What is codependency?

The original definition of codependency was the set of responses and behaviours people develop while living with a partner or family member who is an alcoholic. It is now generally accepted that codependency may develop in anyone living with someone who is an addict, regardless of which substance is being abused, or may even develop if you live in a household with someone who has a chronic mental or physical illness.

One current definition of codependency describes a person who has too much emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, parent, or family member who has an illness or addiction. Generally speaking, codependency can be defined as a set of compulsive behaviours learned by family members in order to adapt in a setting where there is addiction, neglect, physical or emotional abuse, chronic illness or a dysfunction that creates an environment of significant emotional pain and stress.

“We do not have to spend our lives reacting to others, we can set boundaries, we can learn to trust and listen to ourselves, but most importantly we can learn to set goals and find a direction for our own lives. Learning to place a value on ourselves, not by how other people view us, but how we view and value ourselves. The power of saying “no” in any relationship is fundamental in being true to ourselves.”

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