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What Is Codependency?

Healthy relationships are mutually beneficial, providing love and support to both parties. Codependent relationships, on the other hand, are one-sided, casting one person in the role of constant caregiver. By being caring, highly functional, and helpful, that person is said to support, perpetuate, or “enable” a loved one’s irresponsible or destructive behavior. For example, helping a jealous partner control every situation and allowing their partner to prevent you from living your own life or providing money for a substance-using adult child is said to be counterproductive, a way of forestalling recovery and actually perpetuating the problem. According to this way of thinking, creating emotional distance from the troubled loved one is necessary and beneficial for the codependent partner: It is a way to expose them to the negative consequences of their behavior. In being reliable, caring, and nurturing, the codependent partner is perceived to be exhibiting any number of weaknesses of his or her own—from low self-esteem and an excessive need to please others to poor interpersonal boundaries that make him or her feel responsible for the other’s problems. Often, people who struggle with codependency are said to have been raised amidst dysfunctional family dynamics. They may have had a family member or close friend with an addiction or mental illness. They may also have experienced childhood trauma which led them to feel anxious or insecure about relationships. However, it’s important to remember that anyone can fall into an unhealthy relationship pattern.

What are some common signs of codependency? In unhealthy codependent relationships, the codependent tends to be overly responsible, making excuses for the non-codependent individual and taking over their obligations. Codependents are self-critical and often perfectionistic; fixing or rescuing others makes them feel needed. They focus so much on pleasing others that they neglect their own wants and needs. Codependents generally have low self-esteem, find it hard to set boundaries and be assertive, and struggle with asking for help when they need it. Non-codependent individuals are often struggling with serious issues, such as emotional immaturity, mental health problems, and addiction. Therefore, we say that a codependent personality type individual is like a magnet to someone with narcissistic personality disorder and therefore I feel it is important to address both equally as ones who are dealing with a narcissistic partner is almost always a codependent personality type. Codependents can help this disorder with cognitive behavioral therapy and other practices, but narcissists cannot cure themselves of narcissism. I am here to make these changes with you no matter what reason you desire. I can relate as a recovering codependent, that it is a very frustrating, lonely, and sabotaging disorder to live with.

To sum up codependency, it is a psychological concept that refers to people who feel extreme amounts of dependence on certain loved ones in their lives, and who feel responsible for the feelings and actions of those loved ones. I assure you that there are ways to overcome this and attract healthy relationships in your future.