Los Angeles Christian Counseling
Codependency has been loosely described as a relationship addiction. This is for the sole reason that a person’s identity and self-worth are wrapped around one or more relationships. In parental codependency, the parents become excessively reliant on the relationship they have with their child which can damage the well-being of both parent and child.In this instance, the parent has an unhealthy attachment to their child and because of this, they try to control and manage every aspect of that child’s life, even though the child is quite capable.
Codependent parents rely on their child’s need for them for approval and recognition. Their self-esteem, which is low to begin with, is wrapped around their caretaking role, which can be excessive.
Initially, codependency was observed in parents with children who had disabilities, terminal illnesses, or substance abuse problems. However, it has also been noted that parents can be codependent with children who do not struggle with the above, hence, it’s not a matter of the child’s condition but more the parent’s attachment style.
Signs of parental codependency.
Sense of dependency. This is a situation where the parent is dependent on the relationship and their child for their emotional well-being. Everything revolves around the relationship they have with their child; their sole happiness, fulfillment, or sense of purpose is achieved through this one relationship.
Low self-esteem. Codependent parents rely heavily on their child’s approval or achievements for their self-esteem. This can be detrimental to building and maintaining a healthy sense of self as they are reliant on outside validation. Who they are is enmeshed with who their child is and how they view their role in the relationship.
Controlling. Because they want the relationship with their child to be just right or their child to be who they envision, codependent parents can be controlling. They control every aspect of their child’s life, down to making decisions for them.
Excessive caretaking. Codependency in a parent can also be characterized by excessive caretaking. This is when a parent doesn’t allow their child to take care of themselves, even though they have the capability and maturity to do so. With this, they foster a child’s dependence on them and do not give them room to be independent.
Fear of abandonment. They make sure that their child does not abandon them by making their child dependent on them. Their sole purpose comes from the need to be needed. This fear of abandonment can even cause parents to neglect their well-being and focus solely on their children.
Enabling and rescuing. When a parent is codependent, they do not enforce boundaries or reprimand their children when they have done wrong or when engaged in troublesome behaviors. They try to protect their children by bailing them out of trouble and not letting them experience the consequences of their behavior. These children, no matter the age, are constantly rescued making them develop an unhealthy sense of invincibility and entitlement.
Lack of boundaries. For fear of rejection or conflict with their child, codependent parents do not have boundaries. They struggle to say no to their children and hence experience an overwhelming need to always be there for their children no matter what. To them, this relationship has to be perfect at all costs.
We can help.
Parental codependency can be detrimental to both parent and child. Though this might not be done intentionally, those who feel they might be having a codependent relationship with their child can benefit from seeking professional help.
If any of the above rings true to your relationship, please do get in touch with us at Los Angele Christian Counseling. We can connect you with a trained counselor in Los Angeles who can assist both parent and child in understanding their relationship as it is now and give tools for developing a healthier one.
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