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Codependent Relationships & Family Dynamics

Understanding codependent relationships and family dynamics (how the family interacts with each other) is complicated. 

It’s a bit easier to begin by seeing what positive family dynamics are:

  • Open communication is present, and it is honest, clear and direct
  • Each person has goals and plans to reach those goals
  • Each family member supports the others in reaching their goals
  • Family rules are present, but open to change and flexibility
  • The family sees itself as naturally connected to society
  • Home is viewed as a place of safety and comfort
  • When conflicts arise, the family discusses, listens, keeps an open mind, and looks for a positive solution

There is no perfect family dynamic, except in theory or on paper.

In reality, we all know that conflicts come up, temperaments clash, and feelings get hurt.  But healthy family dynamics lead to a positive outcome that helps a family grow. 

What affects one family member generally affects other family members.  This can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances.

In dysfunctional families, like those based on codependent relationships, open communication and resolution of problems is extremely difficult.  Stress affects each member of the family in specific ways, and therefore affects the entire family unit.  Families with addiction as the hub of daily life are surrounded by severe and ever present stress.

If you know that there is a codependency problem in your own family, here are some behaviors that may be repeated over and over:

  • Family members aren’t sure what they feel, so have difficulty sharing their emotions
  • Family interactions or decisions are often focused around the addict or alcoholic
  • Open communication is difficult, since a pattern of avoidance or denial has been set in place
  • Blame and anger are often present, making it difficult for common solutions to be found
  • Codependent family roles keep the addict from hitting rock bottom
  • Family members do whatever it takes to avoid confrontation, chaos or pain

Treatment for the family is crucial.  Whether the addict ultimately succeeds in recovery is important, but the individuals in the family must be able to sustain healthy physical and emotional lifestyles, regardless of whether or not recovery is sustained.


How is alcohol & drug addiction affecting your family?
Call (866) 957-4389 for a free assessment.