Thursday, October 25, 2018

Codependency Harms

History of Codependency

The term codependency (or co-addict) was a word made up by a bunch of addicts from Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935, and was then used by Al-Anon (Sister of AA) when it was formed in 1951. The word later became widely popular by therapists and also authors like Melody Beattie in the 1980's. Addicts basically believed their loved ones were acting just as crazy as an addict by displaying similar behaviors (what they considered to be obsession, controlling, neediness, paranoia, ritualizing etc.) and so they assumed their loved ones must be "addicted" to the addict, therefore needing the exact same 12 steps as the addict (same wording and everything). This is why Al-Anon and S-anon and COSA etc. were created, to help treat all the obsessed dysfunctional family members of addicts --- also so they'd no longer hinder the addicts recovery. These 12 step manuals subtly teach family members the belief that they have just as many issues and are as diseased as the addict 😢

However, over the years more therapists have come to realize that family members of addicts WEREN'T actually exhibiting addict or diseased behaviors, but were instead experiencing trauma/PTSD, just like a rape victim or war veteran. Family members didn't have a disease, they were simply INJURED --- the cause is external and not a direct result of one's internal issues. (Click HERE to see if your trauma meets the PTSD diagnosis). 

The codependency label is not only an incorrect label to automatically apply to wives of sex addicts or abuse victims, but has the possibility of being very dangerous because it places undue blame on wives for their completely natural reactions to being injured by their husband's choices. Most behaviors thought of as codependency (hypervigilance/ obsession, worrying about what a spouse thinks, lack of boundaries, being controlled by an addict, "loving" the addict more than they love you, etc.) are instead natural NORMAL symptoms of a trauma injury, much like screaming out in pain or being full of fear after being run over by a semi truck, and they are NOT because wives are doing something "wrong". We wouldn't tell someone who was just run over by a semi truck that their natural reaction to pain means there's something mentally wrong with them, would we? 💗 

Top 4 Myths of The Codependency Model 

Myth #1 Wives Allow Their Husband's To Mistreat Them (Ie. Wives are partly to blame for doing nothing to stop it)

Codependency blames victims of trauma

Did any of us really ALLOW our husbands to do this to us? I often see innocent victims use language like "allow" or "permission" and it got me thinking. 

Honestly, I had to look up the definition of Allow just in case 😊

      "Give (someone) permission to do something."

      "Consent ; Authorization" 

      "Compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another specifically: the voluntary agreement or acquiescence by a person of age or with requisite mental capacity who is not under duress or coercion and usually who has knowledge or understanding" 

I find it interesting that under consent it states "who is not under duress or coercion". So I want to ask again, did any of us really allow or give consent, without coercion, for our husbands to treat us this way? Did we have FULL knowledge and understanding of what our husbands were doing? 

Myth #2 A Wife's Lack Of Boundaries Is Proof She Has Internal Issues

Raise your hand if you grew up mentally prepared to marry someone who would lie, betray and gaslight you? How can a person implement boundaries if they have no idea they married someone who was lying and gaslighting them? Or they've never been taught how? Or were manipulated and gaslit into believing they were crazy and didn't have the power to? So many addicts/abusers tend to SUBTLY convince their wives that they are the ones who did something wrong or it's their fault. It's the frog in the pot analogy (the one about how to boil a frog, ie. You have to put it in cold water first so it doesn't jump out, and slowly turn up the heat so it doesn't notice etc. etc.). 

Being abused and gaslighted is like being a frog in boiling water
Many women have no idea they are slowly being boiled alive. They might feel something is wrong, but again, after being gaslit women tend to wonder if they are the ones that are crazy and they just need to "do better". But once they DO find out the truth they're being boiled alive, they are so exhausted (oh my goodness DEBILITATINGLY EXHAUSTED) and still so confused that the man they trusted the most could do such things, that many times they have a hard time "jumping out". ESPECIALLY if they have never learned "how to jump out". 

