A codependent person is someone who has let another person's behaviour affect them in such a way that they are obsessed with trying to control and change the other person's behaviour. The codependent has attached their identity to the other person and lost control of their own ability to think, feel, act, and take care of themselves. They are very much addicted to the other person.
Until they realize their recovery lies not in the other person (no matter how much they believe it does) but in themselves; they will never change.
The roots of codependency (for most people) go back to childhood and traumatic experiences, for example, growing up with an alcoholic or abusive parent. Sometimes the origins of codependency are from later in life, perhaps from an abusive adult relationship as one example.
Step one is detaching from the person of our obsession because he or she cannot begin to work on themselves and connect to Source (God) until they detach.
There's a great verse in the Bhagavad Gita, a work central to Hinduism, that says detachment is not that we own nothing; detachment means nothing owns us. It's a powerful tool because we all can experience times in our life when we act codependently. It's part of being a human.
Detachment, in regards to codependency, is the premise that we are all responsible for ourselves, and no other. We must let go of the false belief that it's our job to fix or solve or worry about problems that aren't ours.
[Sidebar: Another word for detachment and one that I prefer is non-attachment.}
Non- attachment doesn’t mean withdrawing our love from the person we care about; it means loving in healthy detached ways. For example, we stop enabling, we set boundaries with consequences and act on them, if broken. We begin to learn self-love and self-respect by teaching others how to treat ourselves.
I love this paragraph from Melody Beattie:
When should we detach? When we can't stop thinking, talking about, or worrying about someone or something; when our emotions are churning and boiling; when we feel like we have to do something about someone because we can't stand it another minute; when we're hanging on by a thread, and it feels like that single thread is frayed; and when we believe we can no longer live with the problem we've been trying to live with. It is time to detach! You will learn to recognize when detachment is advisable. A good rule of thumb is: You need to detach most when it seems the least likely or possible thing to do. ~ Melody Beattie from her famous book Codependent No More.
We must decide to let go of our self-centred behaviour and our God-like thinking because we have no control over anything outside ourselves. Our efforts to control or cling will only create anxiety because to have life and to have its pleasure, we must, at the same time, let go of it. And if we are having trouble with letting go, change the wording to -- let it be.