Someone may have said to you that you are codependent, or you have may have heard the term somewhere or read about it. Codependency is a clinical term which describes an unhealthy relationship between two people. Many times it’s in the context relationships where one person uses alcohol and drugs.
It is a relationship where one person puts the needs of the other person in the relationship above their own. While it is healthy to put the needs of your loved ones first, it is not healthy to do so to the point where you ignore your own needs completely. It is when a person fears being alone, and is terrified at the possibility of not being needed. One person is called the enabler.
The codependent person is likely to have low self-esteem, even though they are often the one taking care of many things. A person who experiences codependency gets their self-worth from sources other than themselves. They train themselves to know the behaviors and triggers of the other person in their relationship. These people do all that they can to keep the other person in their relationship happy, to keep them from getting upset. Instead of seeking a partner in a relationship who is more suitable for them, a codependent person will instead change themselves to fit into the dysfunctions in the current relationship. There is a vicarious quality of living through another person and always feeling neglected.
People who experience codependency do not have high self esteem, and this is likely to be a contributing factor. These people in all likelihood do not feel like they deserve any better than what they have, and they feel like they are lucky to have anything at all in the first place. These people are said to be in constant denial, suppressing their true feelings about the relationship that they are in.
There is an odd relation of passivity and being controlling. Often there is such a pre-occupation with the other person’s drinking or addiction and a project to reform or change them. Often an enabler comes from a difficult background. These people will focus on their partner not being reach their potential. These behaviors or personality traits are deeply rooted, and take time and significant effort to change. Therapy is very helpful at breaking through these areas. Attending meetings such as Al-Anon can be very helpful to learn about the reason for taking a caretaker role.