On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people; and then I go home alone.
Janis Joplin (American rock singer)
Dependence is used here as an umbrella term that covers co- dependence, inter-dependence and independence. Concepts that closely relate to our social (in)dependence, loneliness and solitude, will also be addressed with an emphasis on their difference.
Co-dependence refers to dependence on the needs or the control of another person. It usually involves somebody who places a lower priority on their own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. This is often accompanied by low self- esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns. Co-dependence can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and intimate relationships. These are asymmetrical relationships, in which one is helping or caring for the other (e.g. an alcoholic partner) in order to keep or control them. In other words a co-dependent relationship perpetuates a status quo so as to remain needed. If you recognise such patterns in some of your relationships, you do not necessarily need to end them, but it would be healthier for all involved to at least address the issue.
Inter-dependence, on the other hand, means cooperating with others. It can also be defined as the interconnectedness and reliance on another physically, emotionally, socially, or economically. While co-dependence may not be healthy, inter- dependence is valuable and important. We all depend on others to some degree: children depend on their carers for food and shelter or on teachers to learn; adults are also dependent on public services or other family members. In fact, we are inter-dependent with just about everything and everybody, even with people we don’t know from different parts of the globe (as they may be producing something that we need).