P16 Family

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.

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