Codependency is typically a relationship pattern of one-sided overgiving without reciprocity, usually to the detriment of the individual’s own emotional and physical health, reports WebMD. The codependent individual often seeks approval, self-definition and self-worth from others and relinquishes his own needs to keep the peace or please others.
Often codependent relationships are characterized by an overdependence on one individual by another, explains WebMD. There is a lack of autonomy, often a pattern of clinginess, and centering the life on the needs and desires of the partner. Fulfillment is found vicariously, and sometimes solely, through the other person and the relationship; few outside interests or other relationships may be present. There is frequently realization by the codependent that the relationship or partner is not healthy, yet he experiences much anxiety and conflict when attempts are made to end the relationship or break the behavior patterns.
Children who are raised in homes with parents who emotionally abuse or neglect them, or in homes in which boundaries are not respected, are predisposed for codependency. They are preconditioned by the familiar pattern of trying to earn attention and love from a withholding or distant loved one, explains WebMD. Individuals often seek codependent relationships in attempts to resolve the unrequited caregiver needs from childhood years. Often much energy is expended trying to change the partner in attempts to get these developmental needs met.