Codependency Redefined! The New Codependency Definition

Codependency is Problematic

Codependency is a problematic relationship orientation which involves the habitual and reflexive relinquishing of power and control to individuals who are either addicted or who are pathologically narcissistic.  As a result of their compulsive and repeated attraction to narcissists and/or addicts, they try, but rarely obtain, mutuality and reciprocity in their relationships.  By habitually choosing narcissistic or addicted companions, friends and/or romantic partners, they perpetuate their resentment for being disrespected, undervalued and often unloved. Codependents steadfastly believe that, with enough time, empathy and sacrifice, they will get what they need and deserve from their narcissistic partner.  Despite not getting what they most want and believe they deserve, they do end the relationship with the narcissist.

Codependency is subdivided into two categories: passive and active.  Passive codependents (PCs) vigilantly avoid conflict or the disappointment of others.  Although all codependents suffer from low levels of self-esteem, PCs are more insecure, anxious, conflict avoidant, and reactive to being alone.  Hence, they tend to tolerate controlling, dangerous and/or abusive narcissists.  Their passivity is manifested in their carefully, if not meticulously, executed control strategies – most of which are intended to fall under the narcissist’s radar.  Because of the secret and hidden nature of their control strategies, PCs are perceived as weaker than active codependents.

Active codependents (ACs) more boldly and overtly try to control or manipulate their narcissistic loved ones into meeting their LRC needs.  Being less afraid of conflict and retribution, they unapologetically attempt to control their narcissist into meeting their expectations and needs.  Since the narcissist is neither interested nor capable of satisfying the AC (or PC), the relationship often erupts into openly hostile episodes of conflict, arguments and verbal, emotional and/or physical abuse.  Active codependents are often mistaken for narcissists because of their openly controlling and often manipulative demeanor.  Even though they are never able to get what they most want, they are compelled to keep trying.

While the AC may seem stronger, more in control and more confident, both the PC and AC share the same deeply imbedded insecurities and feelings of powerlessness.  Both hold onto the codependent delusion, which is the belief that “one day” their pathologically narcissistic partner will realize their mistakes and wrong-doings and finally give them the love, respect and care they so desperately want and need.  It just never happens.


Ross Rosenberg,
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004
(847) 749-0514 ext 12