True codependency is widely misunderstood, and often mistaken for emotional dependency, a significant risk factor for abuse and exploitation in relationships.
For a long time it was assumed that everyone struggled with social fears and tenuous self-esteem. It was therefore natural to further assume, that any perceived criticism would only invite a person to unconsciously mount “defenses” against what they regarded as attacks on their already impaired self-image. And while such scenarios can and do still occur, they’re nowhere near as common as they once were.
The folks we label “borderline” are individuals whose personalty never quite came together. And it’s because of this personality integration failure that they not only appear to have a distinctively erratic, unpredictable, and unstable manner of coping but also frequently display features of other personality disturbances such as narcissism, dependence, manipulation proneness, etc. For these and many other reasons, coming to an accurate understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be quite a challenging task.
Emotional dependency is perhaps the most insidious type of dependency, and to the degree we possess it, it can put us at a significant disadvantage when it comes to establishing or maintaining relationships.