
- The relationship between the codependent and the addict is harmful to both.
- They use the fact that the addict is dependent on them to control them because they need that control.
Many people who are codependent suffer from addiction issues themselves. They enable the drug use and dependence because it fulfills an unhealthy part of themselves.
What is Supportive?
Being supportive is a helpful relationship. It is difficult to tell when being supportive is being enabling or becoming codependent on someone. When you are supportive of someone you:
- Help them by talking to them.
- Helping them does not harm you or further their behavior.
- You empathize with someone but do not allow your empathy to assist them in using.
- You listen to them and encourage them to get the help that they need.
- You try to help them change for the better rather than continue to use.
- Their behavior does not harm you.
- You maintain yourself because you know you cannot help them if you are unstable or unhealthy yourself.
What is the Difference Between Codependent and Supportive Behavior?
It seems like similar behavior but there are major differences. Many people who are supportive wind up being codependent because they allow their support go too far. Most people who are healthy do not wind up being codependent, but part of being supportive is taking care of yourself rather than just taking care of the addict. People who are being supportive practice good self care while codependents do not. A supportive person tries to find help for the addict and a codependent tries to help the person use.
If you Feel your Support is Slipping into Codependency it is Important to get Help for Both of you.
You can find the help that you both need by calling us at 800-530-0431. We can help you both find the treatment you need to end the codependency and help the addict.