Steps to Breaking the Pattern of Codependency

What is codependency? A simple definition of codependency is excessive reliance on a partner that is either emotional or psychological. The truth is codependency is far from simple. Codependent relationships often start with the best of intentions, usually an intention to help or save the other person in some way. However, once the relationship moves from helping to being codependent it becomes unhealthy and highly dysfunctional for both parties.

When a relationship is codependent there is often unhealthy clinginess, excessive dependency on each other for fulfillment, and often one or both parties have no autonomy or self-sufficiency. The pattern that starts out as helping the other person evolves into enabling the other person in some way. Because the codependent is always there to pick up the pieces their partner can continue with unhealthy patterns of immaturity, irresponsibility, under achievement and often addiction without directly suffering the natural consequences of that behavior.

Codependents are the caretakers in the relationship. Initially they start out trying to help their partner and be supportive. At first this may have felt rewarding and left the codependent feeling needed in the relationship. Over time this evolves into a feeling of never ending responsibility for themselves and their partner’s thoughts, emotions, behavior and wellbeing. The codependent ultimately becomes responsible for the relationship as a whole. The codependent finds themselves feeling overwhelmed, helpless and trapped unable to break the cycle of codependency, resulting in dysfunction and unhappiness in the relationship.

As this behavior pattern becomes ingrained codependents may find themselves repeating this behavior in other relationships and friendships. This behavioral pattern maybe something that has evolved over time starting in one relationship and then was repeating in future relationships or it may be something that was learned from others as a result of growing up in or living in a dysfunctional environment for a period of time. To read the rest of this article click on the following link: