- A non-productive strategy of ‘people-pleasing’ behaviour. A person caring for another in an attempt to get their own (often immature) emotional needs met. “Her codependency draws her into relationships with self-centred men.”
By definition, codependency describes a complex form of emotional dependence. Understanding codependency as emotional dependence can make it easier to understand. A person with codependent tendencies hasn’t learned to regulate their own moods and emotions and will be dependent on others to ‘keep them happy’.
Codependency is more serious than it sounds and can cause a cascade of other problems within a family. Codependency will often lead to chronic long term psychosomatic illness and/or addictive behaviour. So it could even be said that codependency kills.
Definition of Codependent Behaviour
Codependency develops in childhood from a person feeling they must keep an emotionally needy parent happy. This experience will teach the child that moods and negative emotions are things people need help dealing with and cannot regulate on their own.
This learned emotional neediness makes a codependent emotionally dependent. It will also make them likely to interfere with other family members’ emotional regulation.
Codependency & Emotional Reactivity
Because of their upbringing, a person with codependent tendencies priority will be to keep everyone happy and preserve the status quo. Consequently, unless everyone around them is happy, it will be hard for this person to stick to their own plans and goals. Looking out for themselves, especially if it involves offending anyone, will be tough.
Until finally ‘pushed too far’, codependency creates a strong desire to keep the peace. This person will feel it wrong to get angry, even when people are rude and provocative. They may turn themselves ‘inside out to avoid conflict’ but as a result become over-emotional and even violent when this strategy finally fails.
How One Generation Passes on Codependency to the Next
A codependent spends so much time caring for other peoples’ emotions, that they consequently feel owed emotional care-taking in return. Hence, if their partner does not oblige, they will feel hurt and betrayed. This may finally cause the codependent to display emotionally manipulative behaviour, attempting to get the emotional care-taking they feel owed.
They will say, “I am sad and so you should take care of me”, or, “I am angry and so you should feel guilty and provide emotional care taking to make it up to me.”
If their partner refuses to play along and take care of their emotions, it is usual that one of the couple’s children will be pushed into the role of emotional caretaker. In this way the pattern is often passed on from generation to generation.
Codependents Attract Self Centered Partners
By definition, codependency is emotional dependence and this person will have trouble functioning when not in a relationship. Their need for a loving relationship will often come before their own security and goals.
Due to the unhealthy amount of caretaking and attention codependents offer, they usually attract narcissistic (self-centred) partners. The narcissist will thrive on the codependents attention at the beginning of the relationship. Only to become distant and aggressive when expected to give attention in return.
Codependency is a form of immaturity we believe that people can outgrow.
Definition of Codependent Personality Traits . . .
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