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Co-Dependency 

What is Co-dependency?

Codependency refers to a relationship pattern in which one person is overly reliant on the needs and approval of another person to the point of neglecting their own needs and desires. This can occur in a variety of contexts, including romantic relationships, friendships, and family relationships.

Codependent individuals often have a strong desire to be needed by others, and may engage in behaviors such as people-pleasing, rescuing, and caretaking to maintain a sense of connection and control in their relationships. They may also struggle with setting boundaries and asserting their own needs and preferences.

Codependency can have a negative impact on both the codependent individual and the person they are in a relationship with. It can lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration, and can ultimately result in the breakdown of the relationship. Treatment for codependency often involves therapy to help individuals develop healthy relationship patterns and learn to prioritize their own needs and well-being.

What is the effect of Co-dependency?

Codependency can have a significant impact on a person's emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Here are some ways in which codependency can affect a person:

1. Low Self-Esteem: Codependent individuals often have a low sense of self-worth and may base their self-esteem on the approval of others. They may feel that they are only valuable when they are helping or pleasing others, and may struggle to feel good about themselves when they are not in a caretaking role.

2. Anxiety and Stress: Codependency can be a source of significant stress and anxiety, as codependent individuals may feel responsible for the happiness and well-being of others, even at the expense of their own needs and desires. This can lead to chronic stress and anxiety, which can have negative effects on both mental and physical health.

3. Difficulty with Boundaries: Codependent individuals often struggle with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in their relationships. They may feel guilty or anxious when saying no to others, and may have difficulty asserting their own needs and preferences.

4. Enabling Behavior: Codependent individuals may engage in enabling behavior, such as rescuing or fixing others, even when it is not in their best interest to do so. This can lead to a cycle of dependency and dysfunction in the relationship.

5. Relationship Problems: Codependency can lead to problems in both personal and professional relationships. Codependent individuals may have difficulty forming healthy relationships, and may find themselves in unhealthy or abusive relationships.

Overall, codependency can have a significant negative impact on a person's quality of life. Treatment for codependency typically involves therapy to help individuals develop healthier relationship patterns and improve their self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

How does a person become a co-dependent? 

There is no single cause of codependency, and it can develop in a variety of ways. Here are some factors that may contribute to the development of codependency:

1. Family Dynamics: Growing up in a family where there is addiction, mental illness, or other dysfunction can increase the likelihood of developing codependency. In these families, children may learn to prioritize the needs and wants of the parent or family member with the addiction or illness, and may develop a sense of responsibility for the well-being of others.

2. Trauma: Experiencing trauma, such as abuse or neglect, can also contribute to the development of codependency. In some cases, individuals may develop codependent tendencies as a coping mechanism to deal with the trauma.

3. Personality Traits: Certain personality traits, such as a strong desire for approval and a fear of abandonment, may also contribute to the development of codependency. Individuals with these traits may be more likely to prioritize the needs of others over their own.

4. Cultural and Social Factors: Cultural and social factors, such as gender roles and societal expectations, can also contribute to the development of codependency. For example, women may be socialized to prioritize the needs of others over their own, which can contribute to the development of codependency.

5. Learned Behavior: Finally, codependency can also be learned through observation and modeling. If an individual grows up seeing codependent behavior in their parents or other family members, they may learn to engage in these behaviors themselves.

It's important to note that codependency is not a character flaw or a personal failing, but rather a complex issue that can develop for a variety of reasons. Treatment for codependency typically involves therapy to help individuals identify and change these patterns of behavior.

What is the relationship between narcissism and co-dependency?

Narcissism and codependency are two distinct personality traits, but they can often be found in the same relationship. In fact, codependency and narcissism can be seen as two sides of the same coin, as they both involve a focus on the needs and desires of another person to the detriment of one's own needs and desires.

Narcissism is characterized by an excessive sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration and attention from others. Narcissists often expect others to cater to their needs and may become angry or resentful when their desires are not met.

Codependency, on the other hand, is characterized by a strong desire to be needed by others, a lack of boundaries, and a tendency to prioritize the needs of others over one's own. Codependent individuals may engage in behaviors such as people-pleasing, caretaking, and rescuing, in order to maintain a sense of connection and control in their relationships.

In a relationship between a narcissist and a codependent individual, the codependent person may enable and cater to the narcissist's needs and desires, while neglecting their own needs and desires. The narcissist, in turn, may take advantage of the codependent person's willingness to please and may become increasingly demanding and controlling.

It's important to note that not all codependent relationships involve a narcissistic partner, and not all narcissists are involved in codependent relationships. However, when these two traits are present in the same relationship, it can create a toxic dynamic that can be difficult to break without professional help.

Treatment Plan for Co-dependency

There are a variety of therapeutic strategies that can be effective in addressing codependency. Here are some of the most commonly used approaches:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. In the context of codependency, CBT can help individuals identify and challenge beliefs and behaviors that contribute to their codependent patterns.

2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy that focuses on developing skills for emotion regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness. DBT can be particularly effective for individuals who struggle with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries in their relationships.

3. Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on exploring unconscious patterns and emotions. In the context of codependency, psychodynamic therapy can help individuals identify underlying emotional needs and patterns that contribute to their codependent behaviors.

4. Family Systems Therapy: Family systems therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on exploring the dynamics of the family system and how they contribute to individual behavior. In the context of codependency, family systems therapy can help individuals understand the ways in which their family history and dynamics may have contributed to their codependent patterns.

5. Group Therapy: Group therapy can be an effective approach for addressing codependency, as it provides individuals with the opportunity to connect with others who are struggling with similar issues. Group therapy can help individuals develop a sense of community and support, and can provide a safe space to practice new skills and behaviors.

Regardless of the specific approach used, effective treatment for codependency typically involves a combination of therapy, education, and support. Treatment can help individuals develop healthier relationship patterns, improve self-esteem and self-worth, and learn to prioritize their own needs and well-being.

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