We looked at interdependency on Tuesday and defined it as: “A reciprocal collaborative relationship between interdependent entities sharing mutual responsibility and reliance.”
Interdependence allows for healthy cooperation and mutually beneficial relationships. Often we experience its more popular cousin: codependency.
What is Codependency?
A relationship (pictured as an “A”): In codependency, two entities are leaning toward each other, holding each other up sharing in overly dependent relationship. It includes inappropriate responsibility and over/under reliance. Codependency is very internally focused. It’s a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned to survive in a dysfunctional environment.
A psychiatric disorder?
It has been defined as a psychiatric disorder with a DSM IV diagnosis. Codependency includes:
- Continual investment of self-esteem in the ability to influence/control feelings and behavior in self and others in the face of obvious adverse consequences
- Assumption of responsibility for meeting other’s needs to the exclusion of acknowledging one’s own needs
- Anxiety and boundary distortions in situations of intimacy and separation
- Enmeshment in relationships with personality disordered, drug dependent and impulse disordered individuals
- Exhibits in any combination of three or more; constriction of emotions with or without dramatic outbursts, depression, hyper-vigilance, compulsions, anxiety, excessive reliance on denial, substance abuse, recurrent physical or sexual abuse, stress-related medical illnesses, and/or primary relationship with an active substance abuser for at least two years without seeking outside support.
In co-dependency there is still some of the intertwining stated above, but with one partner having an advantage over the other in some way. Codependency therefore lacks mutual responsibility and healthy trust.
Short definition of codependency:
“An unhealthy relationship exhibiting inappropriate dependence, lacking mutual responsibility and healthy trust.”