Codependent relationship is a term that most individuals don’t really understand. Many times, codependency is mistakenly referred to as a person who is overly needy in their romantic relationships. While neediness can be a sign of a codependent relationship, it isn’t a valid way to portray this type of damaging relationship. In fact, codependency is far more in-depth than just one or two character traits. Some needy people are not codependent at all and some codependents don’t outwardly act needy. By the end of this article, the goal is that you’ll have a better understanding of codependent relationships and what makes them up.
In actuality, the word codependent is relatively new. It was coined in the 1970′s sometime, even though codependent behavior has been around for a lot longer than that. Some counselors began noticing that the family members, especially spouses and children, of alcoholics exhibited common traits to one another. What was happening was that many of these family members were spending the bulk of their time dealing with the problems that their loved one’s addiction was causing. At first, people who exhibited these traits were referred to by therapists as co-alcoholics. Eventually, though, therapists started to note that others also demonstrated this type of unhealthy behavior – not just those who were in relationships with alcoholics or addicts.
Another problem is that codependency is a confusing disorder because it covers a wide variety of symptoms. However, most people who are codependent have some similar characteristics, which include:
- Codependents usually find their self-worth from their role in a relationship and don’t feel they have any when on their own.
- Many codependents try hard to help others with their problems and shortcomings through covering for them, offering unwanted advice, etc.
The sad part about codependency is that people who suffer from this disorder are rarely able to stay in relationships, and the ones they do have are unhealthy. This can’t change unless the codependent chooses to make a change. There is good news as well! Codependency is a behavior that is learned. That means that new, healthier, behaviors can also be learned. The bad news is that the only person who can make a change is the codependent. He/she must be willing to acknowledge that the way they relate is unhealthy and also be willing to take steps to change their behaviors.
People who are codependent aren’t bad people. In fact, they are normally very good people who care deeply about others. They usually just don’t care enough about themselves. If this sounds like you, it’s worth your time to learn more about what makes a person codependent and what you can to do make good changes in your life.