I’m not a fan of codependency. I’m not referring to people who tend to be called co-dependent, but to the concept of codependency. I consider it a fancy way of blaming the victim. Codependents are said to be preoccupied with the needs of others and to spend an undue amount of time in caretaking. They feel guilty if they stand up for themselves or put their needs ahead of others, and tend to be at the short end of emotionally nonreciprocal relationships. This is seen as dysfunctional, even though these are precisely the same traits that are considered desirable in women in much of our culture. You could say it’s a neat trick to come up with a label that holds women complicit in their own diminishment or even abuse. Another group of people who can be called codependent are trauma survivors, who as children are wired for compliance, in environments where compliance may be synonymous with survival. It is very difficult for women to transcend cultural expectations without support, as it is very difficult for survivors to transcend their very physiology. The “cure” for codependency lies first in recognizing that it is most often a response to entitlement, abuse, addiction, or narcissism.