What is CoDependancy

My interest in codependancy was sparked by the book "Women Who Love Too Much" by Robin Norwood. The subtitle is:" When You Keep Hoping and Wishing He'll Change." Because we believe we have the power and determination to change someone, we stay even if we are unhappy.

There are many definitions of codependancy and one of these seems most universal and all-encompassing.

Codependancy is a reliance on someone or something OUTSIDE ourselves in order to know how we must act, think, or feel.

This is the opposite of self-determination. If we are codependant we have to "read" or scan our environment before we know how to act or if we are safe. Based on these signals, we modify what we do so as not to create or provoke unwanted or dangerous responses in others. We become people-pleasers to prevent abandonment and avoid conflict.

Most people think of codependancy as being in a relationship with an addict or alcoholic. This has evolved to mean anyone choosing or staying with a person with behaviors or moods that are unpreditable or undesirable. Believing we CAN change someone, codependents will stay in a relationship and tolerate intolerable behaviors. It is hard for them to believe otherwise. Sometimes it is because the relationship is familiar to that of our parents. Sometimes it is because we think we don't deserve better or we can't find anyone else to love us. We may become critical and controlling; we can't relax and we probably don't like who we've become.