Codependency  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Codependence (or codependency) is a popular psychology concept popularized by Twelve-Step program advocates. A "codependent" is loosely defined as someone who exhibits too much, and often inappropriate, caring for persons who depend on him or her. A "codependent" is one side of a relationship between mutually needy people. The dependent, or obviously needy party(s) may have emotional, physical, financial difficulties, or addictions they seemingly are unable to surmount. The "codependent" party exhibits behaviour which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party's condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.

Codependence is described as a disease that originates in dysfunctional families where children learn to overcompensate for their parent's disorders and develop an excessive sensitivity to other's needs. The term "dysfunctional family" originally referred only to families with patterns of interaction associated with alcoholism. However, it is now recognized as a disease occurring in family systems based on "denial" or "shame-based rules." This includes a wide-spectrum of pathological emotional interactions in families, but there is always an avoidance of confrontation and inability to resolve conflict. This is sometimes described in terms like "enmeshment" or "blurred ego boundaries." Adult children of dysfunctional families suffer from a sense of confusion and deprivation that has continued into their adult life — a feeling of "not knowing what normal is" — and has become an anguished desire to recover something that was emotionally missing in their upbringing. Co-Dependents Anonymous was formed to help individuals who grew up in dysfunctional families and not just those involving alcoholism or substance abuse.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Codependency" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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