Advanced search

To ask what you think about codependency?

(21 Posts)
Salunabaluna Mon 11-Jan-16 08:46:04

It's something I get very confused when I read about online and all the books put me off reading about it. Is it a useful term? Is it true? If people found it useful and true, how did they change their lives for the better? Aren't all relationships codependent by their very nature, especially extremely enmeshed nuclear family partnerships that share every aspect of parenting/ home making/ earning?

Would be so interested in people's views.

tsonlyme Mon 11-Jan-16 08:56:05

I'm not sure that I understand the term fully, although yes I'm sure most long term relationships are codependent to some extent. I'm fairly sure that my marriage is codependent (I am an alcoholic in recovery) as my dh seems to struggle with my sobriety in that he no longer has the job of fire fighting crises and can see that I am quite independent and although I want to be with him I don't need him. In return his unhappiness causes me unhappiness, only neither of us seems to have a clue about what to do about it despite much counselling confused.

I know of at least one couple (both in AA) who are so careful not to be codependent that they rarely do anything at all together which seems quite sad.

Salunabaluna Mon 11-Jan-16 09:32:39

That's very interesting thank you so much for your thoughtful post... If think you are in a codependent relationship are you happy though? Are you intimate? Could you leave him if you wanted to or is the thought horrendous?
Sad to hear about the couple who don't do anything together- are they happy?
Doesn't parenting young children exacerbate codependency the way alot of us do it, IE alone and far away from extended family?

Salunabaluna Mon 11-Jan-16 09:33:40

Is it your husband who is codependent as he needs you to need him?

Birdsgottafly Mon 11-Jan-16 09:41:21

I saw it a lot as a CP SW, two people would come together because they fulfilled a need in each other. We got involved when a child came along and things went wrong, because the focus isn't on the child's best interests, only each other's issues.

There are different Co-Dependancies, the severe emotional ones you'll see explained in profiles about Hindly and Bradey/Fred and Rose West.

You see plenty of posts on here about "hysterical" relatives and their enabling partners/other relatives, that's a form of CD, both parties must get something out of it.

Birdsgottafly Mon 11-Jan-16 09:45:16

Just to add OP, it's very true and real.

It can be part of a wider PD, or have a cause, such as a attachment disorder (which we see a lot in SW).

You can, via therapy, lesson your issues, so you recognise and make emotionally healthier choices.

SaucyJack Mon 11-Jan-16 09:46:12

No, not all relationships are codependent. It's something that happens when there is an imbalance of power and attention within a relationship, usually because one of the couple has issues and needs (real or otherwise) that become the focus of both of them.

SaucyJack Mon 11-Jan-16 09:48:47

Should add- it's the nurse/white knight/fan club/flying monkey (enabler in technical terms) person in the couple that is the codependent.

The other is usually either a substance addict or narc, or often both.

Birdsgottafly Mon 11-Jan-16 09:56:53

""The other is usually either a substance addict or narc, or often both.""

They can be severely emotionally damaged.

I think it's unfair to put blame on either party, it becomes a rollercoaster.

SaucyJack Mon 11-Jan-16 12:57:20

Actually, no I don't think it's unfair to put the blame on one person if te behaviour carries on for a significant length of time- although I appreciate in your former line of work you're used to dishing out tolerance and understanding.

Lots of people have substance abuse issues or MH problems or any other non-specified emotional damage, and I'm sure many can get caught up in an unequal relationship during times of crisis.

The difference is the long-term inability to understand the effect of one's action on others, and unwillingness to change either because of immaturity or because one actively enjoys holding all the cards in a relationship.

Although the codependent needs to take responsibility too. You cannot change people's behaviour towards you, but you can change your reactions to them. There is a door, use it.

AliceScarlett Mon 11-Jan-16 13:28:12

My DH and I used to be very co dependant, he's an addict and I'm borderline, perfect combo! We have been together since we were 17 and just used to shut out the world and completely live for each other.
2 years ago his addiction got too much for me, I found out he was using again and decided I was going to kill myself, closely followed by realising that was ridiculous and someone else could not have this amount of influence over me. I bought codependency for dummies and I found Al Anon, after getting through the god stuff I found it tremendously useful. Turns out my "caring" for him was fuelled by a need to reduce my anxiety, I didn't realise I was allowing him to carry on without boundaries, didn't realise I was smothering him and not allowing his autonomy.
Shortly after I entered Al Anon he ended up in serious crisis over a week, OD's, absconding from A&E, police, ambulances, resus, the whole works. He went to rehab and did amazingly well, I'll stay in Al Anon for years to come yet because I realised that he did not cause me to be codependent, my insecure attachment and zero boundaries with my mum started it off.
He's been clean and serene since then and we are much happier, we thought we would lose our closeness, but we haven't, its a healthy relationship now, with boundaries and communication and respect, its not based on fear. If I could go back I wouldn't change anything, we have come so far and learnt so much. I'd suggest codependency for dummies any day. Still get it out occasionally when I need it.

Salunabaluna Mon 11-Jan-16 17:54:01

Such interesting responses... What if the relationship could be considered abusive? And they don't want to break up- are they both codependent?

Fourormore Mon 11-Jan-16 17:58:31

I can't really imagine a situation where you would have a relationship that lasted any length of time unless both parties were co-dependent. Some with a healthy sense of self wouldn't tolerate the behaviour that comes with it.

Junosmum Mon 11-Jan-16 19:07:47

In sociology it's known as systems theory, which has far fewer negative connotations!

maggiethemagpie Mon 11-Jan-16 19:54:58

It's the need to be needed, isn't it. I have a friend who just left an abusive relationship, inbetween being an abusive twunt, he would frequently tell her how much he needed her and it was like catnip to her.

CaptainCrunch Mon 11-Jan-16 19:57:54

My late parents had a co-dependent relationship. It was very unhealthy. He was an alcoholic and she bought him alcohol because on some level, his dependency on her buying it for him suited her down to the ground. They were a toxic combination. When she died, he couldn't function at all and shut down completely only to die 4 weeks later.

Salunabaluna Mon 11-Jan-16 22:21:04

So sorry to hear that captain flowers

CaptainCrunch Mon 11-Jan-16 22:47:57

Thanks Sal smile

Candlefairy101 Tue 12-Jan-16 10:57:46

I've never heard of co-dependency before but I think I am dependent on my partner confused

I get angry with him and thrown him out and can't last a day without thinking how much I can't live without him.

I suffer severe depression and he says this is why I kick him out when I'm on a low and then realise all he does for me and call him back.

We have a 5 year old, a 17 month old and I'm 34 weeks pregnant, we have been with each other since school and we are 26 now, so I really don't k or life without him, if I'm hungry he cooks when he's gone I just starve blush would you say I'm co-dependent on him?

SaucyJack Tue 12-Jan-16 14:51:39


Codependent doesn't necessarily mean what you've taken it to mean.

(IIRC) It's a term that originated from Alcoholics Anonymous where the dependant (noun) was the person in the relationship who was dependent on alcohol, and the co dependant was the other who was facilitating or enabling the alcoholism.

From what you've said here, your husband would actually be the co-dependant as he appears to be the one who has taken on the supportive role due to your MH problems.

You describing yourself as dependent on him is a different meaning to the one used here.

I hope that's explained that. Take care dude x

Salunabaluna Tue 12-Jan-16 15:28:25

So sorry to hear things are difficult candle flowers

Saucyjack knows what she is talking about. Best of luck with your pregnancy and birth, mh difficulties are certainly exacerbated by the stress of pregnancy/ birth/ young children.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now