What Is the Difference Between Codependency and Interdependency?

Codependency and interdependency are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings and implications for relationships. Understanding the difference between the two can help individuals navigate their relationships in a healthier and more fulfilling way.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is a type of relationship in which one person has a psychological or emotional dependence on another. This can manifest in many different ways, but typically involves a lack of boundaries, a lack of self-esteem, and a tendency to prioritize the needs of others over one’s own needs.

Codependent individuals often feel responsible for the well-being of their partners and may go to great lengths to ensure that their partners are happy, even if it means sacrificing their own happiness. They may also feel a sense of guilt or shame when their partners are unhappy, which can lead to a cycle of unhealthy behaviour.

Codependency can be harmful to both parties involved in the relationship. The codependent person may feel a sense of inadequacy and may struggle to establish healthy boundaries, while the other person may become controlling or manipulative in response to the codependent person’s behaviour.

What is Interdependency?

Interdependency relationship, on the other hand, is a type of relationship in which both parties are able to rely on each other for emotional and psychological support while also maintaining their own autonomy and independence.

Interdependent individuals are able to express their own needs and want without feeling guilty or ashamed. They are able to set boundaries and are comfortable with the idea of being alone if necessary. They value their own happiness as much as they value their partner’s happiness, and they strive for a balanced and healthy relationship.

Interdependency can be a positive and fulfilling way to relate to others. Both parties are able to support each other in a healthy way, and both are able to grow and evolve as individuals.

How to move from Codependency to Interdependency

Moving from a codependent to an interdependent relationship can be challenging, but it is possible with the right mindset and approach. Here are a few steps that may help:

  • Learn to recognize codependent behaviours: Understanding the dynamics of codependency is the first step in breaking the cycle.
  • Work on building self-esteem: a lack of self-esteem is often at the root of codependency, so working on building self-esteem and self-worth can help.
  • Set boundaries: Setting healthy boundaries is key to establishing independence and autonomy in a relationship.
  • Communicate openly and honestly: being able to express one’s own needs and wants is essential for interdependency.
  • Prioritize self-care: Interdependency requires a balance between caring for oneself and caring for others. Self-care is essential for maintaining that balance.


In conclusion, codependency and interdependency are two different ways of relating to others. Codependency is characterized by a lack of boundaries, a lack of self-esteem, and a tendency to prioritize the needs of others over one’s own needs. Interdependency, on the other hand, is characterized by a balance of autonomy and support, mutual respect, and open communication. Moving from a codependent to an interdependent relationship requires a shift in mindset, self-care and setting boundaries. It takes time and effort, but the benefits of a healthy and fulfilling relationship are well worth it.