"Codependency" is a term we hear thrown around a lot these days, though many of us aren't sure exactly what it means. On the face of it, it can actually sound like a good thing. "I depend on you, you depend on me. What's wrong with that?" However, if you focus on the "dependency," the potential problems become more apparent.
Therapists and other mental-health professionals who treat codependency see many cases where people depend on each other in unhealthy
ways. Codependency can happen between a romantic couple, a parent and child, or anyone else with a close relationship.
For instance: one person may be someone suffering from problems of addiction, mental health, selfish or antisocial behaviors and other destructive habits. They might regularly depend on the other to be their savior when their own destructive habits get them into trouble.
Their codependent partner in the relationship, on the other hand, may become their habitual enabler: the one who covers for them if they miss work or treat others poorly ("She didn't mean it, it's just been a hard week"). An enabler works hard to help keep the other person out of trouble. This codependent "savior" in the relationship might do it out of desperation to keep the other person in their lives no matter how little they get in return, or how little they're helping the other person in the long-term. Or perhaps their desire to feel needed gives them a sense of importance they might otherwise lack through healthier means.
These are classic cases of codependency in relationships, and they can become extremely unhealthy by preventing individuals from learning to develop and grow and individuals, much less as equals in a relationship.
If you recognize yourself in any of these patterns, I can help you break the cycle with codependency therapy and learn more about how to create and function in a healthier relationship.
You do not have to battle codependency in relationships alone. Contact me today at Nancy's Counseling Corner in Orange County, California to schedule your appointment for effective codependency therapy.