“At fifteen years old, Denny was diagnosed with a special case of psychosis, blended of a mild form of schizophrenia and bipolar type 1 disease. He has also been declared at his adult screening as a sociopath. And hell, at one time they were even monitoring him for Dissociative Identity Disorder or more known as uh, split personalities”
You would think that my write up would be strictly about Denny, considering the quote above, but this ain’t bouta be a bashing Denny session cuz mental illness or not, Denny is bae. This write up is more so about the dynamic of his relationship with Neeka as a whole.
Codependency is a term that gained popularity in the 50s. Used in the mental health field, codependency was initially used to describe relationships where one of the parties was an addict. A relationship was considered to be codependent when one would overcompensate in “helping” their partner, thereby enabling them and making the addiction worse.
These days, the term codependency can relate to any type of relationship where one party is the giver and the other party is the taker and is not exclusive to those suffering from addiction.
Codependency is typically the result of emotional neglect, family dysfunction, or chronic stress in one’s younger years. When someone has been deprived of love and healthy relationships from an early age, the desire for it tends to outweigh anything else, which is why codependent relationships are characteristic of one's difficulty in loving, accepting, trusting, and being true to self (spacioustherapy.com, 2022).
One could definitely say that Denny and Neeka had a codependent relationship, but what was interesting about their relationship was that their roles of giver and taker switched up quite frequently throughout the story.
So, how exactly did they have a codependent relationship?
1.) They constantly worried about being left
Often times in codependent relationships, one of the parties (in the case, both parties) has an attachment issue in which they’re afraid of being left due to the neglect or dysfunction they endured as children. There were several times throughout the story where they referred to each other as being their “oxygen” and not being able to live or breathe if one were to leave.
Now who sounds crazy here? Neeka or Denny?
As mentioned above, the initial term of codependency dealt with addiction and a partner overcompensating in “helping” their partner, thereby enabling them and making the addiction worse. The best example of this, in my opinion, was the scene where Denny went to kill Neeka’s father. After Denny got violent and Neeka’s stepmother walked in, Neeka took charge of the situation, but instead of doing what was morally right, she proceeded to threaten her father, her stepmother, and her stepsister to protect Denny, which ultimately did nothing but enable him and give him a false sense of power. Because at the end of the day, did beating her father really help anything?
3.) Staying through Abuse
Ok, so I know that abuse is a strong word, and it definitely has a negative connotation, but when you think of the definition of emotional abuse (a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate another person (Verywellmind.com, 2022)), you have to recognize that Denny’s manipulative ways were indeed a form of emotional abuse (he still bae doe). When I think about how young and impressionable Neeka was and how Denny was able to persuade (I’ll use persuade instead of manipulate) her into being with him, leaving her family for him, and having a baby for him, even though she had her own dreams and aspirations, I have to admit that that wasn't healthy.
AND THEN he leaves without notice. She falls into a depression, finds out she’s pregnant, and decides to get an abortion due to fear and uncertainty. He was hurt. Crushed, even. And he made her pay for it. He made her feel guilty every chance he got, and when he wasn’t, he’d give her some sort of false hope by whispering sweet nothings in her ear, which would give her hope, and ass soon as she fed into it, he’d back away again. EMOTIONAL. ROLLERCOASTER.
Despite how toxic their relationship was, how many heart attacks I had, and how it took me nearly three months to read because I had to keep taking breaks, I was rooting for them, and this was probably one of the best series I’ve ever read. Takerra Allen always knocks it out the park.
What do y’all think? What are your thoughts on Denny and Neeka?