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What is Codependency?

Codependency is a behavioural and emotional condition that often develops in relationships where one person excessively relies on another for approval, validation, and a sense of identity. It is characterized by a lack of boundaries, a strong desire to control others, and a focus on meeting the needs of others to the detriment of one’s well-being. Codependent individuals may have difficulty expressing their thoughts, feelings, and needs, and may derive their self-worth from the approval and validation of others.

Here are some common characteristics of codependency:

Excessive Caretaking: Codependent individuals often go to great lengths to meet the needs of others, even at the expense of their well-being.

Low Self-Esteem: Codependent individuals may have a poor sense of self-worth and seek validation from external sources, particularly from their relationships.

Poor Boundaries: Codependent individuals often struggle to establish and maintain healthy boundaries, leading to difficulties in differentiating their thoughts, feelings, and needs from those of others.

Fear of Abandonment: There is often a deep-seated fear of rejection or abandonment, which can drive codependent individuals to engage in people-pleasing behaviours to ensure the continuation of a relationship.

Control Issues: Codependent individuals may exhibit controlling behaviours, trying to manage and manipulate situations or other people to feel a sense of security.

Denial of Personal Needs: Codependent individuals may neglect their own needs, prioritizing the needs of others to an unhealthy extent.

The origins of codependency are often traced back to dysfunctional family dynamics, typically characterized by:

Addiction: Substance abuse or other addictive behaviours within the family can contribute to codependency.

Dysfunctional Family Roles: In some families, certain roles may develop, such as the caretaker, the enabler, or the hero. These roles can contribute to the development of codependent patterns.

Trauma or Abuse: Experiencing emotional, physical, or sexual abuse can contribute to the development of codependency.

Lack of Emotional Expression: Growing up in an environment where emotions are not openly discussed or validated can lead to difficulties expressing and understanding one’s emotions.

Unresolved Issues: Unresolved issues or trauma from childhood can contribute to codependency in adulthood.

It is vital to note that codependency is not limited to romantic relationships and can manifest in various types of relationships, including family, friendships, and work relationships. Overcoming codependency often involves self-awareness, therapy, and a commitment to personal growth and establishing healthier patterns of relating to others.

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