Partners of sex addicts are continually needing to evaluate the status of their relationship, and their reasons for staying. That is why it is important to get counseling help to address the codependency side of addiction. Do you know the difference between ‘care-taking’ and ‘care-giving’? They are two very different ways of addressing a need.
‘Care-taking’ is when we see a need and we take care of it–from start to finish. We step in to take over and attempt to get our value from meeting someone else’s need. It might include rescuing the addict out of negative consequences, or fixing a situation that someone else has gotten themselves into–such as: keeping your partner from losing their job by lying or covering for them. Care-taking is often unhealthy because we are in control and are deciding what other people need, instead of letting others decide what they need.
‘Care-giving’ is when we give care when it is asked for. We aren’t the one that is scoping out the need, and deciding how to meet the need. We are simply giving care when it is asked for and in the capacity in which it is stipulated.
Codependency is all about care-taking–the fix-it, rescue, ‘I will take over and handle it attitude.’ I was the queen of codependency, even though (in the beginning) I wouldn’t have been able to define the term if anyone had asked me. I spent three years in a partner’s recovery group learning about all the ways my life was screwed up because of my need to ‘fix’ everyone else’s problems, especially my husband’s.