Many people do not understand what Co dependency is, and many professionals struggle to describe it so that it is well understood. It is an insidious disease that underpins all addictions. It is born out of abuse or neglect in childhood. The net result is a person who suffers from self- hatred, self -esteem issues and an inability to relate healthily to other people.

One of the issues that co dependents struggle with is the need to rescue or look after others. This is known as care taking, and it often evolves as a coping mechanism in early childhood when the child assumes responsibility in the family for making everyone happy. Evidently, it is not the child's job to keep the peace, or make sure everyone is happy. Sadly, however, if the parents are constantly fighting, or unable to look after themselves, then roles become reversed, and the child feels responsible for other peoples' well-being.

Another cause of the child adapting its behaviour is when there has been emotional or physical neglect. This child will grow up to rescue other people, or pets, not really understanding that they needed rescuing themselves as children. Rescuers will always find a project to rescue, and hate it when the project gets better. They will then move on straight away to find another project because they absolutely need to be needed.

A care-taker is seen in our society as being a worthwhile person, and in fact the church urges us to look after our fellow man at all times. The thing is that care-takers are not very good at taking care of themselves. They often become burned out because they are giving more than they have got to give.

They are also often unable to see when they are being taken advantage of. They have an inner driver that says that they are safe/worthwhile/loveable as long as they are care-taking others.

Recovery from rescuing and care-taking is filled with challenges. Firstly, the sufferer needs to face why they act in the way that they do. They need to also discover that they have worth when they do not help people, and they need to learn a very firm no. Often no is not something they know how to say.

However, a good rule of thumb is to say that you should never do something for somebody else that they can do for themselves. If you do it for them, you are depriving them of a chance to grow.

You should also never do something unless you are doing it for fun and for free. What this means is that co dependents have a good habit of saying that they will do something, and then resenting (internally) that they have to do it. Learning to say no is a good way to stop this, as is learning to do things for no other reason than you want to and are able to. If you are doing something to please someone, or so that they will like you, you are not doing it for fun and for free.

Always check your motivations for helping others. Learn that if you are running on empty that you are no good to anyone and need to take care of yourself.

Recovery from co dependent behaviours begins with acknowledging that you possibly did not receive what you needed when you were growing up, and you are the one now responsible for learning to look after yourself properly. Recovery from your disease will improve your life enormously. You are worth it.

Written by Caroline Nettle

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Author's Bio: 

Caroline Nettle is passionate about healing, recovery, and assisting others to grow. Her website Spiritual Growth Tools is the culmination of many years of seeking answers about her own health and well-being, and studying the human condition. She writes articles, is a healer and gives talks about subjects relating to spiritual growth and personal development.
Spiritual Growth Tools is an online resources dedicated to spiritual growth and personal development. It aims to provide resources and information to assist others on their journey to inner peace, vitality, and a happier, healthier lifestyle!
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