Co-Dependency Counseling and Therapy
Codependency is a learned behavior, we usually “catch it” from our families of origin. Codependency is not genetic, we are not born with it, although our temperament will determine the direction and intensity it takes in our lives.
In its broadest sense, codependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things and events on the outside.
The central issue in every aspect of life for the codependent is the degree of control they can maintain.
The codependent may be so enmeshed with another human being that they actually become addicted to that person. In this interpersonal codependency, the person has become so extensively involved in the other person that the sense of self–personal identity–is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person’s identity and problems. There are severe personal boundary problems in knowing where “I end and you begin.”
As professionals began to understand codependency better, more groups of people appeared to have it: adult children of alcoholics; people in relationships with emotionally or mentally disturbed persons; people in relationships with chronically ill people; parents of children with behavior problems; people in relationships with irresponsible people; professionals in “helping” occupations–nurses, social workers, counselors, pastors and others. Even recovering alcoholics and addicts noticed they were codependent and perhaps had been long before becoming chemically dependent. Codependents started cropping up everywhere.
Another important fact emerged. When a codependent person discontinued their relationship with one troubled person, they frequently found another troubled person.
Codependency comes under the broad category of personality disorders, the DSM-IV code is 301.9 Personality Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (N.O.S.).2 Minirth and Meier define a personality disorder as,…deeply ingrained patterns of maladaptive behavior, often present throughout life. Personality disorders are characterized by behavior patterns rather than by the symptoms (such as anxiety or depression) which typify the clinical syndromes.