It's like your husband ran you over with that dang semi truck and you're broken all over, and then someone tells you that you now have to climb Mt Everest, even though you feel like you're dying and can't walk anymore and you've never even been on a stinkin mountain in the first place let alone climbed one. 😜 

Learning boundaries and how to stand up for ourselves is a process, and just because it takes us a while to stand up and climb the mountain because, again, WE'VE NEVER CLIMBED AND OUR LEGS ARE BROKEN 😜, can we really say a wife consented to the continuing abuse just because she's exhausted from getting run over and can't walk yet? Or is in the process of learning how to walk/climb? Because I'm pretty darn sure 99.9% of wives would have walked away in disgust had their husbands treated them so badly or had known about all their husband's lies the first day they met them, which shows that if a wife has a hard time setting boundaries it's more a direct result of the craftiness and subtleness of ABUSE, not because shes consenting to it. Consent requires knowledge and understanding, without being under coercion or duress 💗

Dr. Omar Minwalla explains it wonderfully here :
"The induction of fear into the psychological and relational system is one of the specific traumatic symptom processes of discovery trauma.  A discovery does not in any way mean a full awareness of reality or the truth for the partner or spouse.  It means a degree of awareness that there is reality incongruence and the open possibilities of a deceptive, compartmentalized, sexual or relational system, with no ability to confirm the extent or nature.  This can often induce severe panic, terror, and intense fear, horror, or helplessness.  It opens up an entire world of actual possibility, with no reliable source of reality, as it has been systematically denied and withheld from the intimate partner, with intention."
"The impact of chronic patterns of psychological manipulation, over time, is the slow erosion or weakening of one’s relationship between the victim’s psyche and their intuition.  Sometimes there can be a progressive reliance and eventual dependency on the perpetrator’s reality as the victim’s adapted “survival instinct” (Minwalla, 2012; Herman, 1997).  Thus, if the ability to utilize one’s own intuition is so compromised and abused, and/or if the victim has been manipulated into deep dependency and reliance on the perpetrator’s definition and mandate of reality, then the victim may be not be able to generate emancipation impulses, based on instinctual self-generation.  The idea of “just leaving” is not reality-based for certain partners and spouses who have been victimized and abused via gaslightling, which constitutes a specific type and form of psychological abuse and torture, and a significant SAIP, often highly relevant to sex addiction disorders and a partner’s traumatic clinical configuration."

Myth #3 "Most couples match each other's codependency in a relationship, that's why they get together, they are equally as unhealthy" - Brannon Patrick, podcast by The Addicted, The Betrayed, The Expert. 
Buddy elf screaming no. Blaming victims of abuse is wrong

This is such a dangerous belief to automatically apply to most couples and points to a clear lack of understanding of PTSD. Most wives are NOT equally as unhealthy as their addict husbands. To imply that a wife must've been as unhealthy as an addict who gaslights, abuses, exploits, and continuously lies simply because she married him only puts undue blame on a wife and risks further traumatization. Again, most wives wouldn't have married their husband's had they known they'd be treated so poorly, and most wives definitely did not subconsciously want someone who would mistreat them. When you combine 70-80% of men now days looking at pornography, along with an addicts ability to deceive and gaslight, the odds are simply against all women. ALL women. 

Read this, I explain more on this concept here: Is There Something Wrong With Me That Attracts Sex Addicts?

Myth #4 The Codependency Model Isn't The Same As It Used To Be. It's Better Now.
Codependency doesnt fit just like a square peg in a round hole doesnt fit.

Nowadays many people/therapists have sugar-coated the term codependency (or made up their own definitions) to make it seem like it's just a mild negative behavior that describes just about anybody, but sadly regardless of how definitions change, the pathological treatment and foundation for codependency has largely remained the same. Ie. Codependency is a disease. Your own personal issues/addiction/disease to the addict/person is causing your symptoms, and you need to stop allowing it to happen to you, etc. I'm not saying the codependency model has never helped anyone in any way. It definitely has, and for many years it was the only available help to many women. I've just personally noticed that when it comes to wives of sex addicts or abuse victims the codependency model makes them feel greatly empowered at first but then they have slower healing later on because it keeps them stuck in shame due to the incorrect blame placed on them. It also can shame women out of "snooping" or putting up strong boundaries surrounding filters/monitors on internet devices and teaches a "mind your own business/Dont focus on him" attitude, further putting a wife and children in danger. 

Codependency is simply outdated and shouldn't be be applied to wives of sex addicts and abuse victims. They are in trauma, and trauma victims and addict abusers require different treatments. No point in trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, ain't nobody got time fo' that 💗
Codependency is like a square peg in a round hole. It blames victims.


What's Wrong With Codependency 

The Truth About 12 Steps

How To Tell If Your Therapist Is Covertly Using The Codependency Model

Are Pornography & Infidelity Abusive to Your Spouse? (while this podcast is still excellent, I know longer recommend Dr Omar Minwalla) 

A Needed Change

I Am Not A Co-Addict (Codependent) and Neither Are You

Blaming the Victim: Domestic Violence and the Codependency Model (PDF)