Codependency is a term coined back in the 70’s by addiction recovery professionals. Experts that were treating those struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction began to find common unhealthy characteristics in the spouses or partners. It wasn’t just the person wrestling with addiction that was struggling, but oftentimes the whole family.
Codependency is defined as an unhealthy attachment to another person.
Common characteristics associated with codependency are caretaking, people pleasing in order to feel appreciated, enabling, insecurity, fear of abandonment, manipulation, unable to accept reality, and more.
Having a victim mentality is another characteristic of codependency.
This is common for those who are in a relationship with someone struggling from alcoholism or drug addiction. In their subconscious mind, they feel like a victim. They feel like the world doesn’t support them and feel like they always get the short end of the stick.
If you have a victim mentality, it means that you walk around much of the time feeling and acting like a victim. You tend to point fingers and blame others for your level of unhappiness. You may even have a “poor me” attitude.
Other characteristics of those who have a victim mentality include:
Regarding relationships where substance abuse is a factor, the person struggling with addiction or alcoholism can also be struggling with feeling like a victim.
They may feel powerless and drink or drug to try to numb the pain associated with that feeling. The partner who is not struggling with addiction might feel like a victim too, feeling like they don’t deserve a healthy relationship.
One might act like all is well on the outside, but inside you may feel depressed, weak, unworthy, and powerless. You may think that life is not fair. You may also think that things just never work out for you or blame others for your plight.
Due to such thoughts, you may suffer from depression, fatigue, poverty, substance abuse, or a mental health disorder. You might not even realize that you are carrying a victim mentality.
It’s not uncommon for those that struggle with a victim mentality to have experienced little or big “T” trauma as a child.
They’ve been hurt or angered and can’t get past it. Those that have codependent tendencies tend to fall into a victim mentality and have a difficult time taking responsibility for their current situation. It seems easier for them to stay down rather than rise into their empowered self.
A negative mindset can also be a root source of victim mentality.
If you have low self-esteem, always think the worst, or view life from a negative lens, you can surely fall into a victim mentality. If you don’t think much of yourself, you will begin to carry around the mentality that you don’t deserve anything good. This is quite common for those that harbor guilt and self-loathing.
Regarding a codependent relationship, the person who struggles with low self-worth or codependency can become attached in an unhealthy way to a partner who can prey upon this mentality.
The partner “confirms” the low self-worth of the codependent in various ways, such as verbal abuse and the person with codependency cowers in fear and depression, knowing that the partner is probably right.
Healing is available for codependency and those who have a victim mentality. The first step is to recognize that you have a victim mentality and resolve to make a change.
Whether you are the person struggling with codependency or addiction, there is hope available to begin to change this mindset and adopt a new one. Healing will entail that you begin to tell a different story. Even if you don’t feel like it, you must begin to see yourself as valuable.
You must dig deep to get to your authentic self and move into grace. You must begin to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and life.
You want to increase your self-esteem continually.
How do you boost your self-esteem? Related article: How Much Do You Like Yourself? Self-Esteem & How to Improve Yours
Taking responsibility for your life is essential.
This means that you must do something about the negative thoughts and feelings you have been carrying around for so many years. Are you contending with guilt, fear, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and more?
The healing process will require you to take a look at the root causes of such feelings and deal with those issues. You might want to consider going to therapy or seeing a certified life coach for a while.
Professionals have techniques that can help you heal old wounds, change your mindset and let go of negativity. They can also help you to set goals and create an action plan to attain those goals.
There are also support groups that are helpful.
Whether you're struggling with codependency characteristics or an addiction to alcohol or drugs, know that you're not alone and that help is available.
You do not have to navigate this path alone. However, you do need to take some steps in the right direction. Think about what treatment path you would like to begin navigating. Make some phone calls to see what your options are in your community.
You don’t have to continue living life feeling like a victim.
The past is over and your future begins now. Draw a line in the sand and make some positive changes. Say, “I am not a victim” over and over. Take heart, there is freedom on the other side of codependency and/or addiction. You’re on the path toward discovering it.
August 16, 2022
August 15, 2022