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(New page: {{ClinPsy}} Being counterdependent is to take a position in relationships to ensure one is not dependent on others for emotional security status etc. This can be managed through...)
 
 
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{{ClinPsy}}
 
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Being counterdependent is to take a position in relationships to ensure one is not dependent on others for [[emotional security]] [[status]] etc.
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Being '''counterdependent''' is to take a position in relationships to ensure one is not dependent on others for [[emotional security]] [[status]] etc.
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To some degree it is healthy to seek to be emotionally independent of others but this needs to be balanced with the ability to be appropriately engaged with others.
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Where the habit of maintaining emotional distance too predominates this can be associated with and cause mental health and behavioral difficulties. Where '''counterdependency''' is the state of refusal of [[Attachment theory|attachment]], the denial of personal need and dependency, and may extend to the [[omnipotence]] and refusal of dialogue found in destructive [[narcissism]], for example.<ref>[http://www.isps-us.org/koehler/binswanger.htm Brian Koehler, 'Ludwig Binswanger: Contributions to an Intersubjective Approach to Psychosis']</ref>
   
 
This can be managed through [[passivity]] or [[passive aggressive behavior]] or through more active [[rejection]] of [[authority figures]] or [[social mores]] that support [[interpersonal relationships]].
 
This can be managed through [[passivity]] or [[passive aggressive behavior]] or through more active [[rejection]] of [[authority figures]] or [[social mores]] that support [[interpersonal relationships]].
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Counterdependent people can reach the point where their [[self-identity]] arise from their acts of opposition and defiance and their behavior can be very disruptive, making it difficult for them to hold down jobs or maintain relationships of any kind.
 
Counterdependent people can reach the point where their [[self-identity]] arise from their acts of opposition and defiance and their behavior can be very disruptive, making it difficult for them to hold down jobs or maintain relationships of any kind.
   
From a [[psychodynamic]] viewpoint such behavior patterns are thought to result from a deep-seated fear of [[intimacy]], which having lead to emotional isolation, is paired with an increased neediness for the feared state. This explains why counterdependents are sometimes locked into [[approach-avoidance conflict]]s in [[intimate relationships]].
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From a [[psychodynamic]] viewpoint such behavior patterns are thought to result from a deep-seated fear of [[intimacy]], which, having lead to emotional isolation, is paired with an increased neediness for the feared state. This explains why counterdependents are sometimes locked into [[approach-avoidance conflict]]s in [[intimate relationships]].
   
==See also==
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==Developmental origins==
*[[Oppositional defiant disorder]]
 
   
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The roots of counterdependency can be found in the age-appropriate negativism of two-year-olds and teens,<ref>Robert M. Gordon, ''I Love You Madly!'' (2008) p. 89</ref> where it serves the temporary purpose of distancing one from the parental figure[s]. As [[Selma Fraiberg]] put it, the two-year-old "says 'no' with splendid authority to almost any question addressed to him...as if he establishes his independence, his separateness from his mother, by being opposite".<ref>Selma H. Fraiberg, ''The Magic Years'' (1996) p. 64</ref> Where the mother has difficulty accepting the child's need for active distancing,<ref>[[Margaret Mahler]], ''The Psychological Birth of the Human Being'' (1975) p. 66</ref> the child may remain stuck in the counterdependent phase of development because of developmental trauma.<ref>J. B. Weinhold et al, ''Breaking Free of the Co-Dependency Trap'' (2008) p. 6-7</ref>
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In similar fashion, the teenager needs to be able to establish the fact of their separate mind to their parents,<ref>Patrick Casement, ''Further Learning from the Patient'' (1990) p. 94</ref> even if only through a sustained state of cold rejection;<ref>Mavis Klein, ''Okay Parenting'' (1991) p. 108</ref> and again unresolved adolescent issues can lead to a mechanical counterdependence and unruly assertiveness in later life.<ref>Edward O. De Barry, ''Theological Reflection'' (2003) p. 157</ref>
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==Adult manifestations==
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The counterdependent personality has been described as being addicted to activity and suffering from [[grandiosity]], as acting strong and pushing others away.<ref>Mark Atkinson, ''True Happiness'' (2011) p. 245</ref> Out of a fear of being crowded, they avoid contact with others, something which can lead through emotional isolation to [[Depression (mood)|depression]].<ref>William Stewart, ''An A-Z of Counselling, Theory and Practice'' (2005) p. 295</ref>
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The counterdependent male in particular may pride himself on being 'manly' - not needing affection, support or warmth, and being tough, independent and normal instead<ref>Robin Skynner/John Cleese, ''Families and how to survive them'' (1993) p. 56 and p. 119-20</ref> - something still reinforced by [[Socialization#Types|gender socialisation]].<ref>Barbara Jo Brothers, ''When One Partner is Willing and the Other is Not'' (1997) p. 40</ref> Where a woman takes on the counterdependent position, it may take on the attributes of a [[True self and false self|false self]] or androcentric [[Persona (psychology)|persona]].<ref>Mary Anne Mattoon, ''Zurich 1995'' (1997) p. 119</ref>
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The apparently independent behavior of the counterdependent can act as a powerful lure for the [[Codependency|co-dependent]]<ref>Otto Fenichel, ''The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis'' (1946) p. 510</ref> - though once a couple has formed the two partners - codependent/counterdependent - are sometimes found to switch roles.<ref>Weinhold, p. 10</ref>{{full|date=December 2012}}
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In therapy, the counterdependent personality often wishes to flee treatment, as a defense against the possibility of [[Regression (psychology)|regression]].<ref>Leonard Horwitz, ''Borderline Personality Disorder'' (1996) p. 167 and p. 133-4</ref> By keeping the therapist at arm's length, and avoiding reference to feelings as far as possible, they may attempt to control the therapist so as to preserve their sense of independence.<ref>John Bowlby, ''A Secure Base'' (2000) p. 50-1</ref>
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==Existential views==
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[[Existential therapy|Existential therapists]] distinguish between interdependency on the one hand, and, on the other, both dependency and an escapist form of rebellious counterdependence.<ref>Emmy van Deurzen-Smith, ''Existential Counselling in Practice'' (1997) p. 18</ref>
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==Counter dependence transference==
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Counterdependency can present itself in a clinical situation in the form of a negative [[transference]].<ref>John Heron, ''Helping the Client'' (2001) p. 49</ref>
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In the [[Personal construct theory]] of [[George Kelly (psychologist)|George Kelly]], the term is used in another sense, to describe the therapist's transference of dependency onto the client: counter dependent transference.<ref>G. Kelly, ''The Psychology of Personal Constructs: Vol II'' (2003) p. 81-2 and p. 440</ref>
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==See also==
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* [[Attachment in adults]]
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* [[Counterphobic attitude]]
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* [[Couples therapy]]
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* [[Karpman drama triangle]]
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* [[Ludwig Binswanger]]
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* [[Oppositional defiant disorder]]
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* [[Schizoid avoidant behavior]]
   
