codependency-suitWhat is co-dependency?
An emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition that develops as a result of an individual’s extended exposure to, and practice of , a set of harsh rules which prevent the open expression of feelings as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problem. Those self defeating, learned behaviors or character defects that result in a diminished power to begin or to contribute in loving relationship. In co-dependency a person feels powerless to maintain healthy limitations and mutually satisfying relationship. He is unable to stop the person to hurt him and finds it difficult to manage his obsessions to control that person.

Who is co-dependent?
A co-dependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behaviors.

When the concept of co-dependency was introduced?
In the 1940s, the wives of alcoholics formed a support group after the establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous. The major purpose was to deal with the stresses of living with the alcoholic mate. Twelve steps program was revised for the purpose and then it was evolved as Al-Anon meetings. Later in 1979, the term co-dependent was introduced. They defined it as

“Co-dependents are people whose lives had become unmanageable as a result of living in a committed relationship with an alcoholic.”

Is co-dependency a disease?
It is called a disease of relationship, which is chronic and progressive in nature.

It is also said that they want sick and needy people around them to be happy in an unhealthy way. They have their own inadequacies and contaminated emotions and to satisfy them they can choose anyone around them in their close relations.

Once it takes over, than the codependent really needs to work on it. Like any other chronic illness this problem also needs healing and recovery.

In this disease, the person suffers psychologically, emotionally and even physically, so during the treatment program of any alcoholic or addict, the family living with him needs to address their co-dependency as well. In this way the whole family gets on the road of recovery.

Coping style of co-dependents:
It was noticed that many people in close relationships with the chemically dependent person developed the same patterns of reactions and coping that resembled the coping patterns of their alcoholic or addict. Also got indulged in gambling, overeating, under eating, insomnia, rage, lashing back, even drugging.



  • Feel responsibly to fix the situations of other person’s feelings, thoughts, behaviors, needs and even destiny.
  • Feel compelled to help others by giving unwanted suggestions.
  • Can’t say NO when they want to and feels guilty if they say NO.
  • Feel dis-satisfied when the given help does not work.
  • Feel guilty when someone gives to them or help them.
  • Feels angry, victimized, unappreciated and used.
  • Feel incomplete when someone does not accept the help.
  • Find themselves attracted towards needy people.


  • Come from troubled repressed or dysfunctional families.
  • Blame themselves for every bad thing.
  • Get defensive, angry, self righteous and criticized.
  • Rejects compliments and when not given; feels depressed.
  • Believe that they can’t do anything right.
  • Afraid of making mistakes
  • Feel like victims and feel guilty about spending money on themselves.
  • Neglect their own needs and do not deserve the best.
  • Take things personally
  • Does not make any decisions.
  • Think that nothing good would happen in their life.
  • Believe that they are needy.
  • Feeling empty from within and satisfy themselves from helping others.


  • Push their thoughts and feelings out of their awareness because of fear and guilt.
  • Become afraid to let themselves be who they are.
  • Appear rigid and controlled.


  • Feel terribly anxious about problem even trivial matters.
  • Abandon their routine due to their extreme worries.
  • Wonder why they don’t have enough energy.
  • Leave the things incomplete
  • Suffer with sleep problems and unable to focus on anything.
  • Try to catch on other people at mistakes.


  • Try to control each and every behavior of the other person.
  • Do not allow others to commit mistakes.
  • Control others by advice giving, threats, manipulations, domination and helplessness.
  • Have strong fear of losing control.
  • Get easily frustrated and angry when people don’t comply with them.
  • Provoke others easily.
  • Believe that they know the best and other should follow them.
  • Use the absolutizing words like, always, never, ever, should and must.


  • Ignore problems and pretend that they are not happening.
  • Minimize the intensity of circumstances
  • Keep themselves all the time busy.
  • Get confused.
  • Get depressed and sick more frequently.
  • Go to doctors and take the tranquilizers.
  • Spend money compulsively.
  • Lie to others and themselves.
  • Become workaholics.
  • Overeat.


  • Blame, threaten, beg, bribe, and advise.
  • Don’t say what they mean and vice versa.
  • Ask for what they want and need indirectly.
  • Find it difficult to get to the point and not even sure about their point of view.
  • Gauge their words carefully to achieve the desired results.
  • Easily please or provoke the people.
  • Pressured speech.
  • Avoid talking about themselves.
  • Go to the extremes in conversations.
  • Lie to protect and cover up for people they love.
  • Have difficulty in asserting others, either provoke others or become passive.
  • Begin to be cynical, self degrading or hostile in conversations.


  • Say they won’t tolerate any thing, but increase their tolerance of same behaviors when they get repetitive.
  • Allow others hurt them and easily hurt others.
  • When the situations get worse they lose their control over anger and become highly aggressive.
  • Unable to figure this out why people hurt them.
  • Being inquisitive about everything of the other person’s life.
  • Show their love to other person by being overly involved in his life which can easily irritate him.

In the later stages of co-dependency, they may feel:

  • Lethargic, isolated, depressed, withdrawn, hopeless
  • And detached.
  • Think about suicide.
  • Become violent
  • Get emotionally, physically and mentally ill.
  • Become addicted to alcohol or any other mood altering substance.