Achieving mature adulthood is predicated upon balance of the faculties. Serious personal trauma can establish emotional associations that bring pain along with the exercise of our faculties. Those suffering from such a trauma may fear to explore and fully exercise their faculties.

In other cases, our environment does not provide opportunities to develop our faculties. Though we may lack the skills, yet we are not afraid to develop them when the opportunity arises.

Without access to those faculties, the only means to establish a stable existence is to borrow those faculties from our intimates. This is the pattern of dependency.

The dependent personality will attempt to create mutuality (co-dependency) by separating us from our associates. Their demands on our attention ultimately make it difficult for us to manage our responsibilities, and that allows them to do us the "favor" of integrating themselves more deeply in our lives.

F. Scott Peck, in People of the Lie, reflects on a long professional history analyzing such relationships. Perhaps the most direct way of recognizing the syndrome is to ask ourselves, "Do we have power over our lives? If not, who is denying it to us? If that is not obvious, who can help us to acquire that power?" By the definition of love above, if our intimates are not supporting the development of our personal power, they don't love us!