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Co-Dependendants by Dr. Mary Longman


Co-dependents (1996)
Wood, leather, copper
214 x 153 x 55 cm
Collection of Indspire: National Indigenous Achievement Foundation

The work Co-dependents is a result of my observance of co-dependent relationships. Co-dependant relationships occur when friends and family maintain a relationship with a unhealthy or toxic or abusive person even though it is unhealthy for them. Each person enables the other from moving beyond the state of dysfunction. People usually stay in co-dependent relationships due to lack of self-esteem and/or lack of healthy boundaries. They may even over-compensate by caretaking and martrdom, preventing their loved one from dealing with addictions or unhealthy behaviour and consequences. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how extreme the tension is, the two may still remain precariously balanced between love and resentment. Co-dependence is all around us, such as in the music we hear everyday. In love ballads, we often hear lyrics that reflect unhealthy dependency and the loss of the independent self; “I would be nothing if I didn’t have you” or “You are my everything,” or in the most pathetic case, “If you leave me, can I come too?”

The wishbone in the piece suggests the contradictory dynamics of a co-dependent relationship: one side wishes that things will get better, the other side reversed, becomes a weapon, a slingshot specifically intended to injure and cause pain.