Codependent: A word that should be banned from our vocabulary

January 23, 2013


During the 1980’s, the term “codependent” entered the popular press with the publication of such books as “Codependent No More.”  Regardless of what the author, Melodie Beattie, intended, the word has come to be synonymous with being excessively emotionally dependent on an other person.  The problem with the term, as it has come to be used, is its implication that depending on another human is somehow pathological.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Two decades of research on the formation of attachment bonds in humans and other mammals demonstrates that we are shaped by evolution to need one another.  Hence, we are all dependent.  Worse, a great deal of our suffering is caused by the starvation of our attachment needs.  In my practice as a psychotherapist and marriage counselor / couple therapist in Baltimore, I witness the anguish caused when these needs go unmet. 

Do us all a favor; stop using the word codependent.  The next time you feel tempted to use it, remember that our brains are hard-wired for mutual dependence.

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One Response to “Codependent: A word that should be banned from our vocabulary”


  1. […] Codependent: A word that should be banned from our vocabulary. […]


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