'Exploring the Lived Experiences of the Sense of Self in Codependency' by Simona Merlusca
A term that covers problems and difficulties faced by people in different areas of their lives (such as mental health, physical health, addiction) under one umbrella is codependency. There is a lot of debate in the academic, clinical and self-help literature in attempts made to define codependency. The construct has been explained by different theorists in terms of dysfunctional behaviours in intimate relationships in adulthood (especially in relationships with an alcoholic partner), personality disorder, addiction.
Research completed so far has tried to explain codependency by looking at different theories which have the development of the ‘self’ at their core. This research project aims to explore how people who have experienced codependency view themselves, and feel about themselves. Adopting a phenomenological approach, the current study looks at how this way of feeling about themselves has impacted on different areas of their lives such as their relationships, work, actions and behaviours. The current study also looks at what coping mechanisms they have used to protect the way they see themselves, and what kind of interventions supported them to change their view of self, changes which led to them having a better life.
Using qualitative research, this study will employ interviews to explore the thoughts and experiences of participants around their construct of ‘self’ in more depth.The results of this research will be provided to the research community and other stakeholders. Furthermore, this will help people experiencing codependency have their voices heard.