Untreated enablers involved in this type of relationship are called codependents. See if you identify with any of the following common characteristics:
My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you.
Your struggle affects my serenity.
My mental attention is focused on solving your problems
My mental attention is focused on you
My mental attention is focused on protecting you
My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to do it my way
My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems
Relieving your pain bolsters my self-esteem
My own interests are put to one side and replaced with yours
Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me.
Your behaviour is dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me
I am not aware of how I feel I am aware of how you feel
I am not aware of what I want I ask what you want I am not aware I assume
The dreams I have for my future are linked to you
My fear of rejection determines what I say or do
My fear of your anger determines what I say or do
I use giving as a way of feeling safe in my relationship with you
My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you
I put my values aside in order to connect with you
I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own
The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours
If you answered yes to three or more you may be codependent
We need to look at ourselves and determine the difference between helpings vs enabling by asking ourselves these questions
How do I feel when I offer help?
What’s in it for me?
What are my motives?
Am I thinking of them or me?
What have my actions changed?
Do you need to change and are you willing?
Codependency recovery for enablers is changing the focus to us. The object of our enabling is less likely to succeed if we relapse into our old behaviours. Working on us may seem selfish and difficult to do but remember it is an act of love. It is excellent modeling behaviour for the addicts in our lives.
To stop the codependent enabling relationship we begin with an admission that I am powerless over others (the addict in my life) and that my life has become unmanageable.
We need to enter into our own program, develop our own recovery plan and be open to a new way of being in relationship with others and ourselves.
We will then:
Learn that change is possible in our relationships. Learn what a healthy relationships looks like! Learn what part we can play in creating change. Learn this process that requires time