Having an issue with codependency sucks. It’s hard to break that pattern when you are used to that dynamic. There are meetings for people with codependency issues. They are called Codependents Anonymous or CODA; think AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Any addiction has meetings to support the addicts. People, for the most part, have intentions to get well, whether or not they get there or not. It’s challenging to have addictions of any kind. Codependency is an addiction that people have trouble breaking because it’s also a lifestyle. People like to feel needed and validated and many times they are unable to provide that need to themselves and as a result to turn to others to fulfill the emptiness or void inside. I am guilty of this behavior and it’s hard to stop being this way. It’s something that I would like to stop doing but I haven’t had much luck getting to an emotional place where I can break the chains of codependency.
I’m afraid to go to CODA meetings because I know I’ll make friends there who are also codependent. Then I may set myself back because they are involved in the same behavioral patterns that I am participating in. It’s analogous to an alcoholic going to meetings and meeting other addicts. Then this person goes on to do other substances because they are reintroduced to the concept of self-medication. It’s unfortunate that this occurs, but it does. Maybe I’m wrong, perhaps I can attend CODA meetings and meet other people who have the same goal: to get well from codependency. It’s feasible that this could happen, but I’m not convinced. Codependency is deep-rooted in emotional traumas from childhood, and from my experience, those traumatic incidents take a long time to recover from: sometimes years.
It could be fun to meet people with similar problems and share stories. That’s the concept behind AA or Al-Anon. I’ve been to Al-Anon and had a great experience there. It was great to meet people who had interacted with relatives who had treated them poorly and had trouble recovering. I could relate to their journeys and I wanted to be supportive of them, but then I second guessed myself and wondered if this was my codependent side! It’s so difficult to determine what is healthy and what isn’t. When you suffer from addictive behaviors, you are hypervigilant about what behaviors could possibly be detrimental to your emotional and mental health.
Remember that codependency is a legitimate mental health issue and you deserve to be well. It’s going to likely be a long road to recovery, but that is the case with most addictions. You have to get used to putting yourself first. And if you’ve been a caregiver or self-sacrificial person your whole life, this is going to feel foreign to you. But it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You CAN do it when you put yourself above other people. I can relate to this struggle; I have a hard time placing my needs above the people I love, but I am learning! Maybe I will go to a CODA meeting and meet some buddies who can support me on my journey!