Your Individual and Relationship Therapist
What is Codependency?
Codependency is an unhealthy form of dependency, but it’s not dependency in and of itself that’s the problem.
There are healthy forms of dependency, otherwise known as interdependency, that make relationships stronger. But distinguishing codependency from interdependency can be tricky — especially if you haven’t experienced many healthy relationships yourself.
What is codependency and what makes it unhealthy?
Codependency isn’t simply an over-reliance on another person. It’s an enmeshment, meaning that your identity is intertwined with your partner’s. In a codependent relationship, your focus is on the other person so much so that your needs, goals, and interests are suppressed and ignored. You may be an independent person in that you’re completely capable of earning a living, paying the bills, and taking care of the children (hard work, dependability, and caretaking are common traits among codependents), but you have an unhealthy need to be needed that keeps you dependent on someone else to make you feel worthy and lovable.
Relationships are important. They add an extra layer of joy and fulfillment to our lives; they bring opportunities for growth and they build us up. They can’t, however, fix whatever core wounds we bring with us to the relationship. Instead, we tend to replay dysfunctional relationship dynamics until we heal the root of the problem ourselves.