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co-dependency. I seen it mentioned a lot.

(14 Posts)
wicketkeeper Tue 20-Sep-11 09:40:42

And always in a negative context. I'm not sure if I'm really understanding what it means - would be grateful if someone could explain? Many thanks.

LB1982 Tue 20-Sep-11 09:59:43

From what I understand, it's where 2 people are together only because of something they both enjoy. If you were to take that thing away (alcohol, drugs, gambling), the relationship would not last.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 20-Sep-11 10:36:59

A co-dependent is a person who is unable to defend their own interests, and who stays with a disordered partner (abuser, alcoholic, other type of addict) despite the psychological harm it causes them. They often believe that they can help or rescue their disordered partner, and will doggedly seek help for their partner while ignoring the fact that they need help. Fundementally, they do not believe that they themselves are worthy of any respect, and so accept the lack of respect that staying with an abuser or addict entails.

Co-dependents believe that they can "control" or improve the behaviour of their disordered partner by sticking around, being loyal, etc. That is, they do not understand that the only person whose behaviour they can have any effect on is themselves.

Co-dependents will remain for way too long in a relationship way past its sell-by date, in the mistaken hope that it can be saved.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 20-Sep-11 10:50:34

The Wikipedia page on co-dependency seems pretty good.

wicketkeeper Tue 20-Sep-11 11:43:34

Very many thanks - I get it now. When I first read the term, I thought it referred to two people who are dependent on each other - which on the face of it doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Now I realise it's referring to situations where the dependency has gone way beyond the 'I'll bath the baby while you cook dinner' type situation. It's interesting that it's seen as a healthy trait 'gone wrong' - I guess in much the same that depression is sadness (normal and healthy in certain situations) gone wrong.

Snorbs Tue 20-Sep-11 11:46:30

Hi, I'm Snorbs, and I'm a co-dependent. (Although I'm getting better).

What ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow says is bang on. Someone who is co-dependent will usually end up in a relationship with someone who has addiction or other issues that mean they're not fully involved in the relationship. The co-dependent will then run him/herself ragged trying to paper over the cracks and keep the relationship lurching from crisis to crisis rather than to simply walk away. They may actively (albeit unwittingly) enable the addictions to continue by clearing up the messes

People with co-dependency issues will tend to be very passive-aggressive rather than straight talking. Eg, they'll try to guilt-trip those they are in a co-dependent relationship into doing what they want instead of simply asking. They also tend towards martyrdom - they'll take on all sorts of things that are not their responsibility and then complain and feel resentful about how everybody relies on them so much.

I think co-dependent traits can usually be traced back to childhood, often with a mother or father who also behaved in a co-dependent manner. As with many such issues, a lot of co-dependency is normal traits (eg trying to help other people, trying to look for the best in people) taken to unhealthy extremes.

There is a "pay-off" for the co-dependent. They spend so much time with their attention rivetted on what someone else is and/or should be doing they can happily ignore their own issues.

dahlia4 Tue 20-Sep-11 19:39:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wileycoyote Tue 20-Sep-11 23:12:35

Hi Snorbs and ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow <waves>
I completely agree with you both - does that make me co-dependent? grin

Squeegle Wed 21-Sep-11 20:22:47

I think I probably am co- dependent - in a relationship for a long time with an alcoholic, always hoping he will get better, have read innumerable books about his problems !!?!? - and now understand my own problems. But he won't leave..... I really want him to now - I have got to the end of my tether, and I know that I can't really help, it's all over to him, and I can't take the tension and living like this any more. But he won't go ..... have you got any advice for me?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 21-Sep-11 21:14:23

Can you be the one to take action and go?

Squeegle Wed 21-Sep-11 21:25:55

well, we have two children, ( + two cats), I'm the main wage earner, and I suppose I really don't think it's fair that I should have to go (added to which he wouldn't be able to pay for the house on his own) - it will be unsettling enough for the kids if their dad does go, and they won't understand why as they absolutely adore him. So I suppose - yes I could do, but I really don't want to! (problem is he knows this really, and uses it against me)

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 21-Sep-11 21:33:21

Since this is a thread on co-dependency, Squeegle, I will point out elements in your post that may be co-dependent thinking:

- " he wouldn't be able to pay for the house on his own "
Is that your responsibility? Why are you making his problems your problems? And why is that holding you back?

- " I really don't think it's fair that I should have to go "
You are waiting for someone else to make a move so you don't have to. You are still in a mindset where you wish to control his behaviour rather than your own.

Squeegle Wed 21-Sep-11 21:43:12

Thank you - I appreciate you pointing out these elements. I see exactly what you mean. It would be my problem if he couldn't pay for the house mind you as it is in my name too. But I agree, I am in a co-dependent mindset which I need to get out of, I need to be able to act rather than wait for action. So I suppose one option is to look to sell the house - and separate our finances. Or I could even look to go myself first. (and I am scared I suppose of the consequences, but I can't bear this limbo situation, this is what is driving me mad)

wileycoyote Wed 21-Sep-11 22:42:35

Read anything by Melody Beattie to find out more - co-dependent no more is a classic

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