- 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 centered 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 behavior. So it might 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
A person with codependent tendencies first priority will be to keep everyone happy and preserve the status quo. Unless everyone around them is happy, it will be hard for them to stick to their own plans and goals. Looking out for themselves will be especially tough if it involves offending anyone.
Until this person is 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’ only to become overly emotional when this strategy finally fails.
How One Generation Passes on Codependency to the Next
Because a codependent spends so much time caring for other peoples’ emotions, they feel owed emotional care-taking in return. If their partner does not oblige, they will feel hurt and betrayed. This may cause the codependent to display emotionally manipulative behaviour, trying to get the emotional care-taking they feel owed to 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 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 they are not in a relationship. They will put their need for a relationship before their own security and goals.
Because of the unhealthy amount of care taking and attention they offer, codependents usually attract narcissistic (self centered) partners. The narcissist will thrive on the codependents attention in the beginning of the relationship. Only to become distant and aggressive when expected to give attention in return.
Codependency is a form of immaturity that we believe people can grow out of.
Definition of Codependent Personality Traits . . .
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