Alcoholism and Drug Addiction – Phases of a Dysfunctional Family
|Big problems causing much pain and insecurity||Family tends to move as a group, not unrelated individuals||Trusting, supportive, happy, emotionally secure|
Sometimes Chemical Dependency
|Love and like each other. Respect each other’s qualities and capabilities. Accept each other’s shortcomings.|
|Chemical dependency may start with one member. Eventually involves each member. Unless interrupted, each person’s negative patterns (defensive roles) continue into adulthood and new family systems.||Feel full range of emotions. Feel free to express them to each other. Mistakes are tolerated. Each held responsible for own behavior. Able to face stress and pain.|
Four Phases in Progression of the Illness of Family Members Who Are Not Chemically Dependent (Called “Co-Dependency”)
Development phases of defenses that help them meet their emotional needs:
- Learning Phase: They develop awareness of stress and changes (increasing arguments, tensions, less communication, or strained spouse and parent/child relations). They begin experimenting with defensive behaviors that are not healthy.
- Seeking Phase: They attempt to find solutions. The defensive behavior becomes manipulative. They believe they can control the person’s use (delusional). As they meet frustration, they become an angry, resentful, emotionally-tangled person; enabling the illness. Four patterns of enabling behaviors: “Too Good,” Rebellious, Apathetic and Joking Defenses.
- Harmful Phase: The defensive behavior becomes compulsive. A denial system about their own pain may develop. They suffer harmful consequences of the defensive behaviors.
- Escape Plans: Separation, desertion, suicide. Hope for change is lost; they look for escape from their pain.