Codependence is a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person with low self-esteem and a strong desire for approval has an unhealthy attachment to another person. They place the needs of the other person before their own. A codependent person tries to satisfy the needs of another, who is often controlling or manipulative and who may have an addictive or emotionally unstable personality. Codependency is about damaged self-esteem, damaged functional boundaries, and an intense focus on pleasing other people while denying one’s own needs and wants.

Codependence can also be excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to substance abuse or mental health issues. Well known self-help author Melody Beattie defines a codependent person as one who has let another person’s behaviour affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behaviour. People who are codependent often have a background of prolonged exposure to oppressive rules and in childhood were not allowed to openly express themselves.  This emotional and psychological pattern continues into adulthood, where the codependent will put themselves in situations that mimic past patterning. The rules they had to follow did not allow them to discuss feelings, emotions or perceptions openly.

Codependent people may always be attracted to alcoholics, drug addicts or other similarly needy and emotionally unavailable people. They may feel they must be in a relationship to feel worthwhile and may be unable to end a relationship that is not healthy.  They are often people pleasers who do not take time for themselves. They can even forget that they need to take care of themselves. The dynamic in the relationship is one of manipulation, control, enmeshment and giving up aspects of oneself….

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