What is codependency? Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship dynamic where one person assumes the role of “the giver,” sacrificing their own needs and well-being for the sake of the other, “the taker.” The bond in question doesn’t have to be romantic; it can occur just as easily between parent and child, friends, family members, and things.

Let’s talk about things and how codependency works. Say you are a smoker and most smokers say they smoke cigarettes to relax, calm their nerves, take a break, and feel comfort. Now you want to quit but you love your cigarettes and how they make you feel. The cigarettes give you comfort and calm and you keep taking because you need this. Change is hard when you have this relationship.

Food is another common battle for people. Same as before, a person over-eats or eats bad things to fill a void, something they are missing emotionally. This can be a childhood trauma or something more recent. Stuffing your feelings of loneliness, shame, feeling unloved, and more so you try to fill yourself up. But the feeling is temporary and now the cycle begins while the food gives and you take.

Finally, we do have people relationships that can be toxic because of the extreme giver and taker roles. It can also be subtle, such as a parent and child where the child is the taker. The parent should recognize this and start changing the relationship but that is only if the parent does not have trauma themselves and likes the codependency as it fills something for them. In this example, the parent should encourage the child to troubleshoot and make decisions on their own no matter how much they beg their parent to decide for them. Offer guidance and advice but be careful not to make the decisions for them. There is more you can do here but this is a good start.

Now, when you think about the desire to change, recognize where you have these codependent relationships. Start breaking that down and remember, you are gaining so much by eliminating codependencies. Eliminating or simply evolving into something healthier. It is a challenging journey no matter which it is, but it is worth it.