Codependency and The Need to be Needed

Sometimes it’s nice to feel needed – knowing that your partner, family or friends can rely on you can be rewarding and strengthen the bonds of your relationships. But needing to be needed is highly toxic to your mental health and your relationships. This need, known as codependency, is defined as “an excessive and pervasive need to be taken care of; submissive, clinging, needy behavior due to fear of abandonment.”

If you feel scared that your partner will leave you if you can’t solve their problems, have a hard time setting boundaries and asserting your own wants and needs or get upset when you feel like people don’t recognize what you do for them, you may be codependent. Let’s take a look at what that means, and how it can translate into addiction and other mental health disorders.   

What Does Codependency Look Like?

Codependency is essentially an unequal exchange of energy between people. This often manifests itself as martyrdom in parents or partners of addicts, but it can take a variety of forms. Codependent people find it nearly impossible to say no and give way more to the relationship than the other person, because they feel that the survival of the relationship is entirely up to them. Codependent people tend to obsess and worry about external circumstances. This comes from a desire to control outcomes, because deep down inside they are afraid.

Symptoms of codependency include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor boundaries
  • Dysfunctional communication
  • Issues with emotional intimacy

Codependency is based in a fear that the world is unsafe. This belief can take hold as a result of adverse childhood experiences. It’s also rooted in toxic societal beliefs, such as the value placed on martyrdom, and the discouragement of living your truth, in our society.

How Codependency Affects Your Life

It’s easy to see how codependency can cause disorders like depression and anxiety – in fact, it plays a large role in many addiction and mental health disorders. This can show up in your life in a variety of ways: as physical ailments, crises, lack of meaning or toxic energy patterns. Being in a constant emotional state of feeling unappreciated, disconnected and resentful can drive codependents to any number of compulsive behaviors (like drinking, drug use, eating or obsessive-compulsiveness) to distract themselves from their extreme discomfort. Those behaviors, especially when taken up in order to fill an emotional need, can quickly escalate into dependence and addiction.

Healing Codependency With Integrative Treatment

To truly heal codependency, we need to relearn how to connect with ourselves, listen to our soul’s song and follow our hearts. By journeying inward, we can start to remember who we truly are – and learn how to live a life that’s in line with our purpose.

While most conventional treatment programs focus on mental and physical approaches, The Sanctuary’s integrative, holistic treatment program addresses your body, mind, soul and spirit for a complete healing experience, so you can finally have the relationships you want and deserve.

To learn more about personal empowerment through integrative treatment, see our article The Empowerment Process of Holistic Addiction Recovery.

For more information on how we can help you overcome dependency, call us today at (877) 710-3385.