Interdependence and codependence are two terms that are often used interchangeably in relationships, but there are important differences between the two. Interdependence is a healthy dynamic where both partners rely on each other for support and care, while still maintaining their own individuality. On the other hand, codependence is a problematic dynamic where one partner sacrifices their own needs and boundaries to fulfill the needs of the other partner.
According to a peer-reviewed article by Lancer (2016), codependent relationships are characterized by a lack of boundaries, low self-esteem, and a fear of abandonment. These relationships may involve one partner taking on the role of a caregiver or rescuer, while the other partner takes on the role of the victim or the helpless one. This dynamic can be harmful and lead to resentment, anger, and a breakdown in communication.
In contrast, interdependent relationships involve both partners taking responsibility for their own needs and growth, while also relying on each other for support and care. According to a study by Carmichael and Reis (2015), interdependent partners are more likely to experience higher levels of relationship satisfaction, personal well-being, and psychological growth. They are also able to maintain their own sense of identity and independence, while still feeling connected to their partner.
Another peer-reviewed article by Scharfe and Bartholomew (2018) emphasizes the importance of communication and mutual respect in interdependent relationships. They suggest that partners should actively listen to each other’s needs and concerns, and work together to find solutions that benefit both parties. This involves setting boundaries and expressing one’s own needs and desires, while also respecting the boundaries and needs of the other partner.
Striving for interdependence in relationships, it is important to focus on building trust, communication, and mutual respect. This involves taking responsibility for one’s own feelings and needs, while also recognizing and responding to the needs of the other partner. It also involves setting clear boundaries and expectations, and working together to find solutions that benefit both partners.
In conclusion, interdependence and codependence are two distinct dynamics in relationships, with interdependence being the healthier and more fulfilling option. By focusing on building trust, communication, and mutual respect, partners can strive towards a more interdependent relationship where they are able to maintain their own sense of identity and independence, while still relying on each other for support and care.
References: Carmichael, C. L., & Reis, H. T. (2015). Attachment, interdependence, and the self: Integrating perspectives and informing interventions. Current Opinion in Psychology, 1, 76-80.
Lancer, D. (2016). Codependency and Interdependency. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/toxic-relationships/201609/codependency-and-interdependency
Scharfe, E., & Bartholomew, K. (2018). Interpersonal functioning in adulthood: Attachment and interpersonal processes. Annual Review of Psychology, 69, 425-450.