Understanding Codependence

by | Aug 16, 2023

Codependence is a term that is often used in reference to a specific type of dysfunctional relationship dynamic. It is a pattern of behaviour in which one person in a relationship is overly reliant on the other person, to the extent that their own well-being becomes secondary. This pattern can occur in any type of relationship, including romantic, familial, and even professional relationships.

What is Codependence?

Codependence is often characterized by a lack of boundaries and an unhealthy need for approval and validation from others. People who struggle with codependence may have difficulty recognizing their own needs and feelings and may prioritize the needs of others above their own. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration, as well as a sense of being trapped in the relationship.

Some common signs of codependence include:

  • Difficulty saying no to others
  • An excessive need for approval and validation from others
  • A tendency to put the needs of others before one’s own
  • A fear of abandonment or being alone
  • A tendency to enable others’ unhealthy behaviour
  • Difficulty expressing one’s own emotions and needs

If you recognise these patterns in your own behaviour or in your relationships, it may be helpful to seek support from a therapist or counsellor. Codependence can be a difficult pattern to break, but with the right tools and support, it is possible to cultivate a healthier and more balanced approach to relationships.

Overcoming Codependence

One important step in overcoming codependence is to learn how to set and maintain healthy boundaries. This involves recognizing and expressing your own needs and limits, while also respecting the needs and limits of others. It may also involve learning how to say no to others when necessary and developing a stronger sense of self-worth and self-validation.

Another important aspect of overcoming codependence is to develop a support system outside of the dysfunctional relationship. This may involve building new friendships or seeking out support groups or therapy. By cultivating a strong sense of self and building a network of support, individuals can begin to break free from the patterns of codependence and develop healthier, more fulfilling relationships.


In conclusion, codependence is a complex and often challenging pattern of behaviour that can have a serious impact on one’s well-being and relationships. However, with the right tools and support, it is possible to overcome codependence and cultivate a more healthier and more balanced approach to relationships. By learning how to set healthy boundaries, building a support system, and prioritising one’s own needs and well-being, individuals can break free from the patterns of codependence and build more fulfilling and sustainable relationships.

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