When an individual becomes addicted to drugs, alcohol, or another unwise behavior, the remaining family members are faced with a decision – what do we do? Often times a codependent relationship ensues. Why? Because kindness and codependency are often confused.
The reason it is so easy to confuse kindness and co-dependency is that they are essentially the same behavior within different contexts. To be kind means to give unconditionally, to share, to show that you care for another person. When the giving, sharing and caring is reciprocated by a healthy individual, the condition is kindness. However, when the kindness is not reciprocated, when you find yourself giving and giving and giving, it may be co-dependency.
How can you stop this behavior? If you love someone who is in trouble, why can’t you help them? The key word here is help. If you are doing all of the work toward solving a problem, what is the other person learning? If you stop helping in a co-dependent way, you may offer your loved one the chance to show you they can solve the problem themselves. A key lies in respect – if you respect your loved one, then trust that they can take responsibility for their faults and clean them up. In other words, show the chemically dependent person that you respect them enough to let them show you what they are made of. If they have the right stuff, they will clean up their own act. In fact, the very act of turning the problem back to the person who created it, frees both of you to take responsibility for your own actions.
So how do you tell the difference between co-dependence and kindness? Well, one feels bad and the other feels good. One covers up the real problem, while the other brings the problem to the surface. One destroys self-esteem, while the other encourages self-esteem. Since you have a choice, the choice seems pretty simple. Choose positive self-esteem, honesty in solving problems, and taking and giving appropriate responsibility for one’s actions. However, if you sense that you can’t break the cycle of codependence on your own get help from a trusted mental health advisor.
For more information – visit Marriage Counseling – Breaking the Cycle of Codependence