Dreamstime.net One and one in a relationship makes two.
Co-dependency occurs when two people in a relationship see the relationship as more important to them than their individual lives. A co-dependent relationship, depending upon the degree of imbalance in a relationship can lead to outcomes that range from a less than fulfilling life to a very unhealthy one.
Co-dependency can take its shape in varying forms. One of these is when one partner with an addiction problem to drugs or alcohol is cared for by the other person in the relationship. The addicted person seeks to be taken care of, and the other person has their needs met by feeling needed or by enabling the addicted person.
Another common form a co-dependent relationship takes is when one person is extremely self-interested while the other person is begging for that personís attention.
Either way there is an imbalance.
In any relationship, there cannot be too much enmeshment. Two halves make one, not two.
Of course, there will be some give-and-take; some sharing and some sacrifice; but when a person stops functioning healthily, the relationship will become toxic and ultimately disabling for both.
The symptoms of a co-dependent relationship are:
1. A lack of healthy boundaries . For example, the co-dependent gives up being him or herself to please the other member of the relationship. The other person often manipulates or controls the person.
2. Resenting the other person for controlling them, or not taking responsibility for being controlled.
3. Being in this kind of relationship, needing the other, is more important than their own individual lives.
4.Addictions are common. Sometimes the co-dependent does not become addicted to another person, but to a drug. Some people say this is because. Another common scenario in co-dependency is for an addiction person to be 'looked after' by someone who enables them. For example, they may lend them money towards their addiction.
5.Co-dependents have problems with intimacy. They are not really sure of who they are, apart from the other person or their addiction, if the problem has been such for a long time. They thus may have trouble sharing things intimately in a healthy relationship.
There is extensive literature on co-dependency. It is common and exists in many forms to varying degrees of severity.
Importantly it is treatable. It starts with awareness, but requires professional help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.