A healthy way of dependency is necessary for us as we are living in a society. It helps us to grow and nurture each other through a sense of companionship and support. On the contrary, it may harm a person where s/he reaches a point that they don’t care about their needs and gives prime importance to their partner.
For example, your loved one is a vegetarian. You like to follow a mixed diet. But then you decide to stop eating or cooking meat to please your partner. You quit that even when he didn’t ask you to stop.
Their main hobbies—writing, reading, and watching horror movies—become your main interests, even though you like to spend time on sci-fi movies, traveling, and open mic. You also give up your friendships for their sake.
Since you are aware of their aggressive behavior, and sometimes you can’t take control of the situation, you are tormented, which destroys your life. Amidst all these, you are being silent and not seeking help from others. Still, you are afraid of their rejection of love.
- Codependecy – The Concept Signs and Symptoms
- Leading Factors
- Adverse Effects
- Live with Healthy Relations
Co dependency – The Concept
Co-dependency is a dysfunctional relationship where one person acts the role of “the giver,” sacrificing their own needs and well-being for the sake of the other, “the taker.”
The idea emerged in the late 1940s from the context of persons with alcoholism to describe an imbalanced relationship that has been devoured and ruled by his addiction. During these circumstances, the caregiver/sweetheart shows maladaptive behaviour, including;
- Hiding the person’s alcohol use.
- Minimizing the problems.
- Protecting the person from all troubles that are the consequence of his behaviour.
This pattern ultimately creates adverse effects over a period of time for both persons. You may think that minimizing the bad behaviours helps to prevent more problems, but it actually worsens the issue.
Now, the concept has gained a reputation and evolved to symbolize different relationships. It can occur between parent and child, friends, and family members, mostly in marital/romantic relationships.
Co-dependency is a sense of showing excess importance towards the other person and craving for affection, attention, and approval. Gradually, you prioritize him rather than focusing on your passion and ambition. The tragic end is that you can’t live for yourself as you wish, and you are unknowingly being an emotional slave to the other one.
It is not a personality disorder or a professional diagnosis, which has prompted intense dispute among mental health experts.
Signs and Symptoms
Co-dependency is not a psychiatric disorder. However, numerous experts explain its early warning signs and consequences. Crystal Raypole, the author, compiled symptoms as follows;
- An increased desire for the loved one’s approval.
- Self-worth is based on what your partner thinks of you.
- A tendency to take on more tasks than you can handle in order to gain attention or ease the burden of a loved one.
- A pattern of an urge to apologize or accept responsibility to maintain harmony or avoid conflict.
- A tendency to diminish or dismiss your own priorities.
- Making choices to please your loved one that you don’t want to.
- Overemphasizing the loved one, you try to keep relationships that are unworthy and burdensome.
- A state of mind that is more dependent on your partner’s actions.
- Increased worry about being rejected or abandoned.
The key reason behind co-dependency lies in one’s upbringing, such as avoidant attachment style, the experience of rejection, and unstable previous relationships. It also appears to be a part of dependent personality disorder.
Healthy relations express love and support to each other, which benefits both sides. On the other hand, co-dependent relationships are one-sided and place one person in the role of ongoing caregiver.
Givers struggle to set limits, have low self-esteem, and are uncomfortable asking for assistance when needed.
Further, that kind of individual is considered to allow a loved one’s irresponsible or destructive behaviour by being compassionate and supportive.
Live with Healthy Relations
The Women Love Too Much by Robin Norwood, published in 1985, explains that unhealthy love is a pattern of behaviour that some women adopt in response to issues they experienced as children. Many women are victims of unsatisfactory and unhealthy relationships with males. Then they battle to maintain these hopeless alliances.
Here are some ways to disengage from co-dependency;
- Understand the unhealthy pattern of the relationship.
- Accept yourself as you are, the good and the bad.
- Work on amplifying your self-worth.
- Learn to communicate your needs and desires.
- Establish appropriate boundaries and be assertive.
- Discuss the disagreements and compromise from a “we” perspective.
- Seek professional help.
Bacon, I., McKay, E., Reynolds, F., & McIntyre, A. (2020). The lived experience of co-dependency: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 18(3), 754-771.
Wendy, R, David, S (2020). What Is Codependency? Recognizing the Signs. Verywell mind https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-codependency-5072124.
Crystal, R., Vara, S. (2021). What Are the Signs of Codependency?. Psychcentral https://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-signs-of-codependency
Psychology Today (n.d), Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/codependency#:~:text=Codependency%20is%20a%20dysfunctional%20relationship,%2C%20friends%2C%20and%20family%20members.