Codependency – What You Should Know

Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship dynamic in which one person takes on the role of “the provider” while simultaneously neglecting their own needs and well-being for the other, ” the recipient.” The relationship in question does not have to be romantic; it can happen between parents and children, friends, and family members.

The word “codependency” was coined in the substance misuse community to characterize an unbalanced relationship in which one person’s addiction has absorbed and ruled the other. It became a catchphrase for any enabling relationship as it rose in popularity. Codependency isn’t a clinical diagnostic or a personality condition, but it has inspired a lot of discussion and debate among psychologists.

What Is Co-dependency and How Does It Affect You?

Healthy partnerships are beneficial to both sides, offering love and support. Co-dependent relationships, on the other hand, are one-sided, with one person constantly caring for the other. That individual is believed to sustain, perpetuate, or “enable” a loved one’s irresponsible or destructive behavior by being kind, highly functional, and helpful. Helping an inebriated spouse negotiate an unpleasant circumstance or giving living quarters for a substance-abusing adult kid, for example, is considered unproductive, as it delays treatment and perpetuates the problem.

According to this viewpoint, emotional distance from the troublesome loved one is both necessary and useful for the co-dependent partner: it exposes them to the negative effects of their behavior.

The co-dependent spouse is believed to have a variety of flaws in being dependable, loving, and nurturing, ranging from low self-esteem and an obsessive need to please others to poor interpersonal boundaries that make them feel responsible for the other’s issues.

What are the causes of codependency?

People who deal with codependency are frequently believed to have flourished in dysfunctional families. They may have had a close relative or friend who abused drugs or had a psychiatric disorder. They may have also been traumatized as children, causing them to worry or be uncertain about their partnerships. It’s crucial to note that anyone can get into a toxic relationship cycle.

What are some of the most typical symptoms of codependency?

The “provider” in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship appears to be unnecessarily obligated, making excuses for the “recipient” and assuming their responsibilities. Giving makes people feel wanted since they are self-critical and, mostly, perfectionists. Fixing or protecting others helps them feel desired. They are so concerned with satisfying others that they overlook their feelings and desires. Giving people have low self-esteem, struggle to establish limits and express themselves, and have difficulty looking for support whenever needed. Takers frequently have major difficulties, such as psychological disorders, emotional instability, and dependency.

How do codependency and addiction relate to one another?

The term “codependency” was used to explain people’s destructive actions in the aftermath of a beloved’s addiction. Everything is deemed to be facilitating their substance misuse, from finding justifications and going the extra mile to support them financially. Changing past co-dependent behaviors is often an important element of addiction recovery; in certain situations, it may be essential to terminate the connection entirely.

What steps can you take to overcome codependency?

To recover from codependency, you must feel safe in yourself and your partnership. Accept yourself for who you are—the beautiful, the ugly, and everything in between—and concentrate on increasing your self-respect. Learn to recognize and communicate your wants and requirements. Don’t be scared to stand up for yourself and set and keep healthy boundaries. Instead of always placing your partner’s choices ahead of yours, settle the disagreements and reconcile from a “we” standpoint.

The Debate About “Codependency”

No scientific evidence back up the idea of codependency. Codependency has never been recognized for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, despite the attempts of a few people to have it classified as a behavioral condition. For various reasons, many psychological health and relationship professionals believe the phrase is intrinsically faulty and refuse its use.

Fundamentally, “Codependency” targets and victimizes healthy human conduct, notably loving and caring behavior. There is plenty of experimental findings that humans are hardwired to develop long-lasting emotional relationships and that these bonds aren’t instantly broken when bad behavior occurs. The demand for connectivity and the urge to retain it is so fundamental—as basic as needing food and water—that confinement has been demonstrated to be harmful to both physical and psychological well-being on numerous occasions.

Moreover, it is understandable to feel empathy, sympathy, and a desire to help when the beloved makes a mistake or suffers a loss, often bringing their needs ahead of oneself. Furthermore, codependency ignores the individual’s responsibility for their behavior and seeking improvement.

When did the concept of relationship codependency first emerge?

This contentious concept first surfaced in the 1980s in the substance misuse arena when it was linked to alcoholic partners caretaking practices. It has now been applied to various mental health and behavioral issues involving domestic abuse, psychological abuse, and addictive behaviors. The expression is also frequently used colloquially to denote close connections without necessarily implying psychological significance.

What makes a good relationship different from a co-dependent relationship?

Both partners exchange equally in a good relationship, and each can maintain their own identity distinct from the other. Co-dependent relationships, on the other hand, are toxic alliances in which one person becomes stuck in the caregiver role, allowing the other to take without offering help or care in return. The giver wants to help and “save” their loved one, yet they may instead wind up promoting detrimental habits. The giver eventually becomes fatigued, annoyed, and burnt out, which leads to further problems and discontent with the partnership.

What does it mean to be “pro-dependent?”

In partnerships, the urge to help has been stigmatized and vilified. People with a loved one who suffers from addiction are often advised to leave the relationship and stop enabling them. Unfortunately, this suggestion often goes against people’s natural yearning for community and belonging and is therefore ineffective. Some specialists suggest that we move beyond codependency and consider pro-dependence as an alternative to codependency in managing a relationship with someone with an addiction or mental condition. Caregivers can love unconditionally and pursue an emotional connection while creating and keeping healthy limits using this method. Someone in a pro-dependent relationship will offer assistance when a loved one is in need but will not perform things that the person should be able to complete on their own.

Choose your Reaction!