When we hear the term codependency we often think of a weak person who doesn't have the strength to live their life alone and function in a happy or content mode. We think of a person who is not independent. Little do we realize that a vast number of people find themselves caring for a person who is involved with some sort of self destructive behavior. Some examples are addiction, cutting, anorexia, binge eating or self sabotage.
Unfortunately most of us find ourselves at one time or another caring deeply for a person with a self destructive pattern. If we are not careful we can enter the dark world of obsession and codependency as our love and care are misplaced into a mode of attempting to solve the other persons problems for them. By "enabling" we rob them of the lesson of consequence and often the only chance they have to grow and overcome the destructive stronghold in their own lives.
Here are some suggestions when dealing with a self destructive person that you truly love and care for deeply.
1. Detach, we must learn to enjoy life and not take on or be overwhelmed, over powered or become obsessed with the destructive life controlling patterns of our loved ones. This sound easier than it is to out into practice. If don't learn to detach from the problems of others then we too become controlled by the self destructive behavior. We can care and love deeply but we can not allow ourselves to become addicted to the pain that our loved ones self destructive behavior causes.
2. Love yourself, you are stronger than you know. Life is precious and painfully short. commit to helping others in some way, whether it is getting involved in a support group or volunteering. At times we internalize the self destructive behavior as something we have done or contributed to.
In reality nobody is forcing your loved one to continue whatever behavior they are exhibiting. More than likely it is a vehicle to temporarily mask a deeper pain within themselves. Until they hit a point whether its rock bottom or some other point, change will not come until the loved one is truly tired or sick and tired of the destruction they have caused themselves. Until your loved one gets to this point (or doesn't) its crucial that you don't lose your own life and self esteem to their self destructive behaviors.
3. Take control of your own life. Yes you can do this! Make decisions that are good for your own well being. Become your own best friend. Do whatever it takes to protect your focus and center. When you find peace in your day protect it. This doesn't mean you have to quit loving or caring for this person. It means your going to do whatever it takes to find joy and happiness in your own life first. It means that serenity is valued and your willing to be strong enough to want and stay in happiness and peace. It is only when you operate from your center and focus that you can truly offer support and help to your self destructive loved one.
Remember the most powerful thing we have is our ability to make decisions, we can chose to be beat down and trampled on emotionally or physically or we can chose to rise above for our own sanity. Nothing can stop us when we focus all of our strength on the changes we want to make in our own personal lives.