04 Jun

A Dangerous Game

In 1968 Joe South wrote the “Games People Play”. It is a cynical view of life, with some truth thrown in. We all play games and wear masks to cope with our insecurities.

When I first heard the term ‘co-dependency’ I was clueless about what it was. A very short explanation made me realise that I was a full-on co-dependent. A rude awakening that saved my life. It took an honest look inside myself to admit this truth. It is a massive problem when it runs your life and the decisions you make.

By now there are some of you wondering what I am talking about.

It is not a simple definition. I can explain it by telling you that there is a continuum in the way our relationships work that looks like this.

DEPENDENT                                    INTERDEPENDENT                                           INDEPENDENT

The two outer extremes are unhealthy. The ideal balance is in the middle.

So let me make it easier. Co-dependency is like a game of tennis.

The co-dependent serves the ball to the receiving dependent then quickly runs to the dependent's side of the net and pushes them aside and returns the ball. Now the co-dependent runs back quickly to their side to return the shot …….. Until the co-dependent misses a shot. Then they start all over again with the next service.

The co-dependent even takes the dependent’s service for them.


The co-dependent has a deep need to be needed.

The co-dependent needs to be seen to be as doing good deeds for the dependent.

The co-dependent believes that they need to save the dependent from pain and discomfort.

The list goes on and on and differs for each co-dependent person. The roots of the co-dependent behaviour are different for each co-dependent person and originate from the formative years of life.

What can be said of the dependent person?

The dependent is content to have no responsibility in the game.

The dependent know’s that their shots will be played for them.

If the co-dependent messes up the shot it is not the dependent’s fault.

The dependent’s coping skills are slowly eroded and finally destroyed.

Not everyone confronted by a co-dependent will succumb.

This game of co-dependent tennis’  can go on for along time. Until eventually the co-dependent grows weary of running from side to side. Problems start when this balance shifts and can lead to serious consequences for both players. The only way for this game to continue in harmony is for the players to meet on the interdependent middle ground and play their part in the game as it is intended. It is possible, believe me, I’ve been in the wrong game.

 If you find yourself at either end of this spectrum and want to make a change you can contact me to learn the rules of the interdependent game of tennis.

* The email will not be published on the website.