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Therapist Talk
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Subject Topic: co-dependency Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Posted: 2006 October 28 at 8:04am | IP Logged Quote annali

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I would like to discuss co-dependency with someone who specialises in this.Anybody out there looking for a chat?
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Posted: 2008 August 14 at 5:13pm | IP Logged Quote Guests


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I am unsure if anyone is willing to chat or give FREE advice.  However, it is strange to see that this topic hasn't been answered at all...
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Mrs T
Posted: 2008 September 03 at 9:01am | IP Logged Quote Mrs T

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Hi Annali

I am not a specialist in the field but also find the topic interesting.  Have a look at the article by Jo-Ann Krestand and Claudia Bepko (1989), Codependency: The Social Reconstruction of Female Experience. 

Cheerio for now.

Mrs T
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Posted: 2008 September 04 at 8:54pm | IP Logged Quote Monika

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Generally speaking, co-dependence can be associated with substance use disorders - and often refers to the significant other of a substance dependent, specifically a signifcant other who inadvertantly contributes to the problem by being 'soft' and always putting up with the abuse.  A co-dependent person generally gives and gives and gives, without getting much in return - this ultimatly perpetuates the pathology in the relationship, and in the person with the 'problem'.  Some support grougs such as Nar-anon and Al-anon, as well as Tough Love, address the co-dependence syndrome very well.  THe term co-dependence is not limited to the substance-related disorde field, but can also be a term used in a unhealthy relationship - with one just always putting up with the abuse.

hope that helps... warm regards

Dr Monika dos Santos

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Posted: 2008 September 09 at 12:34pm | IP Logged Quote melissaboulind@
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What is co-dependency?

It is a problem within relationships, where two psychologically dependent people form a relationship.  Neither is able to feel or act independently of the other. 


How do people become co-dependent?

It usually originates from “stuckness” in your development which occurs in childhood.  Two major developmental tasks need to achieve in childhood for continued psychological growth and maturity. 


A co-dependent person will get stuck in:

(1)  Trying to complete bonding by either becoming very attached or very dependent

(2)  Trying to complete separation by very unattached or counter-dependent

(3)  Or cycling back and forth between the 2


How do you know if you may have co-dependent patterns?

  • Low self esteem or sense of self worth
  • Constant need for approval, attention, affirmation from others to make you feel good about yourself
  • Rely on others to define your need sand wants
  • Need other people to make decisions for you
  • Need some outside form of stimulation to distract you from your feelings (alcohol, food, drugs, sex)
  • Cannot become close to others without fearing a loss of self
  • Cannot maintain a positive self image if criticized by others
  • Unable to meet their own needs effectively
  • Passive – wait for others to fill their needs
  • Master at dominating:  controlling,  masers at getting their own way

Areas co-dependent people need to grow in and develop

·        Strong internal sense of self worth

·        Develop a sense of self that enables you to accept responsibility for your actions

·        Able to verbalize feelings

·        Deal effectively with fear and anxiety

·        Learn to share cooperate and handle aggression

·        Assertiveness skills

·        Learn to communicate needs and wants clearly, honestly and in a direct way

·        Learn to separate own needs and feelings from others

·        Set clear boundaries

·        Strive for interdependence

·        Become active rather than passive


I hope that the above is helpful as a starting point.

Kind Regards



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Posted: 2008 September 09 at 4:46pm | IP Logged Quote Monika

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The term is an offshoot of co-alcoholic, denoting the overprotective partner of a chemical dependent. Though definitions vary, most clinicians agree that the psychological condition (vs. disease or character defect) of codepen-dence is characterized by compulsively sacrificing your own values, prefer-ences, friends, and identity to avoid upsetting or risking rejection by a special adult or child. "Co" notes that the condition involves two people.

        Codependents typically deny or rationalize doing this, or say "I can't help it." Usually both people are wounded survivors of low-nurturance childhoods, and don't know this or what to do about it. Because this condition effectively reduces current inner pain and amplifies it long-term, many class it as a re-lationship addiction

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Posted: 2008 September 12 at 12:57pm | IP Logged Quote Perpetua


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Codependency was originally associated with substance abuse/addiction. It has been widened to imcorporate dysfunctional problem solving patterns developed in childhood. It is maladaptive, and compulsive.

In therapy sessions, codependency can be modified by catalyzing assertiveness, communication, and listening.

Best regards,


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