Family Roles & Codependency
Addicted to Them
Recognizing The Family Enmeshment to the Addiction.
People seeking help for their loved one who abuses substance often inquire how to make them change or help them stop. For some it is believed a speech from a professional will pave the way. For others, they feel hard consequences will be enough to “make” them go. What most families do not see or understand is the devastating impact it has taken on them and how their family system has been shifted to benefit the addict or alcoholic. Sadly, many of those who call have been led to believe their situation is hopeless and unless their loved one wants help or hits bottom they have no choice other than to wait for them to change or stop abusing drugs or alcohol. Certainly a family can take that approach. They can also arm themselves with intervention, education and ongoing counseling support to assist in the process of helping the family and the person abusing substances.
Enmeshment is when people in a relationship have unknown boundaries and are not sure what they should be. With enmeshed relationships people feed off one another’s emotions and tempers flare at the reaction of another doing the same. With the family at odds the addict and alcohol is often facing the least amount of instability and consequences. When a family comes together and formulates an educated group and understands what they are up against things become clearer. Without boundaries people will walk over us or through us with no regard for our personal space or feelings when doing so. Having enmeshment driven relationships in a family affected by addiction can prevent growth and change as well as resentment and hostility with one another. Think of how many times you are speaking with other family members, often heated, and you’re talking about the addict or alcoholic and doing nothing about it.
A family requires professional insight and perspective, someone not emotionally attached or affected by the addiction. When all the family members are flooded and have become accustomed to the drama and chaos surrounding the situation it makes it more difficult to get out of it and even see how. Addiction is called a family problem for a reason. Not because the family is the cause of it, because the addict helps the family to help them stay addicted. The family almost never sees it until things have become way out of hand.