The Cause of Counter-Dependency

The topic of codependency comes up regularly within many discussions revolving around addiction. Many people battling addiction are often codependent on others because they cannot financially support their habit from drugs and alcohol on their own. Loved ones will also become codependent on the person with active addiction when they start putting their needs after others to make sure they do not suffer. These types of relationships are dysfunctional and typically keep the addiction alive rather than allow sobriety to ensue. 

On the flip side of codependency, another term not quite as common is called counter-dependency. While codependency may lead to an over-reliance on people, counter-dependency causes people not to rely on others for anything. 

How Counter-Dependency Works

Not only do people who are counter-dependent refuse to take anything from anyone, but they also do not allow themselves to get too close to others. Their fear of others also expands to being afraid of having others’ wants and needs imposed on them. They will push people away instantly to keep from being hurt by anyone ever again. A counter-dependent person may also use drugs and alcohol to cope with past rejection, which could be detrimental to getting sober. Since they are not accustomed to reaching out, they may stay stuck in their counter-dependent world, dying in addiction. 

How Counter-Dependency Works With Recovery

Due to trauma or neglect in the past, an individual will go to great lengths to avoid asking for help. Well, if they are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, they are setting themself up for failure without utilizing what they have to work with. If a person wants to get and stay sober, they will need to ask for help from a therapist or a sponsor to take them through the 12-Steps to earn long-term sobriety. In return, a counter-dependent person trying to recover from drug and alcohol addiction will need to work with newcomers to carry on the message of hope. If a person allows their counter-dependency to continue to be a problem in recovery, the service legacy will not be fulfilled, and neither will they.

The cause of counter-dependency often derives from being abandoned or neglected as an infant or young child. Due to the trauma stemming from the lack of parental attachment, complete independence from others will result as a form of protection. The person will never accept anything from anyone else to keep from being let down again as a coping mechanism. Redefining what intimacy means to them is crucial, or their self-isolation could result in a relapse to numb the pain. 


Valiant Living wants to provide the opportunity to show you the solution to cessation from drugs and alcohol. We offer outpatient and inpatient programs that target evidence-based therapy as a solution to resolve the issues brought about by the insidiousness of addiction, including codependency and counter-dependency. Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, we offer “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. With the power of recovery, Valiant Living can help you achieve long-term sobriety. Call us today for more information at (303) 952-5035.