As a person in the modern world, you have likely heard of the word “codependency.”  You may have even wondered if you or someone you care about is codependent.  But…what is it and how can someone manage it?

   If you were to do a google search, you would find lots and lots of definitions.  In a nutshell, codependency is when Person A in a relationship enables Person B to continue using bad behaviors and make poor choices, which often includes things like addiction, poor mental health, laziness, a lack of effort, etc.  Person A not only gives a form of silent consent to the behaviors, but Person A may even be doing things to help Person B continue the behaviors, such as give them money, make excuses, do all of the chores, and so on.

   Person A tends to do this because he/she is so in need of love and approval from Person B that he/she will do nearly anything to keep Person B happy.  In these types of relationships, both Person A and Person B likely rely on the other to meet many if not nearly all of their needs, whether the needs are emotional, financial, and/or physical.  The relationship is unbalanced.  One person seems to adopt the role of being the giver and the other the role of the taker.  What’s interesting, however, is that there is often an element of push and pull found in these relationships and the roles can switch back and forth.

   So if you find that you are in a codependent relationship (go ahead and check out the quiz on my webpage to help with this question), you may be wondering what to do.  Should you get out asap?  Should you stay?  Should you try to couples counseling?  What is the right answer?

   Well, seeing as how people and relationships are both extraordinarily complicated, there is (of course) no one right answer.   Understanding and addressing the why’s of such a relationship is something that needs way more time and attention than this blog permits, but two things are very clear…

   First, in order to heal a relationship, it is typically best if each person within the relationship is working on healing themselves.  Everyone comes into each relationship with their own baggage and no matter what someone tells you, everyone, and I mean everyone is some sort of messed up.  And if the issues aren’t addressed, they will rear their sneaky, nasty little heads in all sorts of maladaptive ways.  These issues are directly impacting every single relationship every single person has.  So, it’s really in everyone’s best interest to work on these issues independent of any relationship.  Because they are vastly important to the health and wellness of both the individual and of all relationships that they have.

   Second, it is important for each person in the relationship to understand what his/her wants and needs are and in a perfect world, would understand where they all came from.  This goes back to the first point about doing the individual work.  So, give yourself permission to take the time and space to determine what these are.  Give yourself permission to talk to a therapist or counselor to help sort all of this out.

   Remember, in all relationships you have, regardless of who they are with, each person is just trying to get their needs met.  And the clearer everyone is on what these needs are, the easier it is to effectively convey them to one another.

   This is truly where happiness stems from.  And you, yes YOU deserve to be in loving, fulfilling relationships and to be happy.