Codependence: Considering the Dependent Relationship
It is known that the term of “codependence” means dependent relationship (or dependence in human relationship). To be more concrete, it is pointed out to be codependent in the relationships between “the alcoholic husbands” and “the wives who support their husbands desperately,” between “the batterer men” and “the battered women,” between “the overprotective mothers” and “the sons who cannot become independent and stays indoors even if they reach adulthood,” and so on.
The concept of codependence is very ambiguous. It has been said to be applicable to any events if the concept has some connection with “others” and the connection is “dependent.” The couples who do not want to leave even for a moment is codependent, the children who are judged to be dependent on their parents and their parents or vice versa is codependent, and the friends who always stay together and disclose all secrets each other is also codependent. Today, codependence seems to have become the much extended concept.
The events which are represented by the term of codependence are apt to have negative image since the term itself has negative image originally. In other words, the dependent relationship seems to be regarded as a little dangerous. Some research conducted in the U.S. reports that most Americans are codependent and that they need to recover from it since it is illness. This is the American claim, which thinks autonomy as important. If codependence is something which has the connection with “others” and “dependent,” all people with a little dependence can become codependent people. How many people in the world do you think are people who are not dependent at all? From a different angle, we might be said that this American claim answers this question.
It is true that dependence has many negative aspects. However, I would like to convey that that is not all. I would like to conduct research on codependence, especially through negative aspects in dependence.
The Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences of Ritsumeikan University, which I belong to, hosted the international conference, “Catastrophe and Justice.” One year has passed since the Tohoku Earthquake happened and I was able to consider the Earthquake again through my presentation at this conference. I had a mixed feeling that we should not forget it, and that I could talk about it since I did not experience it directly when I prepared for my presentation. Still, I had an important experience that I considered parts of the Earthquake and listened to people who supported to the suffered areas of the Earthquake during the preparation of my presentation. Thanks to this conference I can feel that the importance of dependence in human relationship should be applicable in the support of the Earthquake as well.
There are various ways or ways of thinking concerning human relationship. Although I cannot trace all of these ways, I will try to find some value in my research.