Relationships: Counter-dependence Or Interdependence?

Dr Nicholas Jenner

In my last post, I wrote about the characteristics of counter-dependency and how this is defined by projection of a “strong” personality that hides the fear of true intimacy and commitment. Many people who identify as counter-dependent see themselves as exhibiting healthy autonomy and this is often the impression they give to others. However, there is a big difference in the two concepts. Counter-dependency is still codependent behaviour. They just fear dependency on others which drives them to engaging in short, superficial relationships which end when they sense “neediness” and connection from the other side. As with codependency, its roots lie in childhood trauma or an escape from codependency. Many codependents who have had bad experience (especially with narcissists), see counter-dependency as a natural antidote to their codependent behaviour. The emotional distancing associated with counter-dependency seems a welcome change from enmeshment for a while.

In my work with codependents, I…

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