Co-dependency is a psychological term used to define a person, condition or a relationship that has harmful levels of dependency and often elements of emotional and psychological abuse.  The co-dependent person feels they have to be needed by the other person in the relationship.  They will feel that being needed by the other person is their reason for living and can often wish for or encourage scenarios in which they will be needed to care for or provide for the other.  The relationship is usually dysfunctional on the both sides and the other party will often take advantage of this to manipulate and control.  A co-dependent relationship is often a term used to describe a relationship where one person has a substance abuse problem, narcissistic tendencies or is involved in some other kind of self-destructive behaviour.  This can refer to a romantic, family, working, or friendship based relationship. A characteristic that is common in any co-dependant relationship is the need to be controlled or the desire to be in control of the other person. This makes for an unhealthy relationship where at least one individual suffers psychologicallyand emotionally. The co-dependent will often have very low self-esteem and self-worth and will allow themselves to be taken advantage of by the other person.  They often feel that they do not have the strength to break free from the relationship, or suffer feelings of guilt and shame for even thinking that way.  Without the other person’s needs and demands of them, they feel lost with no purpose or direction.

Symptoms of Co-dependency


Co-dependency can take on many forms, but some symptoms are present in most co-dependents:

  • Avoidance of emotions and problems by focusing on the other person
  • A need to be needed
  • Being unassertive or feeling guilt around being assertive
  • Unable to make decisions
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Need for perfectionism
  • Places the needs of others in front of their own basic needs
  • Fear of being rejected or abandoned
  • Overly attentive and caring of the other individual
  • Unable to detach emotionally from the relationship
  • Constant approval and gratitude seeking
  • Feelings of distrust towards others outside of the relationship
  • Isolation from healthy relationships
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Co-dependency can become dangerous and even life threatening when there is emotional, psychological, or physical abuse present in the relationship.  If you or a loved one is suffering from co-dependency, Sanctuary Lodge can provide a comprehensive psychological and holistic treatment programme to help the individual break free from the desire and need to be co-dependent.  We can offer treatment to help the individual recover fully from co-dependency and go on to have healthier and happier relationships in future. We also help the individual to recover their own self-worth and become at ease and accepting of themselves as an independent person. We do this by treating the root causes of the problem using a combination of proven therapies, including trauma, 12 step therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and holistic treatments.

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