by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
2018, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for
educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure
of any disease or health condition.
refers to a common and unhealthy addictive quality of some relationships. A relationship is said to be co-dependent
when the parties need or use each other to lean on, so to speak, rather than to
enrich each other’s lives.
One could call it “mutual use” instead of a love-based relationship.
affects millions of people worldwide.
It is not a black-or-white situation, in that some relationships have
some co-dependent qualities and some healthy qualities at the same time.
is a type of addictive situation. When a
similar situation occurs with an object, such as cigarettes, it is called
addiction. Co-dependency and
addiction are very similar, only with co-dependency it involves a sort of
addiction to a person in some way, or to a relationship.
AND THE FAMILY
families develop or are even based on co-dependent relationships. This occurs for many reasons, such as
living closely together, bringing up each other’s issues, having children when
one is immature or not ready, and sexual and intimacy issues that naturally
arise in families.
families must beware and watch for the signs of co-dependency, because it
definitely takes the love and joy out of family life.
PSYCHOLOGY OF CO-DEPENDENCY AND ADDICTION
In co-dependency and other addictions, someone or something
seems attractive because he, she or it makes you feel better. However, in reality it is not healthy
for you, and usually your energy is being drained by it. However, it causes a temporary ‘high’
in some way, so that you are not aware of the unhealthy nature of the
In the area of relationships, another person comes
along, and can appear to “make you whole” or complete you. While this can happen to a degree, it
usually leads to a co-dependent relationship. It is much better if you are not “missing anything”, and you
can enter relationships for the purpose of spreading love, and not out of need,
which often results in co-dependency.
WHAT KIND OF NEEDS CAN CAUSE A CO-DEPENDENT
The answer is that any type of need can do it. Among the most common ones are a need
for companionship or distraction, a need for sex or “love”, a need for
financial support and protection, a need for a housekeeper, cook, maid, or even
just a need for someone to keep you from feeling lonely.
the above are the most common reasons people start relationships. However, for a relationship to be the
best, one must overcome the need part and focus more on loving the other
person. Otherwise, what seems like
love underneath is just fear of rejection or loss. This is not the same as acting from love. Acting from love means that one does
what is best for oneself and one’s partner. Acting from fear may not be nearly alike, and often hurts
the partner in the long run, although it may not appear that way at first.
weakens you will predispose you to addiction and co-dependency. This is why alcohol and cigarettes are
such a problem. They weaken the
body, increasing the need for the addictive substance.
relationships that weaken a person in certain ways will result in a
Examples may include becoming involved with a person who is too powerful
or controlling, violent, needy, too nice, unpredictable, or something else.
Usually, the person has other qualities that are quite
attractive, so one becomes involved with the person. However, the negative qualities damage you and weaken you at
the same time. Eventually, you
realize that no matter how good the sex, or how much money the person gives you,
or how sweet the person is, something is not right because you feel weaker or
unhappy around the person.
psychology is similar to that of addiction. The other person, or the relationship itself, results in a
temporary 'high’. You may feel superior, or their
behavior causes the adrenaline to flow for a time. However, at the same time it weakens you. To compensate for the weakness, you
find yourself going back to the person for another ‘high’ or ‘fix’.
is the essence of addictive and co-dependent relationships. Just like cigarette smoking, you
usually have to repeat the behavior until you become sick or depressed enough
to realize that the relationship is unhealthy and sickness-producing. For more on this, read Addiction on this site.
ASPECTS AND VAMPIRISM
interesting aspect of co-dependency occurs between men and women when sex takes
a high priority in a relationship and when the woman tends to take the lead in
a relationship. This certainly
does not mean that women are less important or should not participate as fully,
but there is a concept in the bible and in ancient Oriental science that the
male should lead and guide. This
has to do with men’s generally better logical mind and with women’s nature to
enjoy going along and following a good man. It is not about the superiority of man or woman, just
understanding their nature and what really makes most of them happy.
while there are exceptions, the sexual order can matter, and if it is reversed,
the relationship can easily turn into a co-dependent one. That is the importance of this
idea. A future article will
discuss this interesting topic in detail.
can help explain phenomena such as Naziism, the
appeal of cults and phony religions, and much more.
depend wholly upon our Creator for life and sustenance. That is a healthy and proper
understanding. If one breaks the Second
Commandment, which almost everyone does at some time, one substitutes a lesser
god for the One God. (The Second
Commandment states "Thou shalt
not have any other gods before me").
See the article entitled The Ten
Commandments for more on this interesting idea.
may substitute cigarettes, or another person, or money, and these become one’s
God. That is, one believes one
'needs' the item or person, that happiness or success depends upon it. One becomes 'committed' to the lesser
God. This is the essence of the
co-dependent or addictive relationship.
It is worshipping a false god.
It is always a lie and eventually always leads to unhappiness or
worse. Here are some reasons why
people worship false gods.
1) The love
of the true Creator has somehow become associated with pain. This could have come from childhood
experiences, a religious upbringing with a belief in a vengeful God, or at
times is the result of deliberate efforts by some adult earlier in your life to
sever your relationship with your Creator.
Children's innocence, which is related to their trust in God, is very embarrassing and irritating to many parents, teachers, and even preachers. Many adults will go out of their way to destroy the child's trust and faith in God, or make it seem like God is the source of all their unhappiness and pain.
people contend with these problems.
Secretly, the parents and teachers feel guilty because they had their
relationship with God severed years before. Just the presence of the innocent and trusting child reminds
them of their pain and their guilt.
