Addiction has been known as “The Family Disease” since 1968.
Addiction is a symptom of underlying issues and often coincides with social dysfunction. People struggling from addiction ARE NOT victims, even if they have been victimized in the past.
Family dynamics are the ways in which a family communicates and exists together. A family’s structure dictates roles for each family member and even the smallest dysfunction is felt by the entire group. Acknowledgement, acceptance, willingness, and therapy are needed in order to implement positive change that promotes healthy communication and interaction.
Families experiencing dysfunction do not acknowledge, and can not always see, all of the problems that exist. Often, there is one particular problem that recieves so much attention, that underlying problems fall to the wayside. By focusing on only one specific problem, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become ‘survivors’. They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach.
A family member who places a loved one’s health, welfare, and safety before their own is referred to as a co-dependent. It is common for a co-dependent family member to sacrifice his or her own needs to take care of the person who is sick or suffering. In doing so, they risk losing contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.