codependency

noun
co·​de·​pen·​den·​cy | \ ˌkō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē How to pronounce codependency (audio) \

Definition of codependency

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another

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Did You Know?

Dependency on addictive substances has been known for centuries, but the concept of codependency got its name only as recently as 1979. For many of us, codependency isn't easy to understand; we may keep asking "Why doesn't she just leave him?" and find it hard to accept the answers we get. Codependents usually don't share their partners' addiction, but their lives tend to be taken over with the burden of caring for and protecting the spouse or partner. In recent years, people have started claiming that all kinds of conditions—anorexia, overeating, gambling, fear of intimacy, etc.—can result in codependency. Many experts think all of this has gone too far; still, almost everyone agrees that spouses of alcoholics and drug addicts face unique difficulties and should look for support and advice anywhere they can find it.

Examples of codependency in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ask your therapist to talk to you about codependency. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Carpentry skills aren’t enough to hold this relationship together," 6 Dec. 2020 Ask your therapist to talk to you about codependency. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Carpentry skills aren’t enough to hold this relationship together," 6 Dec. 2020 Sometimes there is a chronic level of codependency, which can be a force of nature so strong that 12-step groups have been formed to help people escape its grip. Melanie Hamlett, Harper's BAZAAR, "As a Survivor of Partner Violence, I Saw Myself in Grace Fraser," 7 Dec. 2020 Ask your therapist to talk to you about codependency. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Carpentry skills aren’t enough to hold this relationship together," 6 Dec. 2020 Ask your therapist to talk to you about codependency. Amy Dickinson, Star Tribune, "Ask Amy: Carpentry skills are not enough," 4 Dec. 2020 Remember, our best-selling course is back to support you with codependency, go to crushcodependency.com to join us! Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Ant Anstead Shares How He's Been Coping Since Separating From Christina Anstead," 19 Oct. 2020 Gothel’s emotional manipulation of Rapunzel, in particular, is a distinctly modern take on codependency as villainy. Jeanna Kadlec, Longreads, "Deconstructing Disney: Motherhood and the Taming of Maleficent," 8 Oct. 2020 That, plus shop owners’ dependence on artists’ rent, creates a fascinating codependency, says Sai Li, a local tattoo artist who is opening her own shop this summer. Carly Stern, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area tattoo shops hope clients will have skin in the game when they reopen," 30 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'codependency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of codependency

1979, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for codependency

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The first known use of codependency was in 1979

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Statistics for codependency

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Codependency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/codependency. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for codependency

codependency

noun
co·​de·​pen·​den·​cy | \ ˌkō-di-ˈpen-dən-sē How to pronounce codependency (audio) \
variants: or co-dependency also codependence or co-dependence \ -​dən(t)s How to pronounce codependency (audio) \
plural codependencies

Medical Definition of codependency

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person manifesting low self-esteem and a strong desire for approval has an unhealthy attachment to another person and places the needs of that person before his or her own

Note: In codependency, a person tries to satisfy the needs of another who is often controlling or manipulative and who may have an addictive or emotionally unstable personality. broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another

More from Merriam-Webster on codependency

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about codependency

Comments on codependency

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