Codependency is often a learned behavior originating within an individual’s family system. Just as the experience of trauma can be generational, codependency is often generational as well, meaning it is passed down from one generation to the next. It is frequently present within the relationships of individuals and families who have experienced substance use disorder (SUD), trauma, abuse, mental illness, and even physical illness.
One-on-one psychotherapy or family therapy is a great place to begin healing from codependent relationships of any kind.
How Codependency Impacts Relationships
If an individual is experiencing patterns of codependency, their relationships with others (and vice versa) are often dysfunctional. This dysfunction can present itself in various ways, largely dependent upon what was learned and then passed on in the familial system. These can include:
- Not acknowledging problems or concerns in an effort to “keep the peace”
- Feeling as if you have to walk on eggshells around certain individuals
- Continued cycles of trauma, abuse, and chemical dependency
- Avoiding conflict and/or dealing with conflict in toxic ways
- Lack of trust in self or others
- Being the victim or perpetrator of gaslighting
- Poor communication
- Chronic anger
- Fear of being abandoned/alone
- Difficulty identifying and feeling emotions
- Cycles of shame and blame
Although codependency is a disempowering experience, which a person may feel stuck in, it is possible to heal codependent patterns both as an individual and as a family system. Patterns that have been passed down from generation to generation are difficult to break but can be challenged in order to cultivate healthy relationships that are rooted in trust and honesty.
Beginning psychotherapy is the most effective way to start this process. It is helpful to have the guidance and support of a nonjudgmental third party, such as a therapist, who can help you identify codependent patterns and learn the tools, skills, and resources to heal from them.
Codependency is often present in individuals and families that have experienced substance use, trauma, abuse, and mental illness. It is often intergenerational and passed down from family system to system. Learning how to heal these relationship patterns and restore health and balance to your relationship with yourself and others is vital in the recovery process. At Avalon Malibu, we recognize how intimidating the recovery process can feel but are here to support you as you unlearn patterns no longer serving you in your life. Call us today at (844) 857-5992.