Co-Dependency

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are gray

You never know dear how much I love you

Please don’t take my sunshine away

I’m sure the majority of those reading this post has either had someone sing that song to them or they have sang that song to someone.  It was first recorded in 1939 and written by Jimmie Davis a Louisiana governor.  Although the song appears to be adorable, sweet and loving, it is also laced with fear of rejection, fear of abandonment and co-dependency.  Let me share a few more versus from the song.

I’ll always love you and make you happy

If you will only same the same

But if you leave me and love another

You’ll regret it all some day

You told me once dear, you really loved me

And no one else could come between

But now you’ve left me and love another

You have shattered all of my dreams

Now do you see the ‘dangers’ that this song implicates?

Before I go any farther, let me share with you what Mental Health America says about co-dependency.  MHA states that co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another.  It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.  It is also known as the ‘relationship addiction’ because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.  The disorder was first identified about 10 years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics and drug addicts.  Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.

Wheww, I know that was an eyeful; however, I felt it important that I share that explanation with you.  From this explanation, you can see that co-dependency does not just happen.  It is a LEARNED behavior.  It begins in our childhood and if not corrected will bleed into our adult relationships.

As children, we depend on our parents/caregivers for shelter, food and clothing.  We also depend on them for love, support and acceptance.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  That’s normal.  However, it’s when a parent’s life ‘revolves’ around the child and vice versa does this become dangerous.  When a parent answers a child’s every cry and works out every problem, it sets that child up for disappointment.  It teaches the child that someone else is ‘responsible’ for them.  They LEARN co-dependent behavior.  Then they take this learned behavior into their adult relationships.

According to the American Bar Association, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically abused by their intimate partners every year.  I’m sure those numbers are much higher than that as most people don’t report such abuse.  This type of behavior is common in a codependent relationship.  You have one that plays the role of the ‘addicted’ and one that plays the role of ‘co-dependent’.  We tend to make excuses for the behavior.  He/she hit me because he/she loves me.  He/she hit me because I mad him/her anger.  We have ‘learned’ dependency and to accept this type of treatment.

It is not until we become intimate with ourselves that we see the danger(s) of co-dependency.  We MUST learn to love ourselves enough to leave these types of relationships.  It’s great to love and care for someone, but not at the expense of losing yourself in the relationship.  You can’t truly love another until you have learned to love yourself.  Besides no one finds needy, clingy, smothering attractive.

In love,

J-licious

8 Comments

  1. I believe that as human beings, created by God we are made for relationships. Co-dependency is the most natural behavior of any child, and is taken unto adulthood. There is something about America… always trying to disintegrate that naturalization in our humanity with independence, finding myself, coming out blah blah blah… If we were more co-dependent on each other, the world would be a much much better place. To me that is love.it could definitely be abused. but that is when you have to ‘teach’ it. Check the definition of Intimacy. it is not a sole-experience. That statement annoyed me a little. intimacy is meant to be shared…
    i wish everyone could take a step back and realize that “we” are a people, a village is not a person. We “need” each other whether we like it or not. when we sing songs like ‘whats going on’, ‘we are the world’, ‘stand up etc it is not for nothing.

    I would have agreed if you cited discipline/respect instead, because that is what some people need in this world, i.e the example you used with the child, was sooooo off. Any child who displayed that behavior lacks disciple. There are not two sides to it.
    Also as adults it is easy to want to be with someone that always has something to offer you, therefore it is so easy to be selfish. But don’t deny co-dependency, we need to practice it.

  2. This article is right on the money. We see the traumatic results of codependency on the news in cities near and far. Too many of us have based our basic human right of happiness on another. How sad the young man or single mother ready to end other’s and their own lives behind the loss of ‘love’.

    I’m not sure what article others were reading, but I found this information to be insightful and directed toward those UNHEALTHY relationships that leave us void of our own self love and worth. It is agreed that someone loved and nurtured us past our mother’s lap and that foundational support enabled us all to go out into the word and become productive. However, there is a difference between ‘support’ and ‘codependency’.

    As a mother of two, the last thing I would want is to raise my children with a dependent OR codependent mindset. Contrarily, we MUST teach our children (along with our selves, if necessary) this it is okay to be alone and even healthy at times. If WE don’t teach them, life will definitely teach them that there will be times that you’ll have to live and love alone.

  3. I have been in a relationship where I was the co-dependant one. It wasn’t a healthy relationship, either. I stayed in the relationship despite the obvious signs that I should have left him alone. I allowed him to mistreat me, verbally inslt me, and all the while he was doing this, I felt and treated him lke I could not live without his presence. I became depressed when we were not together. I depended on him for my happiness. Why was I looking for someone who mistreated and didn’t really care much for me to help raise my self-esteem?? Crazy. That was 6 years ago. Thank Jesus I eventually overcame that behavior and mindset.

  4. I have to say I disagree with the sentiment that ridding one’s self of co-dependent behavior prevents staying in an abusive relationship. I was independent, had my own place, career, friend and family, and boatloads of self confidence, yet I still fell into an abusive relationship. This articles implies that somehow codependent women are to blame, for getting into abusive relationships. To me this article is sending the wrong message.

  5. If anyone saw the Tyler Perry movie
    Diary of a Mad Balck Woman the part where the girl told her mother “he was my everyting” and then the mother said “GOD is your everything. We must depend on ourselves first before we can depend on anyone else. Put GOD first!

  6. sunshine you are saying 2 different things. we are not God, so we cannot depend on ourselves first.
    The 2 greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all our heart… and then to love thy neighbor as thyself. That in it self should sum it all up.

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