Codependency is a term used to describe a type of unhealthy relationship dynamic in which one person is overly reliant on another person for their emotional and psychological well-being. In codependent relationships, one person may feel responsible for the happiness and well-being of the other person and may go to great lengths to try to control or fix the other person’s problems.
Codependency can manifest in many different ways. Some common characteristics of codependent relationships include:
- Difficulty setting boundaries and saying no to others
- Difficulty identifying and expressing one’s own feelings and needs
- Difficulty with self-care and self-worth
- Excessive caretaking or controlling behavior
- Difficulty letting go or detachment when a relationship ends
Codependency can be harmful to both the person who is codependent and the person who is being overly relied upon. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and resentment in the codependent person, and it can also create feelings of suffocation or resentment in the person being overly relied upon.
Codependency is often rooted in early life experiences and can be related to issues such as low self-esteem, a history of abuse or neglect, and a lack of healthy role models. It can be addressed through therapy, self-help groups, and other forms of support.