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What Does Codependency Mean

Updated: Apr 2

A codependent relationship — also called relationship addiction — is a relationship in which each person can’t act without the other. Codependent people often form relationships that are manipulative, one-sided or even abusive.

In a codependent relationship, one person takes on the role of the “taker,” while the other person becomes the “giver.”

  • The taker is needy, immature, entitled or addicted. They rely on the giver to take care of them and to take on any adverse consequences of the taker’s destructive behavior.

  • The giver is a forgiving, empathetic caretaker who feels the need to rescue and make sacrifices for the taker. They put their own needs aside to focus solely on making the other person happy. Because the taker enjoys this caring behavior, it encourages them to continue their destructive role in the relationship.

Codependency is a learned behavior passed down from one person to the next. You might become codependent as the child of alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

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