top of page

Codependency refers to an unhealthy reliance on another person and always involves two people in any kind of relationship, not necessarily a romantic one.

Spiritual awakening

People vulnerable to codependent relationships often pick people who ‘need’ them in some way, perhaps they have an addiction, are emotionally repressed, immature or mentally unstable/anxious and need us to support them. And feeling needed brings a form of temporary relief to the person sacrificing themselves as they then have a purpose in life and feel they have some importance to someone else. But the second you don’t feel needed; if the other person criticises or rejects you, or you haven’t read them right; you’re sent into a tailspin of ‘I got it wrong, I’m not enough, what do I need to do to make this ok’. This can quickly change the relationship, from feeling of value to feeling walked over and taken for granted, and to walking on eggshells to avoid conflict. But also not feeling you can leave at this stage even if it feels toxic as they ‘need’ you too much, and you would be a bad person if you left.

Spiritual awakening

It differs from a healthy relationship where you can ‘depend’ on each other when you need support, in that there isn’t a choice involved and it isn’t an occasional thing; there is always a ‘giver‘ and a ‘taker’, and the ‘giver’ is always expected to prioritise the other’s needs. It’s like a merging or enmeshment of two people, where one person is prepared to sacrifice their own needs in order to meet those of the other and shape themselves around them, and the other person, the ‘taker’, is prepared to let them do that because it fulfils their own needs. While both codependents have their own trauma and dysfunction, for the purpose of this article I am focusing on the role of the ‘giver’.

If you have a poor concept of self and don’t really know who you really are (as outlined in People pleasing/False Self’), and only know your value in relation to what you can be for others, you are at risk of attracting a codependent relationship. 

Spiritual awakening

Codependency starts in childhood or adolescence, usually with a parental figure but sometimes with a sibling or anyone very close to you. It occurs commonly in children of alcoholics but also with a parent that has narcissistic tendencies, or is needy or emotionally unavailable. It can also occur with a parent that isn’t boundaried enough and oversteps the role of father or mother and uses their child in a maladaptive way to fill a need in themselves, in a sort of merged relationship; so being over-reliant on their child. The commonality of all of these scenarios is that the child isn’t encouraged to become their own individual self.

As a result children are taught that their own needs are less important than their parents’ needs, or not important at all. They focus on the parent’s need and don’t think of themselves; if they do they might even be reprimanded as selfish or greedy for wanting anything for themselves. And so they learn to ignore their basic desires for comfort or connection and focus only on what they can be for others. The perfect setup for a codependent relationship to occur in adulthood.

Spiritual awakening

Codependency is a response to trauma

It’s an unhealthy focus on another person’s needs.

There is a huge annihilistic response to any form of criticism because it undermines your understanding of yourself as a selfless caregiver. 

You need to control and have all the responsibility. Needing to be the reliable one that makes things happen. You need to be relied upon, though this is pretty much unconscious but feels ‘safe’.

You’re not aware or are in denial of your own feelings and needs. Super independent!

Not expressing what you actually need for fear of offending the other person or them leaving you. Treading on eggshells.

Giving when it’s not okay. Especially in sexual relationships because it will be going past a boundary you’re not okay with, but also in any area where you’re giving more than you really want to.








7 things to understand and recognise about codependency

  • LinkedIn
bottom of page