Co-dependent relationships are the most abusive form of relationships. They are based on need, and are not healthy.
Each partner in that relationship tries to take advantage of his or her hold on the other partner. This can often deteriorate into a relationship where the two partners can neither live together nor live apart.
This relationship is most unlike the-we-need-each-other relationship, which is healthy. There, the partnership is based on equality, and not on one partner’s extreme needs. For example, a woman looking after a drug addict may delude herself into believing that the addict cannot live without her support. The addict too psyches himself into believing that he cannot live without his partner. He therefore starts inflicting miseries on his partner, which she happily suffers – in the belief that this is the only way to keep the addict happy.
Such a relationship often results from an unexpected or traumatic experience that jars the normal growth of an individual. Such an event or happening may be the death of a parent, breakup of a family or extreme illness. Young girls and boys, who go through this experience, often build extreme relationships.
They need not be blamed. We are born dependent and needy. The child is dependent on the mother for nurturing and being looked after. Later, the child becomes dependent on the parents for needs such as education and entertainment. Simultaneously, the child becomes confident, and gets ready to take independent decisions. Often this independence leads to interdependence. As per needs and convenience, the child who has become an adult switches between independence and interdependence.
But sometimes independence creeps into co-dependence. This is where adults need to step in, and stop the relationship from sliding into co-dependency. The individual should be given the confidence to become independent, to stand on his own feet. There is no harm in encouraging inter-dependence, but co-dependence must be strictly frowned upon.