 
[[Category:Interpersonal relationships]]
 
[[Category:Interpersonal relationships]]
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[[Category:Narcissism]]
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[[Category:Personal development]]
 
[[Category:Personality traits]]
 
[[Category:Personality traits]]
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[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
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[[Category:Self]]

Latest revision as of 12:08, April 30, 2013

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Being counterdependent is to take a position in relationships to ensure one is not dependent on others for emotional security status etc.

To some degree it is healthy to seek to be emotionally independent of others but this needs to be balanced with the ability to be appropriately engaged with others.

Where the habit of maintaining emotional distance too predominates this can be associated with and cause mental health and behavioral difficulties. Where counterdependency is the state of refusal of attachment, the denial of personal need and dependency, and may extend to the omnipotence and refusal of dialogue found in destructive narcissism, for example.[1]

This can be managed through passivity or passive aggressive behavior or through more active rejection of authority figures or social mores that support interpersonal relationships.

Counterdependent people can reach the point where their self-identity arise from their acts of opposition and defiance and their behavior can be very disruptive, making it difficult for them to hold down jobs or maintain relationships of any kind.

From a psychodynamic viewpoint such behavior patterns are thought to result from a deep-seated fear of intimacy, which, having lead to emotional isolation, is paired with an increased neediness for the feared state. This explains why counterdependents are sometimes locked into approach-avoidance conflicts in intimate relationships.

Developmental originsEdit

The roots of counterdependency can be found in the age-appropriate negativism of two-year-olds and teens,[2] where it serves the temporary purpose of distancing one from the parental figure[s]. As Selma Fraiberg put it, the two-year-old "says 'no' with splendid authority to almost any question addressed to him...as if he establishes his independence, his separateness from his mother, by being opposite".[3] Where the mother has difficulty accepting the child's need for active distancing,[4] the child may remain stuck in the counterdependent phase of development because of developmental trauma.[5]

In similar fashion, the teenager needs to be able to establish the fact of their separate mind to their parents,[6] even if only through a sustained state of cold rejection;[7] and again unresolved adolescent issues can lead to a mechanical counterdependence and unruly assertiveness in later life.[8]

Adult manifestationsEdit

The counterdependent personality has been described as being addicted to activity and suffering from grandiosity, as acting strong and pushing others away.[9] Out of a fear of being crowded, they avoid contact with others, something which can lead through emotional isolation to depression.[10]

The counterdependent male in particular may pride himself on being 'manly' - not needing affection, support or warmth, and being tough, independent and normal instead[11] - something still reinforced by gender socialisation.[12] Where a woman takes on the counterdependent position, it may take on the attributes of a false self or androcentric persona.[13]

The apparently independent behavior of the counterdependent can act as a powerful lure for the co-dependent[14] - though once a couple has formed the two partners - codependent/counterdependent - are sometimes found to switch roles.[15]Template:Full

In therapy, the counterdependent personality often wishes to flee treatment, as a defense against the possibility of regression.[16] By keeping the therapist at arm's length, and avoiding reference to feelings as far as possible, they may attempt to control the therapist so as to preserve their sense of independence.[17]

Existential viewsEdit

Existential therapists distinguish between interdependency on the one hand, and, on the other, both dependency and an escapist form of rebellious counterdependence.[18]

Counter dependence transferenceEdit

Counterdependency can present itself in a clinical situation in the form of a negative transference.[19]

In the Personal construct theory of George Kelly, the term is used in another sense, to describe the therapist's transference of dependency onto the client: counter dependent transference.[20]


See alsoEdit


Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

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