Therefore they are often unconsciously compelled to do whatever they can
to destroy the source of their embarrassment and guilt - you, the trusting
2) The proud
ego does not like the fact that it is in a dependent relationship with the
Creator. So it blocks it from
consciousness. However, we cannot
exist alone, so the ego then has to find false gods as substitutes for the real
thing. This is a form of ego
people choose to block the love of the Creator out of their life. They choose separation from God. This is a choice, one that we have all
made in the past. It has afforded
us all kinds of interesting experiences.
For many people, the time for separation is over. We know this because our relationships based upon separation become very painful. These are the 'special relationships' spoken of in A Course in Miracles and other spiritually oriented books.
These relationships are brought to us so we will finally make the decision to choose oneness with the Creator, and to accept the Creator back as our primary relationship. Unhealthy relationships can thus serve an important purpose to wake us up.
OPPRESSOR AND OPPRESSED IN CO-DEPENDENT RELATIONSHIPS
common type of co-dependent relationship involves one person who acts as
oppressor, while the other acts as the victim or the oppressed one. Basically, the two people involved are
not equal in power. This can occur
between a man and a woman, between a parent and a child, or any two or even
more than two people. The
oppression can be physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional, or other.
key to ending this kind of co-dependent relationship is that through a
nutritional balancing program, or other means such as counseling, attitudes
must change and one must give up the familiar role to change the relationship.
is Love? The first
thing to heal co-dependency is to understand the discussion above. This can help anyone to understand the
situation and not to deny a problem, usually by calling it something it is not
Co-dependency, like addiction, is always associated with denial. Many people 'love' others the way they love cigarettes, beer or television programs. This is not love, but attachment, addiction and co-dependency.
Another fundamental principle is that love is not a feeling. Love is an attitude that hopefully you can display toward everyone, not just toward your wife or husband, for example, or your child as opposed to someone else’s child. People too often associate sexual pleasure, or comfort, or safety and security with “love”. However, they are not the same!
For example, if a cigarette, glass of wine, petting your cat, or an encounter with your sexual partner produces feelings, people often say they are "in love with it". But this is not the love of the Creator, or love at all. It is just body feelings, which are nothing but physiological responses to stimuli. One knows it is not the love of the Creator, because it begins and ends in time. Then one needs another cigarette, more wine, more sex or whatever. The love of the Creator is more subtle, but always present.
It is necessary to be brutally honest about what love is, and what it is not. The popular songs and movies are wrong. They perpetuate your confusion. There is nothing wrong with wine, cats or sex, unless you elevate them to something they are not - love - and attempt to substitute them for the real thing.
Back Your Power. Another
aspect of healing co-dependency is to take back your own power, or the power of
God as it flows through you, from your false god or gods. This has to do with self-esteem and worthiness
Decide that you are worthy of the Creator's love because it is the truth, no matter what you have done or haven’t done in your life. If it were not true, you wouldn't be alive as we are all dependent on this type of love.
third principle to heal co-dependency is you must be willing to receive the
love of the Creator. Most
people become so used to giving power away that it feels natural.
Taking power back can bring up thoughts that you will abuse it, or you don’t deserve it, or it isn’t nice, so taking back your power can feel unnatural. It requires getting used to it.
principle of healing is to know that your real personality, which may take a
while to develop, will not hurt anyone.
One more principle of healing is that your truly wonderful and valuable personality characteristics will remain intact if your identity shifts, even if it shifts drastically. The only aspects that will be lost will be the phony ones that you are clinging to, or that others have imprinted upon you but that are not the real you.
you heal a co-dependent relationship, usually by ending it, you may go through
an identity crisis. Be prepared to
see and become who you really are. Maybe you won't be the cute, innocent,
docile creature you think you are.
This has to be okay with you.
Better to be genuine. Many,
many people have terrible fears that if they say what is on their mind, if they
behave like they feel like behaving toward another, if they dropped their
'props' and phony mannerisms, they will be rejected and scorned by their
partners or by the world. It is
not so!!! Real people will respect
you more, and like you more. The
only ones who will not like are the other co-dependent types, who are
themselves putting on an act and do not want you to break their spell - often
the spell they have over you.
real and stay real! You can always
apologize later if you do something really outrageous. Your real friends will forgive you, and
in the process you will find out who are your real friends. This in itself is very valuable,
especially if you are considering living with someone, or marrying someone.
the separation from God comes about when you desire it and allow it. Until then, the ego is still having a
good time acting out its dramas, which is really its illusory separation from
God. It will not want to stop, as
this will mean the destruction or dissolution of the ego self. It wants to survive. A time must come when you thank the ego
for all the drama or entertainment it has provided to you, and all the rich and
varied experiences it has made, but explain that you are ready to move on to a
that wounds from the past will come up for review if you desire healing. Do your best to observe them without
The role of nutritional balancing to help end co-dependent
relationships. It is
extremely helpful and sometimes absolutely necessary to strengthen and balance
the mind and the body with a nutritional balancing program
in order to end a co-dependent relationship. We hear this feedback from many, many clients who were in
unhappy marriages, or other unhappy relationships.
reasons for this include that the program provides more physical strength and
stamina needed to go out on one’s own.
It also tends to bring much more clarity of mind, and this is also
necessary to take risks, live on one’s own, enter new relationships, and to
deeply understand the relationships one is in currently.
program can also bring up and heal deep traumas from the past that may have
given rise to the co-dependent relationships.
Counseling. A coach who understands this entire article is also helpful
and necessary at times. It can be
a professional counselor, friend, family member or even a pastor or other
spiritual counselor. These resources help reconnect you to your Creator and
your true self.