- A non productive strategy of ‘people pleasing’ behaviour. A person caring physically and emotionally for another in an attempt to get their own (often immature) emotional needs met. “Her codependency draws her into relationships with self centered men.”
By definition codependency is an adjective describing a complex form of emotional dependence. Defining codependency as emotional dependence can make it easier to understand. A person with codependent tendencies hasn’t learned to regulate their own emotions and moods and so 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 behavior and so it can even be said that codependency kills.
Definition of Codependent Behaviour
Codependency develops in a child growing up who feels they must keep an emotionally needy parent happy. From this experience they will come to believe that moods and negative emotions are things people need help dealing with and cannot process or regulate on their own.
This learned emotional neediness makes a codependent emotionally dependent and also likely to interfere with other family members’ need to process their own emotions.
Because a person with codependent tendencies will that feel keeping everyone happy and preserving the status quo is more important than looking out for themselves, unless everyone around the codependent is happy it will be hard for them to stick to their own plans and goals.
Codependency may lead a person to work to keep the peace (not get angry even when people are rude and provocative) until they are ‘pushed too far’. They may turn themselves ‘inside out to avoid conflict’ but when this fails they may become manic, reactive and over emotional.
Because a person with codependent patterns of behaviour spends so much time caring for other peoples’ emotions, they will then feel that they are owed this same kind of emotional caretaking in return. If their partner does not give them this attention, they will feel hurt and betrayed and will often display emotionally manipulative behaviour, trying to get their family to care about them.
They will say, “I am sad and so you should take care of me”, or, “I am angry and so you should feel guilty about what you have done.”
If their partner does not accept this role, they will then expect one of their children to play emotional caretaker and the disorder is then passed on.
By definition, codependency is about emotional dependence and so a person with these tendencies will have a hard time functioning if they are not in a relationship. They may even put their need for a relationship with a life partner before their own needs, security and goals.
Because of the unhealthy amount of care taking and attention they offer, codependents will usually attract narcissistic (self centered) partners who will thrive on the attention for a little while but then become distant and aggressive when they are expected to give attention in return.
Codependency, just like narcissism, is a form of immaturity that we believe people can grow out of with help and support . . .
Definition of Codependent Personality Traits . . .
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