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Some of the nicest people I know are codependent. They always smile, never refuse to do a favor. They are happy and bubbly all the time. They understand others and have the ability to make people feel good. People like them!

So, what is wrong with this? Nothing, really, unless the giving is one-sided and so excessive that it starts hurting the giver. Then, the giver is showing the signs of codependence.

Partners who go out of their way for each other are interdependent. Only relatively healthy people are capable of interdependent relationships, which involve give and take. It is not unhealthy to unilaterally give during a time when your partner is having difficulty. You know your partner will reciprocate should the tables turn. Interdependency also implies that you do not have to give until it hurts. By comparison, in a codependent relationship, one partner does almost all the giving, while the other does almost all the taking, almost all of the time.

By giving, codependent people avoid the discomfort of entitlement. Giving allows them to feel useful and justifies their existence. Rather than simply approving of themselves, codependent people meet their need for self-esteem, by winning their partner’s approval. Also, because they lack self-esteem, codependent people have great difficulty accepting from others. One must feel deserving and entitled in order to accept what is offered. 

Codependency can totally drain a person and affect the whole family. Viveka offers help in a caring and trusting environment - do not hesitate to contact us if you are having such an experience.

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