Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term codependency has two related uses. The first originated in the addiction treatment and family therapy discourses. Until the 1980s, the term described a person involved in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict. The codependent engaged in considerable effort, mostly unsuccessful, to manage the problems associated with the partner's addiction. The spouse of an alcoholic might find him- or herself making excuses and telling lies to employers and family members, hiding liquor, struggling with issues of blame, and often trying in vain to figure out how to “fix” the addicted spouse. Domestic violence, as well as verbal and emotional abuse, might also characterize such relationships. Over time, many nonaddicted spouses and partners came to believe that they had no sense of self apart from the addiction. Whereas the addict depended on substances, the spouse depended on the presence of the addiction for his or her self-worth. Treatment ...