Are We Too Dependent? Independence, Independents, Codependence and Interdependence…

Ken Donaldson on Are We Too Dependent? Independence, Independents, Codependence and Interdependence…

Coming off the Independence Day weekend, all of us here in the U.S. have much to be thankful for. Our independence and freedoms are second to none.

But did you know that this is also Independents Week; a week designated by the American Independent Business Alliance ( to:

“…engage local independent businesses and citizens in celebrating entrepreneurial spirit and the freedom our local businesses embody. Independents Week also is an occasion to recognize small businesses’ contributions to the community — and to affirm citizens’ role in shaping their community’s future.”

And, yes, isn’t it also great to have the freedom to exercise your entrepreneurial ideas, goals and vision?!

So what does codependence have to do with all this? Isn’t that like raining on the parade of freedom, the right to self-expression and independence?

Yes; no; maybe; probably.

The problem is that codependence can completely undermine a healthy cultural independence, while also ruining business independence from the inside out.

So what is codependence? This pscychobabblish buzzword of the 80s and 90s has been commonly and inappropriately overused and, for the most part, radically misunderstood by the mainstream public.

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines codependence as:

“…a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly:  dependence on the needs of or control by another.” (

However you define or describe codependence, it’s never good. Personally I like to define codependence as, “being overly dependent on someone else for the dysfunctional purpose of identity, security and/or survival.”

Codependent relationships have clogged my counseling practice for years. In fact, I would say that a conservative estimate of clients I’ve seen in my 26 years of practice who came to see me, because of a significant degree of codependence (usually unbeknownst to them), is at least 80%.

In some kind of a weird and twisted gift, codependency has kept me in business (and I’d be more than happy to have a global healing of such; I could then have an early retirement and take up fishing).

When the codependence virus intoxicates a business, communication breaks down, teams are fragmented, morale is lost and the organization begins a rapid downward spiral. Although codependent organizations can survive for years, their turnover rate continually climbs, while their productivity plummets. People no longer want to work with these toxic organizations and their dysfunctional reputation stymies their growth.

Which means, at some point, the business dies from the codependence virus.

All of which brings us to interdependence, which may very likely be a term that you’re not familiar with. Wikipedia (the source of all truth and wisdom) offers the following definition:

“Interdependence is the mutual reliance between two or more groups. In relationships, interdependence is the degree to which members of the group are mutually dependent on the others. This concept differs from a dependent relationship, where some members are dependent and some are not.” ( )

In other words, these are the healthy relationships.

These relationships (from a romantic perspective) have the following characteristics:

  • Effective Communication: Communication is one of the primary cornerstones of ALL healthy relationships.
  • Treat Each Other as Best Friends: Research shows that couples who treat each other nice and who are friendly during non-conflict times stay together longer and are happier.
  • Commit to Moving “Towards” Rather Than “Away”: Many people avoid conflict (and sometimes deeper intimacy) and distance themselves when anything becomes uncomfortable.
  • Get Complete With the Past: Bringing “unfinished business” into a relationship will eventually create unnecessary hardships, conflict and drama.
  • Always Date: Keep the romance and passion going or the “fire” will go out.
  • Let Your Partner Help You: You are in a partnership…let go of ego or control issues and allow both of you to benefit from the partnership.
  • Be Authentic: Always speak your truth with compassion and discernment.
  • Create a Weekly “Check-In”: Stay current with addressing the challenges and affirming the growth of the relationship.
  • Create a Shared Relationship Vision: Give the relationship extra value, purpose and direction.
  • Always Practice Effective Listening: Although this is a core piece of effective communication, it deserves its own separate acknowledgement. Listen to ALL that is being said AND what ALL that is NOT said.

In fact, if you’d like more interdependent relationship ideas, pick-up my 50 Ways to Love Your Lover eBook from Amazon (

SO…what type of relationships(s) are you engaged in or creating in your life, at your business and in your social circle?

  • Is there open and direct communication?
  • Are all parties “checking in” to “stay current” and prevent unresolved issues from growing?
  • Is there equality between all the people?
  • Is there a commitment to ongoing growth in spite of the growing pains that always accompany such?
  • Are all parties willing to help each other for the greater good, regardless of their ego?
  • Is there a common vision, mission and purpose, so everyone knows where they’re going, why they’re going and how to get there?

Just a few question to ponder.

Happy Independence Day and Independents Week, and let’s all work together and commit to be less unconsciously codependent and more consciously interdependent..

Think about it…

 P.S. Marry YourSelf First! gives you wonderful insights and tools to be more Interdependent!


About Ken Donaldson

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