Why Are Codependents Not Taken Seriously? Taking the Joke Out of Codependency

Knowing about co-dependencies and the different types of dependencies can help you understand them better, and if you suspect you may be one of them, then you can take appropriate steps to deal with them.

The following content is derived from “The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Code-Based Narcissistic Trap” (2022)

When your disorder is a joke

“what’s in a name?” Well, Mr. Shakespeare, in the field of mental health, very little! Hence, providing hope to the legions of people suffering from codependency requires, at the very least, a professional consensus as to what it is, the diagnostic criteria that establish it, and the standard treatment that specifically relates to both.

Like fake news or audio clips that are mistaken for facts, inaccurate mental health terminology does more harm than good. “Codependency” is a prime example of a misunderstanding of a mental health condition. More than forty years after it was first formulated, it remains the unwieldy, multi-headed beast of a disorder that still defies attempts to classify, name, describe, and diagnose it.

Without a consensus on its name, description, and symptoms that make it clear, we prolong the suffering and despair of dependent people who, in my experience, suffer more than many can imagine.


Like other mental health terms, co-dependence has been reshaped to fit its mainstream usage. Unfortunately, original definitions are often diluted over time, especially when they interest news sources and the media.

To the general public, a codependent person is weak, needy, clingy, and even emotionally ill, often lacking in common sense and sometimes intelligence.

There is little consensus in the mental health field as to what it is; People who claim to specialize in this have little direction and experience in solving a problem they claim to know a lot about. To this end, codependency therapy is driven by a loose association of psychotherapeutic techniques that represent the clinician’s personal experiences rather than their history of delivering successful treatment outcomes.

Therefore, the mental health field must acknowledge its failures while considering a renewal of the cartoon-like picture of what is considered a debilitating mental health disorder.

Perhaps the “cherry” on top of this not-so-tasty “codependent sundae” is that many people in the helping professions begin their careers as unmedicated codependent. So many of them live knee-deep with personal and relational dysfunction that it’s time to tell Houston we “have a serious problem.”

Out with the old and in with the new

Codependency is a mental health condition that manifests in individuals (codependents) who are both predictably and reflexively attracted to harmful, selfish pathological narcissists and their loved ones.

The powerful and hard-to-resist opposite dynamic of attraction illustrated in my book The Human Magnet Syndrome explains the immediate explosion of euphoric “chemistry” between the “care-dependent” and “care-dependent” pathological narcissists.

Codependency is not limited to romantic relationships only but is manifested to varying degrees in most other significant relationships.

Predictably and reflexively, codependents find themselves time and again in dysfunctional relationships with pathological narcissists. They give most, if not all, of their love, respect, attention, and trust (LRCT), hoping someone will willingly return it.

Unfortunately, of a narcissistic personality disorder, most are not interested, unwilling, and to some extent unable to participate in a relationship based on a mutual distribution of love, respect, care, and trust (LRCT).

The exception is when the narcissist gains something or has a relationship advantage by pretending to cross-express their LRCT.

Subscribers mistakenly believe that the only solution to the LRCT inequality dilemma is to double down and try to “fix” the wayward narcissist, or worse, fall victim to a form of emotional detachment, in which the pain of care is effectively numbed.

The agonizing prospect of being alone has fueled the lifelong delusion that with time, patience, and sacrifice, narcissistic lover will willingly correct their sinful ways, sincerely apologize to them, willingly change, and, as a result, recreate their long-lost soulmate bliss.

Codependent people are reluctant to end a relationship because of a real fear of pathological loneliness, which is the most intolerable withdrawal symptom that a dependence addiction causes.

However, assume that they or their narcissistic partner ended the relationship to avoid a re-emergence of pathological loneliness. In this case, they would quickly find another source for the “drug of their choice” and later switch to a “soul mate” turned “cellmate”.


To Diagnose or Not to Diagnose, That’s the ‘Question’
Too many practitioners, qualified or unqualified, exceed their capabilities by tossing out ill-conceived diagnoses like candy to children lining up for the Fourth of July parade. A globally approved and strongly trusted definition should come with an equally accurate list of diagnostic criteria.

The five examples below illustrate why we as a society should not try to change the set of therapeutic and diagnostic rules and practices that have already been established.

  1. Not all mental health professionals are qualified or even authorized to provide a diagnosis. Typically, only psychiatrists, master’s, and doctoral practitioners with specific mental health education, training, and experience are permitted to provide professional diagnoses.
  2. A large proportion of physicians at the master’s level, whose license allows them to diagnose, appear to lack the specific education, training, and practical experience to adequately perform such a critical task.
  3. Not all mental health professionals are qualified or even authorized to provide a diagnosis. However, they do it all the time – on social media and streaming sites like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. There is an abundance of non-mental health practitioners who have been dangerously pretending to be something that doesn’t bother them for the past five years. Unfortunately, the most popular public figures are the ones considered to be the most “expert”.
  4. A tendency to depend on personality traits, mental health problems and concurrent substance abuse, anger, dishonesty, and several other factors are invaluable when diagnosing codependency. This is an exaggeration because the disorder I know as codependent dependence is independent of such general factors.
  5. When gaslight injuriousness is not recognized or not considered in the evaluation process, the formation of the diagnosis will be irresponsible. A simple example of the importance of excluding gaslighting before reaching a diagnosis is a client who relied on gas to believe they have a narcissistic personality disorder.

Since self-reliance and narcissism are mutually exclusive, or according to the human magnet syndrome theories, they can’t be both simultaneously. With many mental health professionals unaware of this connection, it is scary to think of the resulting rabbit hole down which therapist and client might get lost.

Types of dependency character

An accurate diagnosis of self-reliance requires knowledge of discrete and interacting psychological variables. For example, consider the following “negative” examples: substance abuse, addiction, dishonesty, manipulation, and anger issues.

Because she does not fit the stereotype of “nice, patient, chronic caregiver” type dependence, it may be easy to justify a non-dependent diagnosis.

Whether it is a bad habit, a mental illness, a substance abuse problem, or a pattern of behavior that is harmful to oneself or others, a clinician should not be complacent about seeing it through a “narrow psychic view.” To that end, the following dependency personality types will add clarity to the problem rather than muddying the waters.

Although each is fundamentally different ‘from the outside’, all present the same dilemma of distributing dependence on the underlying LRCT.

Active programmers mistakenly believe that the only solution to an LRCT imbalance is to be more aware and diligent about changing their narcissistic partner’s ways.