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What is Codependency?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 12 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Co-dependence; Control; Responsibility;

Co-dependency is a difficult term to describe as there are many issues and concerns surrounding this name.Thought of as a psychological concept a co-dependent could be described as a person who displays excessive and too frequent caring of another person.

Nature of the Persons Upbringing

They believe they are acting in the persons best interest by making choices for them. It is thought to stem from childhood when a child is nurtured in an environment often surrounded by alcohol or substance abuse that they try to conceal from others often excusing or inventing plausible excuses for the behaviour of others. They often adopt a role of primary caregiver to the adult and have to mentally mature very quickly. They assume responsibility for the person and frequently make their decisions for them. In time, the child grows up accompanied by issues of control, trust, intimacy and avoidance of expression of feeling. These symptoms are transferred into their adult relationships, sometimes warranting the person to seek partners that are needy or are susceptible to the excessive care-giving nature of the person.

Co-dependency has also been found in those raised in a family where rules and behaviours are enforced, monitored and punished rigidly.

Often the affected adult will display arrogance and false self-importance as they have not learned how to display emotion. In reality these people are often extremely insecure deep down and do not have much self-worth but do not know how to express themselves in other ways. The common actions of a co-dependent are frequently seen as a way of covering up emotional issues and of protecting themselves from suffering future emotional scarring.

The concept of co-dependency is built up over a period of time and the sufferer usually passes the traits to their own off-spring starting a cycle that is difficult to interrupt.

Treatment For Co-Dependency

The standard treatment for co-dependency is counselling, but this can only take place once the individual is willing to participate and allows the counsellor to lead the treatment thus the care giver becomes the person in need of external care; this can be a difficult task for the sufferer.

Counselling tries to underpin the roots of the problem and discover when and how this problem developed, often causing the individual to face some unpleasant and very truthful memories that have never been addressed or admitted.

The therapist will help the person discover new ways of expressing themselves and how to develop and implement coping mechanisms for issues in everyday life and those relating to their close relationships.

Treatment for underlying depression is also regularly needed; the GP will help decide which is the most appropriate and at what dose.

Natural Personality Characteristic

Some people believe that a degree of this behaviour is a natural personality characteristic, with some arguing that it is a positive feature is some families. There is no right or wrong beliefs or suggestions as such, but if these behaviours cause harmful or degrading lives for the sufferers, it is probably helpful to seek advice and counselling to avoid passing these mannerisms on to future generations.

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