If the donor becomes overly invasive or dominating in their efforts to help, the taker may feel insulted or irritated. Some codependent friendships evolve into better ones. In other cases, however, the taker behavior can become too much for the donor to handle and the friendship ends.
Don't be surprised if you experience some tension between certain codependent friends. It's normal to have differences of opinion, but it's important to keep those feelings hidden when you're being supportive of one another. Otherwise, the dependent people won't feel comfortable communicating their needs and desires.
Codependents often seek out more than one friend because they believe that they can't survive alone. Even though this isn't true, they don't want to risk losing someone else who means so much to them.
It's natural for codependent people to give and give until they're empty. Then they need to get something back from someone else. This might be emotional support, practical help, or material gifts. However, if you aren't ready or willing to provide these things, then you are putting undue stress on the codependent person. They will likely feel guilty for taking advantage of you and try even harder to make up for it later.
Codependents love to help others.
Codependent connections, in contrast to good friendships, are severely unbalanced. One person assumes the role of "giving," while the other assumes the role of "taker." The closeness is a result of a dynamic in which one friend is regularly upset or in crisis, while the other friend listens and rescues. Although both people may want the relationship to work, only one can be the giving partner.
The term "codependency" was invented by Dr. Alfred Adler, who was a psychiatrist in Vienna, Austria. He believed that everyone needs to have a sense of purpose in life, but some people go too far in trying to meet these needs through others. They use their friends as an excuse to avoid dealing with their own problems.
In addition to being an imbalanced friendship, a codependent connection also tends to be secretive and self-centered. Since one friend is always ready to listen to his or her friends' problems, they don't have time for others. Also, since one person is always looking for a way to rescue him or herself, he or she won't put effort into changing the situation.
Finally, a codependent connection lacks trust. One friend feels insecure unless he or she knows what his or her companion is going through, so there is no privacy around issues such as feelings and problems with parents or partners.
When two friends are codependent, they rely on one other to meet all of their needs. For example, the "taker" may rely on the "giver" for emotional support, whilst the "giving" may rely on the "taker" for a sense of significance and self-esteem. The codependency between these two friends can cause serious problems for them both.
Codependents often have deep feelings of love and loyalty for those people who hurt them. They may even feel responsible for those people's actions. The more important the person in the friend's life, the more severe the effects will be if that person is codependent.
People who are codependent sometimes describe themselves as "in love with love". They may go through life looking for someone to take care of them, because they don't think they're capable of taking care of themselves. This search for acceptance and love makes them vulnerable to being used by others.
Have you ever had a friend who could never say no? Who never felt good about themselves? Someone like this is probably codependent.
People who are codependent may try to make up for the lack of love and acceptance they received as a child by giving it to others. Even though they know this isn't a healthy way to behave, they can't stop themselves from doing it.