Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge CenterUnderstanding Codependency

Understanding Codependency

Many of us care deeply about someone with a chemical dependency. That person might be a friend, parent, spouse, or child. Our love for the dependent person can turn into codependency. This happens when we react to the person’s behavior and try to control it. Codependent habits often go unnoticed, but they can cause great damage. They may actually help the dependent person stay addicted and they can stop the codependent person from living a fulfilling life.

Do you think you might have codependent habits? If so, learning about codependency is your first step toward a happier life. This knowledge can help your dependent loved one too. Changing your habits may help them get healthy.

What are the signs?

Codependency comes in many forms, but the focus on others stays the same. The codependent pays lots of attention to the actions and feelings of others. As they do this, they neglect their own needs. The codependent is always reacting, rather than acting for themselves.

Common signs of codependency include:

  • Worry and anxiety
  • Bending over backward to take care of others
  • Not knowing or not trusting one’s own feelings
  • Feeling guilty for not doing enough
  • Feeling isolated or depressed
  • Staying in bad relationships (or sabotaging good ones)
  • Trouble with emotional intimacy or sex
  • Workaholism
  • Lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem

What are the effects?

A codependent person often tries to rescue the dependent person. They may lie to cover up for the person's actions. They might lend them money or take over their responsibilities. This makes it easier for the abuser to keep on using.

The codependent may also try to control the abuser's habits. They might nag, plead, or hide the abuser's alcohol or drugs. The codependent may act out of love, and struggles to make the abuser change, but the only person they can change or control is them.

The abuser must choose to work toward recovery. Meanwhile, the codependent person can make choices for their own life and health.

How can I recover?

Recovering from codependency sounds simple, but it takes time and effort. The key is to learn to take care of yourself and let others take care of themselves.

To do this, you'll need to tune into your own feelings and behaviors. You'll need to detach yourself from other people's problems. You'll have to learn to love yourself and take responsibility for your own needs. Detaching doesn't mean you don't care about your loved one. It means that you're putting your energy to better use.

Loving a chemically dependent person can be terribly painful. It can affect your life for years. Recovering from codependency is a process. It means accepting, letting go of pain, and finding ways to be happy.

Recovery may be easier with outside help. Consider working with a therapist with experience in substance use disorder and codependency, or contact your local chapter of Al-Anon.

Cigna Can Help

If you have coverage through Cigna, we are available by phone at any time to help you understand what services are available to support you during this time.

Tags

Therapy

Related

Cross-Dependency Understanding Depression Understanding Bipolar Disorder

Back to Knowledge Center

This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice. Only a health care provider can make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment plan. For more information about your behavioral health benefits, you can call the member services or behavioral health telephone number listed on your health care ID card.

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details