Codependency is broadly defined by Mirriam-Webster as dependence on the needs of or control by another. We commonly identify with it as a “needy” or “clingy” person. However, the reality of codependency goes much deeper than being clingy.
Being dependent on one another for love and support brings value to a relationship. Where it becomes unhealthy is when one person needs to be needed and uses emotional or physical abuse to get what they want. The codependent partner will in turn sacrifice their own wants and needs to please their companion. Although we see codependency most within marriages or other “partner” relationships, it can also be present in friendships or among colleagues.
A codependent person always puts the needs and wants of another person above their own. They have difficulty voicing their opinions or interests. The value of another significantly outweighs the value of themselves. Guilt prevents them from expressing their individual needs. Making decisions is very difficult and often includes seeking validation from others. Anxiety is very common within the relationship. A codependent person will also stay in a relationship (even if there’s abuse) because they don’t feel worthy of anything better.
Codependency is a learned behavior that typically stems from childhood. Once you get to the root, then healing can begin. Just as every human is different, approaches to overcoming codependent behavior will vary. Individual therapy is important to uncover feelings that could go back decades. Group therapy provides an environment of support and security. Discovering hobbies or learning how to take small steps towards freedom of codependent mentality are also key components.
Start your journey to freedom today by calling Garrett Counseling at (256) 239-5662, or fill out our confidential form here. To serve you better, we have offices in Boaz, Huntsville, and Jacksonville and offer in-person or teletherapy visits.