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What is Codependency?

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

What is Codependency?

What is Codependency?

Codependency is a coping mechanism brought on, usually by a trauma response of not having your needs met in childhood. It involves reliance on others for validation, love and self-worth. It is also the difficulty of attuning to honouring one's own boundaries while often taking on others' needs before your own. Or it is manipulating others to feel secure. This can occur with a parent and child, partner to partner, friend to friend, or even co-worker and boss. It's a large spectrum, and the dynamics change over time.

It's essentially about getting all your needs met by this other person because, psychologically, you've had a problematic, neglectful, or abusive parent. As a result, you've had to work hard to get their love, and you're used to not getting their devotion. You may become a carer or may become very needy or clingy. Codependents may have lots of anxiety when they physically separate from their partner, causing separation anxiety that starts in childhood and is on a spectrum with Codependency later in life.

It's essential to highlight that many people think Codependency is just that clingy thing or think about it as putting others' needs before yourself. There are so many different facets and dynamics. However, the root is still the same: 'I'm going to change my behaviour, not honour my own needs to feel love and connection with someone else, even if it means rejecting them first, so I don't have to be abandoned.'

codependant tendencies

Relying on others for self-approval

Feeling responsible for others' thoughts, emotions, or actions

Struggling to define and maintain personal boundaries and inability to say No

Fear of abandonment


Making excessive and non-reciprocated sacrifices on behalf of our relationship

Feeling inadequacy, low self-worth

People-pleasing and sacrificing personal needs to support the perceived desires of others

narcissistic parents create codependant children

Codependents are people who cannot live their own lives authentically. They live vicariously, have no real sense of their own identity and don't know who they are. They are like chameleons, taking their colours from their surroundings. Above all, they desperately want to be loved, needed and highly regarded.

They attempt to control and manipulate others by whatever means they can.

They can't say no, and they let others walk all over them. Codependents are people-pleasers, always putting others first at the expense of themselves. Initially, they may seem

highly caring, loving and self-sacrificing. But always, beneath the apparent saintliness, they seek to control others.

Codependents are relationship addicts who can come from all classes of society. Because codependents do not have a strong personal sense of identity, they possess little sense of self-worth.

Compulsive in everything they do, they rush headlong into relationships that inevitably go wrong. They may be obsessive workaholics or drinkers, hobbyists, or over-achievers. Like all compulsions, it's a progressive condition that will worsen unless addressed.

low self esteem


Overcoming Codependency can be challenging, but it is possible with the right strategies and support. Here are some methods that may be helpful:

- Self-awareness: The first step in overcoming Codependency is to become aware of your behaviour patterns and how they may contribute to your codependent tendencies. This may involve exploring your own feelings, beliefs, and values.

- Setting boundaries: Learning to set and enforce healthy boundaries is essential to overcoming Codependency. This may involve saying "no" to requests that are not in your best interest or limiting how much you are willing to give to others.

- Improving self-esteem: Working on core beliefs that you are enough and no longer seek approval and validation from others.

- Developing self-care practices: Taking care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs is integral to overcoming Codependency. This may involve developing a regular exercise routine, practising relaxation techniques, or engaging in activities that bring you joy.

- Seeking support: Overcoming Codependency often requires the support of others. This may involve seeking the help of a therapist or support group or reaching out to friends and family members who can provide emotional support.

- Learning to communicate effectively: Developing effective communication skills is essential to overcoming Codependency. This may involve learning to express your own needs and emotions.

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