What is Codependence?
This term grew out of co-alcoholic, denoting the overprotective partner of a chemical addict. Though definitions vary, most clinicians agree that the psychological condition (vs. disease or character defect) of codependence is characterized by compulsively sacrificing your own values, preferences, friends, and identity to avoid upsetting or risking rejection by a special adult or child. "Co" notes that the condition invol-ves two people.
Codependents typically deny or rationalize doing this, or say "I can't help it." Usually both people are wounded survivors of low-nurtur-ance childhoods, and don't know this or what to do about it. Because this condition effectively reduces current inner pain and amplifies it long-term, many call it a relationship addiction. Once codependents acknow-ledge their harmful compulsion, they can reduce it. Lesson 1 in this site offers a way to do so. There is now much help available because code-pendence (psychological wounds) affects so many people and families.