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Chemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family

CodependencyHiding Addiction

Shaneen has been her mother's codependent for years. She avoids arguing with her mother at all costs. Shaneen cleans up after her mom, takes care of the boys, and makes excuses to the bill collectors when there is not enough money. She calls in sick for her mother when Mrs. Rand is hungover and can't get out of bed to go to work. Shaneen tries hard to make things seem normal to outsiders. The effort is taking its toll, and Shaneen is sinking into depression and despair.

Often codependents like Shaneen don't see a way to get help for the alcoholic or drug addict. To them, admitting that the problem exists would be abandoning or betraying someone they love. As a consequence, they often begin to use drugs or alcohol themselves as an escape.

There are better ways to cope with a parent's drug problem. Shaneen doesn't have to be codependent, and she doesn't have to drink to dull her own pain. First, Shaneen will need to learn to take care of herself. She has to focus on her own life, not her mom's. A big part of this process is acknowledging her buried feelings. Before Shaneen can move on, she has to recognize that she is angry with her mother for drinking. Shaneen also must acknowledge that she feels emotions such as guilt, fear, and shame about her family.

Shaneen will have to learn to communicate, too. Making excuses and lying for her mom won't help her or the boys. In contrast, talking to someone she can trust will help her a great deal. Shaneen needs to choose someone to talk to. She is considering speaking to her uncle Mike, her science teacher, and her school guidance counselor, but she is still struggling with the idea of admitting that she needs help.

Talking to someone will not only aid Shaneen in dealing with her own problems, but also eventually enable her to confront her mom about the problems in the family.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional FamilyChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family - Codependency - Caring Codependents, Poor Behavioral Patterns, Are You Codependent?, Hiding Addiction, Ignoring Addiction