Over the years, codependency has evolved to describe a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem-solving that develops during childhood under the influence of family rules.

One definition of codependency is a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by family members to cope with significant emotional pain and stress.

  • Maladaptive: Inability to develop behaviors that meet one’s needs effectively.
  • Compulsive: Psychological state where a person acts against their own will or conscious desires.
  • Sources of great emotional pain and stress: Include chemical dependency, chronic mental illness, chronic physical illness, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, divorce, and hypercritical or non-loving environments.

As adults, individuals with codependency tendencies often seek out relationships with partners who may be unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy. They tend to take on the role of providing and controlling everything within the relationship while neglecting their own needs and desires, which perpetuates feelings of dissatisfaction.

Healing from codependency is possible. Since it is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned. If you value your relationship and wish to nurture it, focusing on your own healing is essential.

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