Codependency seems to be a hot topic right now in the counseling world. But often we talk about codependency as a condition we have instead of a set of choices we make.
“A codependent person is one who lets another person’s behavior affect him or her and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” (Melody Beattie in Codependent No More)
Years ago “codependent relationship” was only used to describe the relationship between an alcoholic and their family. Now, studies are showing that codependency can take place in relationships where one person has any type of dependency. This dependency could be on drugs, sex, food, work, gambling, perfectionism, etc. This means codependency is way more common than we originally thought. It is important to address the codependent tendencies in your relationships for you to be a healthy individual.
Why the Codependent Stays
It’s obvious that life with an alcoholic, gambler, drug addict, sex addict etc etc, would have its issues. From the outside it may be confusing why the codependent remains in a relationship with the dependent. The secret is, the codependent is just as addicted, but on something entirely different, something you wouldn’t normally think of. The codependent is addicted to being the hero, their desire to “fix it”, making others happy, and saying “yes”. The codependent is a people pleaser to the extreme. What makes this even more of a problem is the fact that the time and energy that the codependent spends on taking care of others keeps them from taking care of themselves (kinda like picking bugs off someone else's tail). The codependent is often intimidated by the idea of paying attention to what they are thinking and feeling. They take care of others in order to avoid their own emotions, dreams, hopes, and desires. This often leads to issues with the codependent not knowing who they are.