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what exactly does codependent mean?
October 20, 2005
8:59 pm
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jewel
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I have read a lot about people on here being codependent. What is it? It seems really common.

October 20, 2005
9:36 pm
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mamabear
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it is something that can have very different meanings, it is a varied thing. I copied and pasted this from allaboutcounseling pages

Some counseling professionals don't believe in the term codependency because there are many variables and differences between people who have the symptoms (low self-esteem, seeking approval from others, anger/rage, depression, etc.). Despite the complexity and disagreements between individual counselors, the term codependency is still used by many professionals, and there have been many developments in working with clients who exhibit "codependency".
Here's a few signs and symptoms of codependency:

"People with co-dependency may...."

have trouble saying no.
have trouble asking for help.
tailor their actions and conversation around getting attention and approval from others
feel inferior to others/hold a lot of self-doubt.
have high expectations from others, most especially from significant others, and usually get highly angry or irritated when they don't meet those expectations.
focus a lot of mental time and attention on other people, especially significant others.
have difficulty maintaining a stable relationship with a partner.
be in and out of highly volatile (big ups and downs) relationships.
be uncomfortable when not in a relationship.
be frequently depressed.

October 20, 2005
10:06 pm
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Cooper
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Codependency feeling you have to care for someone at all cost. You try very hard to make someone happy and you start to forget how to make yourself happy, they become your main focus point. I believe the other person then gets dependent on you doing so much for them they feel they don't have to give back. Then you start feeling like you have done something wrong, so you try harder to make them happy at all cost. This is what I did.

I am a nurturing person and when hubby became unhappy with his life and his self esteem was gone I did everything in my power to make him happy.

My counselor told me that we end up depending on each other....me focusing on help him and him focusing on me to do things for him.
Both parties end up unhappy, because we don't know what got us to this point or how to get past it...so we just keep doing it...

Codependent No More by Beattie, good book, I am in the process of reading it now!

October 22, 2005
12:00 pm
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Anonymous
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Dear JEWEL,

My understanding is that all people when born are naturally codependent with their parents or caregiver because the adults teach the children how to live by word and by example. So it is very common indeed.

The problem arises when the parent or adult is unhealthy.

For example, when a famous person has a child then we expect that child to learn the famous parent's traits. Like a musician will codependent their children into music. Like Drew Berrymore was a decendent of several big successful actors and she is the same now. So codependency is both positive and negative and often times mixed with some pos and some neg aspects for each of us. The abusive or unhealthy adult will create problems in the dependent child and it is called codependence.

In the military services the military purposely uses the principle (but do not call it CoDA) by forcing the soldiers to only do as they are told. "Yours is not to reason why, yours is but to do and die", so says the old addage. They tell the soldiers how to think and how to feel so that the superiors can control the ranks. So if you have a leader that is nice and considerate then things go well, but if the leader is harsh and mean then things get tuff.

Such is the case with all children if their feelings are taught to them by a warm loving caregiver then happy days, but if the child is born to a harsh adult then they learn the dysfunction that is called codependency.

That is a simplistic discription of what I understand to be codependency.

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