Poem: Codependency Love

Updated on January 29, 2020
Mark Tulin profile image

Besides writing psychological poetry, Mark enjoys exploring a variety of topics from surfing to juicy grandma kisses.


Codependency and Love, Explained

Codependent love has no boundaries. There is no end or beginning. No you or me. There is just one, a fusion of two dysfunctional people. When one experiences trauma, the other does, too. The dysfunction persists and flourishes into an almost insurmountable catastrophe.

When a person finds herself living for the other person who has an addiction, and is only happy when the addict is sober, then she is just as unhealthy as the one with the substance abuse problem.

As the codependent enables, he or she helps to maintain an unhealthy dynamic and, in turn, becomes a part of the problem. The solution is often for the codependent to let go, to take care of him or herself, and to allow the addict to do the same. My poem, Codependency Love, explores the dynamic between the addict and the enabler.

Poem: Codependency Love

Her husband’s addiction,

much too hard

for her to endure.

For he was she

and she was he

and ignoring the problem

was a solution

that both stubbornly agreed.

She hid everything

and he concealed the truth,

chased the white lies

like elusive fireflies.

She protected and abetted

and hated his very soul.

He depended and resented,

picking up the pieces,

begged and pleaded,

and rescued him from dives,

cheap barflies, and lifted him

from the floor of his fallen bar stool.

She’d clean his soiled self

and promise that next time

would be her last,

but she couldn’t quit,

her dependency, her control,

her fears wouldn’t let go

or break the pattern

of cease and assist.

Even after many years passed

and more of the shame,

she foolishly believed that one day,

he’d be sober again

and her troubles washed away

like the dirty laundry, she hauled each week

to the coin-operated machines.


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    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      5 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you for sharing your story, Brenda. Not all enabling relationships are 100-percent sad, there are some good times mixed in there. But I think they have sad endings. One person has to jump ship and let the other figure things out on his own. I’m glad you were strong enough to take care of yourself.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image


      5 months ago from Washington Court House


      This is such a sad poem.

      I can relate to it.

      I walked away from a relationship I was in for 18 years. That was in 2016.

      A part of me was drowning staying there beside him drinking and sleeping odd hours of the night. I too had started drinking at the time.

      I did love parts of my life like my kitty cats and our friendship. The company was great.

      I thought I was helping and I do feel terrible for leaving but I got to a point where I had to live life for myself.

      I didn't realize at the time how much of an enabler I was being.

      I feel much better now, no longer living life that way.

      Now only a social drinker, but meeting new life struggles at my age is sometimes daunting.

      I am glad I realized what I was doing.

      Thanks for the share.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      5 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Absolutely. People who enable have terrible boundaries. Loving doesn’t always work. It’s not a cure-all, especially with addictions.

    • Diane Denison profile image

      Diane Denison 

      5 months ago from Cincinnati Ohio

      I enjoyed reading this. I had a friend that had a son on heroin she tried everything to help him get over his addiction. But her mother kept enabling him. Gave him money etc: Perhaps some people are addicted to chaos. In which a Heroin Like a alcoholic can turn a quiet peaceful day upside down in a New York Minuet.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Tamara.

    • Rhyme Vine Poetry profile image


      6 months ago from Uninhabited Regions

      This is an excellent piece that explains Codependency, perfectly!

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      That’s right, Ruby. Excuses and promises. It’s hard to get out of that rut, even though not doing anything about it causes misery and hardship.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I listened to your video after reading your poetry. Well done! I imagine we all know a couple who are codependents, I know I do, and they never change, excuses and promises daily. I really liked this.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks Bushra.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      6 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Fine poem. Thank you for posting it here.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      This kind of love happens far too often, Rinita. I’ve also seen it with a troubled child and a parent. They often care too much and become exhausted and overwhelmed by the needs of the child. In some cases, love is not so easy. Thanks for the read, appreciated your comments.

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Rinita Sen 

      6 months ago

      The poem makes me sad. It's too honest, I guess. I admire your thoughts behind it. This kind of love is hardly love, though, isn't it? Love can only make each other strong, being together or being separate. Hope you have a good day, Mark.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks, Lorna. My aunt and uncle were caught up in that dynamic for their entire marriage, which ended for both in an early demise.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Yes, Lora a problem much too common. And therapy would be a wonderful starting point.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Yes, Flourish. To deny your own needs is not true love.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      6 months ago

      Sometimes it can take many years of turmoil and heartbreak for someone to realise that love is not enough. Very often the person who is enabling is the one who will suffer the most and eventually lose themselves. This powerful poem highlights this cycle of codependency very well. Excellent and thought provoking Mark.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      6 months ago

      A great poem on this topic, Mark. I've seen it in many families including my own. These people become as one and as you say, they actually make the problem worse! Aiding and abetting certainly isn't the answer. Getting therapy and taking responsibility for your own actions is what is needed.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 months ago from USA

      Excellent poem. I enjoyed this. There are so many people who think this is true love.

    • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thank you, John. Very true. Perhaps it’s due to our belief that love is supposed to fuse a couple as one.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a real-life problem, Mark, that probably doesn't get a lot of attention. Your poem discusses the situation perfectly. A great write.


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