The Myth Of Codependency


The Myth Of Codependency
We're not codependent; we're just human
Think you or someone you know is codependent? This article discusses why you're not.

At least once a week in my psychotherapy practice someone claims to either have “codependency problems” or have a partner who is codependent.  Today I am writing to debunk the myth of codependency.

The great psychologist Sue Johnson says “there is no such thing as codependency, there is only effective and ineffective dependency.”  This statement resounds with the truth that

More from YourTango: Codependency, Don't Dance!

We are dependent on each other

whether we like it or not.

If you, like me, were brought up in a western society that values autonomy, such as the U.S., dependency may be a dirty word for you.

You probably think you should be fine without a partner and that you should be able to handle whatever life throws at you by yourself.

Guess what?

You’re wrong.

Please understand this:

We are not wired to be alone.

We do need each other, and this need is not codependency.  It is an innate, wired-in biological need.  Simply stated, we would die without each other.

So stop questioning yourself when you start to feel attached to someone.

You are not weak or codependent, you are human.

To attach safely to another and to be effectively dependent is one of the most healthy things we can do.

If you’re not effectively dependent on your partner, you are ineffectively dependent on each other.  Your relationship may be insecure or unstable.  You may question whether it will last.

As a result of such instability, you may act in away that embodies ineffective dependency, but that you or your partner may label as “codependent” behavior.  For example, you may feel excessively clingy or “needy.”

If someone I meet with is exhibiting such behavior, it is clear to me that their needs are simply not getting met.

Maybe because of a history of trauma, or a lifetime of not having a safe someone to connect to (which is traumatic in itself), their level of “neediness” is higher than others, but this does not make them co-dependent.  It means they needs aren’t getting met. Perhaps they don’t have a template of how to be effectively dependent on another.

We’re all dependent.

In fact, to not attach to another and to be chronically lonely is more of a health hazard than obesity or even smoking cigarettes.

Mayor Bloomberg in NYC is all about banning super sized soft drinks.  How about focusing on educational opportunities on healthy relationships and how to be effectively dependent on each other?

More from YourTango: How to Improve Relationship Communication Without Saying a Word

If you’re getting your real biological needs met by having a healthy relationship, you probably won’t be as apt to drown yourself in in crappy foods or drinks like gazillion ounce sodas anyway.  (And by biological needs, I don’t mean sex, but your sex life will definitely improve with a healthy effectively dependent relationship as well.) Keep Reading...

More relationship advice from YourTango

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Recent Expert Posts
Multi-Ethnic Senior Women In Swimming Pool

Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends

Once you have a clear idea of the kinds of friendships you would enjoy, you can decide to create mor

Cooking Together

6 More Eco-Conscious Ideas For A Better World And A Better You

Here are six tips on how you can have sex more consciously and also be kind to the environment.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>