Codependency and counterdependence in the context of a relationship are types of codependent behavior because the underlying reasons for both behaviors are the same:
1. Low self-esteem caused by feelings of shame
2. Fear of being alone
On the codependent side, the codependent person desperately searches for a person who is willing to put up with their shameful self. They will open up to this person because they feel they need to save their conscience about inflicting themselves on another person. They will do anything for that person, including demeaning themselves to keep them because they feel worthless and that their partner will eventually realize this, they will adopt compliance behaviors.
On the counterdependent side, the counterdependent person cannot face their shame and will do whatever it takes to avoid facing it, which can involve virtually any type of addiction, the most common of the traditional addictions being alcoholism. Another even more common form of addiction is adrenaline addiction in the form of anger towards people in general and towards your partner in particular. A contradependent person is afraid to open up to another person, possibly because they have been rejected or betrayed before in life, but mainly because if they open up to another person, they also open up to themselves and face what they have refused to face. They try to tie their partner to them by threatening and belittling them so that their partner feels powerless and dependent on the counterdependent, they will adopt control behaviors.
In reality, most codependent relationships have elements of both codependent and counterdependent behavior in both codependents, where each switches from one role to the other, resulting in the tug-of-war effect often seen in codependent relationships. Usually, however, each person in the relationship will take on a predominantly codependent or counterdependent role.
As a general rule, codependent people will subconsciously seek out counterdependent people and counterdependent people will subconsciously seek out codependent people. Sometimes you find two counterdependents in a relationship where they are always fighting or two codependents in a relationship where they both feel aimless.
As a result of people being raised with a male stereotype that men are strong, decisive, and dominant and a female stereotype that women are loving, caring, and submissive, men are more likely to fall into the role of counterdependent and women are more likely to fall into a codependent role, although it should be noted that this is not always the case and there will be some relationships with a counterdependent woman and a codependent man (the chicken pecked husband stereotype).
The recovery of the codependent in the codependent role implies that he first accepts himself and faces his shame. After which, the codependent must learn to understand subconscious codependent habits that are detrimental to their relationships in order to correct these behaviors.
Recovery for the codependent in the role of counterdependent can be much more problematic than for the codependent because he must first overcome any physical addictions he may have, at which point his addiction to substances will be replaced by addiction to adrenaline, which will cause irritability by anger. or resentment, which is the normal behavior of a counterdependent in a relationship who is not addicted to substances.
The problem is that anger/irritation/resentment has the effect of making the angry person believe that they are always right. This makes it very difficult for them to be convinced of the extent of the negativity in their behavior.
If you are reading this and think you may be codependent, either in the codependent or counterdependent role, you may want to seek counseling or join a Codependents Anonymous group. Most importantly, you will need to be patient with both yourself and your partner, remembering that it took many years for you to become the way you are, so you can expect it to take time for you to change your behavior.
Remember that the goal here is to achieve healthy relationships in which all participants can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.