Yes you can look in a dictionary, either a paper version or online, but what do we make the modern codependency definition?
That question may be as hard to answer as “what is the meaning of life?” since it really can be different for everyone, and the concept is not tangible. The world of substance abuse has tried putting a number of drinks amount on gauging alcoholism, but it is different for men and women, and your size plays a role. Plus, how often you drink and what you are drinking can change up the rules.
Nothing is really set in stone to measure how much heroin use means you are an addict. If you use cocaine everyday you are probably addiction to it, but what if you go on binges, or long weekends, where you use constantly for a few days and you don’t use again for another month or two?
Same goes for codependency, how do we really define it?
Maybe we say, if codependency is disrupting your life in any way, that is a problem. Would you agree? If you are talking about substance abuse, it could be defined the same way: if there are negative implications on your life in any way, the drug or alcohol use is not healthy.
What criteria would you want included in the codependency definition? Is anyone held accountable when the codependency definition is based on whether an addict thinks the behavior is harmful? No one will ever seek treatment.
What is it them? What do we make the modern codependency definition so that people who need help will see the signs in themselves?
How about: addiction to another person, to a relationship, or to the excitement that comes with idea of dating someone new? Should we add: people pleasing, lack of good boundaries, and putting others’ emotions and desires ahead of your own? And then does that mean we include: thinking that by controlling someone else, you have control over your own life?
It’s quite the feat to determine the codependency definition.
How do we account for the denial that comes into play, and the low self-esteem that seems to drive codependency? And the avoidance of getting truly close to someone else, all while believing that you need another person to be validated and good enough in this world?
It’s no wonder that codependency is not defined as it’s own disorder in the DSM, the book that determines all mental health and substance abuse diagnoses.