One of the most significant influences to stay in a co-dependent relationship is shame.
If shame weren´t so powerful, people would probably leave the addicted relationship earlier.
So shame keeps not only the relationship going, but shame also provides what is neccesary for the addiction to grow stronger:
The person who becomes co-dependent might have been sane and smart before starting the new relationship. The addict usually has learned strategies that allow him to live his addiction so that nobody really assumes an addiction. Even the addict buys into his own story of not being an addict for the most part.
In the middle of the beautiful and exciting new life together, strange things start to happen – keys get lost, notebooks get stolen, money is missed, injuries happen, but all of that in a functioning working and relationship life.
The codependent wants to help (no sane person would not help their partner, friend or spouse…), of course, and covers up for the partner in front of friends and family. She (the co-dependent is mostly a woman) just starts to hide the strange stuff happening, because it´s not funny anymore. And „the others wouldn´t understand“.
However, when you aren´t trained in what Co-Dependency means, stupid things start to happen. The co-dependent not only lies to the friends and family, but starts to pay the bills that surely need to be paid. She lets the partner drive home in the car, becuse of course „he can drive“. When he loses his drivers license she drives him around because of course he needs to get around. To the pub to the places where his addiction lives. To admit her behaviour would be painful and shameful, so she doesn´t speak about it.
She does more and more stupid things plus she lies – both doesn´t work with well with friendships. So she cuts off her friendships.
Then she can do even more stupid things, without the need to lie or to justify in front of anyone else – because there is nobody there anymore, and there is noone to be ashamed before.
Still somehow she manages to justify her stupid deeds: It´s all for love.
Yet, it´s not. Quitting freindships even fuels the addiction more and more. Her isolation, her fear of admitting what she has done and allowed to happen, grows bigger. The neccesary step out of the relationship becomes harder and harder, because it means to reveal the partner´s addiction to the outer world, which comes along with shame, pain and fear of losing the beloved partner either on the addiction or by him ending the relationship because of her „betrayal of trust“. All of that enables even more stupid actions.
Many big stupid actions need to be justified – and at some stage even love isn´t enough to explain. So her brain provides for new contexts where its seems ok to do what she does – it produces a smoke screen that enforces her oblivion, her denials and at the same time it rationalizes: it´s for our best, or there is noone but me to be there, the partner will die without me and so on and so forth.
When everything is done and over, what remains is: the only cure for the destructions originating in shame is to reveal it. To talk about the damages shame can induce.
To show what can happen when shame is a leading factor for any action.
That is what I am doing here.