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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Co-dependency is defined by a group of symptoms that typically occur in those who live with a chemically-dependent person. These symptoms usually include the assumption of care-taking responsibilities, denial of feelings, perfectionism, fear, and dishonesty. A person exhibiting co-dependent behavior may or may not be chemically dependent, but usually has many of the same characteristics as the addicted person. Awareness of this problem has grown over the last few years. Co-dependent people may lose their individual identity because living with an addicted person hampers their freedom and ability to express themselves. They learn early not to express opinions other than that held by their partners, and they usually attempt to compensate for their partners' irresponsible behavior. Co-dependents often feel confused, angry, inadequate, or guilty. By focusing all their attention on the addicted or abusive person, the co-dependent's own needs are generally neglected. This often causes long-term difficulties in identity development, boundary setting, and self-esteem. Co-dependency is typically characterized by the desire to be loved by others to the point of neglecting one's own needs and goals, and co-dependents often attract partners who are addictive, abusive, or otherwise dysfunctional. For more information, consult a local health care professional.

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