Codependency is a term that is most frequently used to describe a relationship defined by being overly reliant emotionally or psychologically on a person whom often is requiring a high level of support due to illness or addiction. Codependent relationships are often one sided and involve a component of being abusive, unhealthy and/or destructive in some way.
This term was originally coined through work with families who had an alcoholic family member as it was observed that often a spouse or significant other would enable the behaviors of the alcohol. Enabling behaviors are things that someone can do to make the alcoholic or other toxic behavior easier for the person to continue.
Therapy to help someone struggling with issues related to codependency involves learning to set boundaries and limits. Sometimes when we have a desire to help others we can lose sight of doing the things that will take the best care of our own needs. Overcoming codependent characteristics also often involves learning to love yourself and feel worthy of the relationships you desire. A therapist can help you learn the skills you need to have the relationships you deserve.
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