Some of us experience it and try to work our way out of it, hopefully to never experience it again.
Some of us believe we have no idea what this is because our lives are perfect (I worry for you).
Some of us have seen it and we try our best not to let ourselves be caught up in another person’s messiness.
Some of us have been a part of all of the above, like myself, and each day our compassion and desire to help draws us to dysfunctional people, or maybe it’s the other way around, because we really want to help people do better, just like someone has helped us at some point in our lives.
Co-Dependent is a word that has been used in psychology for decades. Recently, the term has been seen as a negative in terms of parents who “aid” their children’s drug dependencies. By aid, I mean they offer money, rent, cars, loans, etc. to adult children who do not work, who are not being responsible, who are drug addicted. If you know a drug-addicted person is going to use the funding you give them to get high, then you are helping them get high. There is no pretty way to say it.
I have compassion for those who are addicted, and I have compassion for the parents, children and spouses of those addicted. I used to be in two of those categories. Let’s be clear. My compassion leans toward the ones who are affected by the addict’s use.
Addiction is a selfish disease. I have experienced first-hand the financial ruin and the emotional devastation left when the addict decides his/her needs are primary and the needs of the most vulnerable (i.e. children) are secondary, tertiary, etc.
It is painful. It does not go away. Yet, when the addict makes a step to recovery, it is expected that those who were in the path of destruction via marriage, childbirth, parenthood, are expected to forget YEARS of damage and say, “Hurray, you are getting help.”
Instead of pleasing dysfunction, I made up an acronym which will help the co-dependent aid and support and still keep him/herself whole in the process.
Instead of begging the addict to get help, you can offer other PLEAS for the addict: Prayers, Love, Encouragement And Support.