The term codependency refers to a particular type of dysfunctional relationship where one person enables another person's addictions such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, mental health issues, underachievement, immaturity, or irresponsibility. This type of relationship is seen in marriages, cohabitational relationships, families, and friendships. It unfortunately occurs because individuals do not take constructive steps to help the affected individual and continue to support, excuse, and/or deny the extent of the problem behaviors.

Commonly seen in a codependent relationship is one partner having an excessive reliance on others for approval and to achieve a sense of identity. It is believed to be related to dependent personality disorder but is characterized by subclinical/episodic/situational episodes, rather than as a personality constant. Basically, a codependent personality is someone who cannot function from their innate self and organizes their behavior and thinking around another person's acceptance and tolerance.

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