Today there are many definitions of codependency, and many opinions as to where it comes from. Most people believe it is tied in with alcoholism, but some do not.
Codependency guru Melody Beattie's official definition says "A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior".
This is an obsession, that can grow and grow over the years. The one thing that remains consistent is, fixation or obsession with any one thing is bad. Fixation or obsession with a person will slowly, but very surely destroy a relationship.
Sally has given me permission to share this story. She had a very good friend for many years. A friend who's company she thoroughly enjoyed. The friend had an unhealthy romantic relationship with a man, that eventually fell apart. The friend needed a place to stay, so she temporarily moved in with Sally. She began to focus all of her attention on Sally. She started questioning her whereabouts, who she was with, and what she was doing. She would become angry when Sally did things with other friends. Slowly, Sally's devotion to this friend began to deteriorate. The friend was chipping away at the relationship, which at one time was very solid.
Eventually, Sally had no choice but to ask the friend to move out, and has now permanently severed all ties with her.
During the first couple of years I wrote this blog, I researched reasons why people may become fixed on other people. Often it is because they don't want to focus on themselves. Additionally, they are looking for other people to make them happy.
Sally being forced to separate ties with a friend who eventually sucked the life out of their friendship, has reminded me once again how devastating codependency can be on any relationship.