Posts Tagged ‘codepednency’

by applyingmybeliefs

Relapse for an addict is relatively easy to understand.  It is a reversion to the old coping mechanisms such as drinking, drugging, or otherwise acting out.  This reversion is usually preceded by some form of negative mental state, painful emotions, or difficulty in a life situation.

Relapse for a codependent is the same.  They experience a hard time in life, a negative thought life or emotional pain, and they start to act out.  However their acting out looks somewhat different to an alcoholic or drug addict, because they revert back to behaviors that are sometimes difficult to spot.  They re-indulge in controlling others and neglecting their own needs for example.

For a codependent that lives with an addict, the relapse of their addict is highly likely to trigger a relapse.  Both partners are then caught in a spiral downward.  This is one reason that it is smart for addicts and codependents to both be part of a larger recovery group or program.

We have already said that it is hard for a person, let alone the codependent, to see when they are slipping back into their old ways.  How can a codependent identify when this might be happening?  Here is a list of “I” statements that are helpful in becoming aware of a slide that is in place; or one that is coming.

  • I’ve started saying bad things again about my partner behind their back.
  • I’ve stopped giving my partner the benefit of the doubt.
  • I’ve lost interest in doing the things I know make my partner happy.
  • I’ve stopped hugging my partner goodbye in the morning.
  • I’ve stopped using my recovery tools.
  • I’ve stopped feeling grateful for my partner.
  • I’ve gone back to indifference in my attitude to my partner.
  • I’ve become rude toward my partner.
  • I’ve reverted back to trying to control everything my partner does.
  • I’ve stopped taking care of myself.
  • I’ve started to break promises I made to my partner.

If a codependent finds themselves in agreement with say 3 or more of these statements an orange warning light ought to go off in their head, 7 or more ought to result in a trip back to the therapist.

This kind of list, if honestly worked through on a frequent basis, can help a codependent identify when something is going wrong.  The list is a tool, it is a “symptom identifier”, a way of discovering that something is happening inside that is not easily seen.  It uses affirmative answers to ask the question, “Am I being triggered toward a relapse by something?”

As a topic today, let’s talk about our own emotional relapses as codependents and answer the question, “What else can a codependent do to protect themselves from going back to their self-centered and relationship destructive ways?”


Relationships can break your connection to your family. Relationships can be the ultimate symbol of growing up. They represent starting our own lives as independent, autonomous individuals. This development can also represent a parting from our family. Much like breaking from an old identity, this separation isn’t physical. It doesn’t mean literally giving up our family, but rather letting go on an emotional level – no longer feeling like a kid and differentiating from the more negative dynamics that plagued our early relationships and shaped our identity. Love stirs up existential fears. The more we have, the more we have to lose. The more someone means to us, the more afraid we are of losing that person. When we fall in love, we not only face the fear of losing our partner, but we become more aware of our mortality. Our life now holds more value and meaning, so the thought of losing it becomes more frightening. In an attempt to cover over this fear, we may focus on more superficial concerns, pick fights with our partner or, in extreme cases, completely give up the relationship. We are rarely fully aware of how we defend against these existential fears. We may even try to rationalize to ourselves a million reasons we shouldn’t be in the relationship. However, the reasons we give may have workable solutions, and what’s really driving us are those deeper fears of loss. Most relationships bring up an onslaught of challenges. Getting to know our fears of intimacy and how they inform our behavior is an important step to having a fulfilling, long-term relationship. These fears can be masked by various justifications for why things aren’t working out—but we may be surprised to learn about all of the ways that we self-sabotage when we get close to someone else. By getting to know ourselves, we give ourselves the best chance of finding and maintaining lasting love.
Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at

In the arithmetic of love,
one plus one equals everything,
and two minus one equals nothing.
Mignon McLaughlin

I love Star Wars.  I grew up a Sci-Fi Geek with various Star Wars movies, swirling in my mind.  I often wonder, of all the Sci-Fi movies I have viewed in my life, how many of these movies had a recovery-related theme.  It wasn’t until entering recovery that the Holy Spirit gave me some special “recovery glasses” that have allowed me to spot recovery themes in various media; music, movies, photographs, etc…  These themes can include support groups, honesty, selfishness, selflessness, redemption, etc… that are portrayed in the movie. 

The Star Wars Saga was probably one of the best film series ever created and had an amazing recovery theme.  Below is a short summary of the overall movie from Wikipedia:

Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise centered on a film series created by George Lucas. It depicts the adventures of various characters “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, mostly involving, but not limited to, the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker.

About ten years ago I read an interview with George Lucas on why he went back to create the three prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, & Revenge of the Sith) to the original Star Wars Trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, & Return of the Jedi).  His answer was simple and intrigued me.  He wanted to finish the “back story” to the original Star Wars trilogy about the old Republic, the rise of the Empire, but most importantly, the entire story of Anakin Skywalker; his fall, tribulation, and redemption.  You see, Anakin Skywalker was not always Darth Vader.  He experienced a lot of childhood trauma that led to him making poor decisions in order to medicate the anxiety and stress from the trauma and ultimately fell into the Dark Side of the Force acting out of the childhood trauma he experienced.  Sound familiar?  Like most men who struggle with sexual purity, his traumatic childhood led to a very unhealthy adulthood.  However, all who have fallen into this trap can be redeemed if the decide they want it bad enough.  For Darth Vader, he believed it was too late for him, but his son Luke Skywalker had hope; hope that there was still some good in Darth Vader, enough to help him break free from his unhealthy lifestyle.  These three videos document the fall of Anakin Skywalker, his tribulation living in the unhealthy lifestyle as well as Luke’s struggle to rescue his father, and ultimately the redemption of Anakin Skywalker with help from his son Luke.

I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I enjoyed creating it.  As always, take what you like and leave the rest.


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Behaviors of His Parents
Often times the dysfunctional man is repeating some of the behaviors of his parents. The behaviors of the codependent started off as defense mechanisms in order to protect him in the environment he was raised in. Unfortunately, when a person escapes from the destructive environment, he is left with a lot of unresolved issues. These issues tend to carry over into his later relationships if he does not resolve them. The symptoms of codependency in men are of a wide variety. They range from having the appearance of being a servant to having the appearance of selfishness and abusiveness. Often times, codependent men have poor communication skills. They are also insecure. They usually have low self-worth. Other codependency symptoms are a little less common among cases. One of the more common symptoms of codependency is controlling behaviors. Codependent people often try to control everything in their lives.

“When you are out of control, someone is ready to take over.” –  Toba Beta