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The intense shared experiences of the other’s struggles and disasters and the helper’s rescues deepen the emotional connection and feelings of intimacy.
In the codependent relationship, the helper’s emotional enmeshment leads them to keenly feel the other’s struggles and to feel guilt at the thought of limiting their help or terminating the relationship.
It’s motivated by a variety of factors and shouldn’t be reduced to simple notions of codependence.
Based on ideas from my book Unhealthy Helping: A Psychological Guide to Overcoming Codependence, Enabling, and Other Dysfunctional Giving available in paperback on Amazon and for Kindle, ibook, Nook, and Kobu readers.
This makes them highly dependent on the helper to satisfy many of the needs met by close relationships (such as the need to matter to someone and the need for care).
It is this high degree of mutual, unhealthy dependence on the part of both the helper and the other that makes the relationship “codependent” and resistant to change.
More on codependency and enabling at Darlene Lancer, MFT Thanks for sharing.
Their poor functioning brings them needed love, care, and concern from the helper, further reducing their motivation to change.
Due to their below average functioning, these others may have few relationships as close as their relationship with the helper.
This motivates them to reduce the other’s suffering (and their own) by continued helping and makes them quick to back off of any limits they set.
Helpers prone to codependent relationships often find intimacy in relationships where their primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, and confidante.Broadly speaking, in dysfunctional helping relationships, one person’s help supports (enables) the other’s underachievement, irresponsibility, immaturity, addiction, procrastination, or poor mental or physical health.