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Is all your energy directed at meeting your partner's needs? Are you the only one making sacrifices for your relationship? Do you feel trapped in your relationship? You may be codependent. 

Codependency is characterized by a person belonging in a one-sided, dysfunctional relationship where one person relies on the other to meet all their emotional needs. It also describes a relationship where one person enables the other to maintain their addictive, irresponsible, or self-sabotaging behaviour.

Defining Codependency

To define codependency, first we must separate it from interdependent relationships. Having dependency needs is not unhealthy. In an interdependent relationship, each party can rely on the other for understanding, support, and comfort. At the same time, each party remains self-sufficient and maintains an identity apart from their relationship.

Codependent relationships sees one party overdependent on the other. The codependent must be needed, and only feel good about themselves unless they are sacrificing for their partner. Without being depended upon, they feel alone, inadequate, and unworthy.

A key sign of codependency is when one party's sole purpose in life is to make extreme sacrifices in order to satisfy the other party's needs. Other symptoms can be a low self-esteem, inability to say no , poor boundaries, problems with intimacy, care-taking, denial, painful emotions, and anxiety.

The consequences of codependency can include burnout, exhaustion, neglect of other important relationships, and enabling, i.e. preventing the other party from getting the help they need.

Chabad Lifeline helps anyone affected by codependency, offering one on one support as well as group therapy for both the codependent and anyone affected by the codependency. 

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