Codependency, Neptune and The Tangle of Human Relationships

Do you put the welfare of others before your own self-interests? Are you sensitive – maybe a little too sensitive – to the emotions of others? Do you somehow take on “too much” of the work of a relationship? There is a word for that, you know, and that word is co-dependency.

Despite the fact that it is not listed as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association, co-dependency is considered by a good many health care professionals as an emotional health, if not a mental health, issue.

Codependency or codependence is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one’s needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including in families, at work, in friendships, and also in romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns.

Source: Codependency. (2010, July 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:03, July 13, 2010, from

An Astrological Viewpoint

A human being with the traits shown above often has a strong Neptune/Pisces signature in their chart. A Neptune/Pisces signature can manifest in different ways:

  • Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars in the zodiac sign of Pisces
  • Neptune in energetic connection (aspect) to one of the above planets, especially the other water sign moons, Cancer and Scorpio.
  • Pisces on the cusp of the first or seventh house.

The Influence of Pisces and Neptune on Your Personality

Astrologically modern Western astrologers associate the planet Neptune with idealism and compassion, but also with illusion, confusion and deception; with religions, spirituality and mysticism, the mass media, creativity in art and music, drugs, extreme sensitivity, fantasy and imagination, psychic phenomena and altered mental states. Neptune governs hospitals, prisons, mental institutions, and any place, such as a monastery, that involves a retreat from society.

Source: Planets in astrology. (2010, July 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:23, July 13, 2010, from

Neptune, being one of the outer planets, operates at a different level than a personal planet. At its core, Neptune speaks about Spirit, that part of us that exists outside of physicality, time or space. Spirit has a much different perception of existence. Viewed from the perspective of immortality, the brief sojourns we have on earth are important tools for growth. However, the day-to-day minutiae, whether that hot guy says hello to us at the water cooler or not, for instance, are non-issues. Spirit has a natural tendency to help and comfort, like angels are said to do at our times of crisis. Those of us with an extra helping of Neptune or Pisces in our chart are naturally inclined towards compassion with a strong desire to help others.

The Neptune/Pisces individual’s sense of boundaries tend to be rather fluid. Since we feel the emotions of others, we tend to think that others do the same. It is often a shock for us to realize that most people do not. It is as hard for us to fathom that notion as it is for others to understand that there are people that have Neptunian abilities. Clinicians call Neptunian emotional fluidity “hyperawareness of other’s emotions” and considers this a symptom of codependency.

The Challenge

These Neptunian qualities – compassion, awareness of other’s needs, and a desire to help – may be among the finest that humanity has to offer itself. But as always, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

The challenge for any person with a strong Neptune/Pisces signature is to learn when to give and when to respect personal boundaries, when to realize when a little bit of help and comfort morphs into too much caretaking. Since it is Neptune that guides our actions here, we may delude ourselves, thinking that if we help just a little more, the other person will get that job, overcome that addiction, learn to love.

We’ve all come across those folks that will take advantage of a good heart. More than just being down and out, these people actively deny responsibility for fixing the problems in their life. Yet for someone with a Neptunian signature, it can be hard to know the difference between someone who needs some support and someone who is taking advantage. Here is the guideline to follow when trying to figure out how much to invest yourself: If the other person fails to follow through on their promises to you within a reasonable time frame and regularly makes excuses for themselves, then they are using you for their own comfort. Continuing to take care of such person will rightly earn you the label of being co-dependent.

In the tangle of human relationships, the challenge for the Neptunian marked soul is to learn where to put their considerable talents. Let the angels handle those folks whose views are too distorted to help themselves. That is their job. Your job is to use your caring and compassion to light a path to Love on this Earth plane. There, isn’t that a better use of your talents?

About the Author

Beth TurnageBeth Turnage is a professional astrologer with over twenty years experience counseling clients in career and relationship issues. She writes an astrology column for a weekly newspaper along the Connecticut shoreline and blogs about astrology at Astrology Media Press.

About Beth Turnage

Beth Turnage is a professional astrologer with over twenty years experience counseling clients in career and relationship issues. She writes an astrology column for a weekly newspaper along the Connecticut shoreline and blogs about astrology at Astrology Media Press.


  1. Amanda Tucker says:

    Oh, my god! My Neptune is in my 3rd house opposite my MC. No wonder I have a bleeding heart for everyone that is suffering and have gone through the ugly codependent relationships that I will never go through again. Thank you, because I don’t feel crazy anymore. 🙂

  2. VirgoWoman says:


    Thank you for the article. Just last night I was starting to read a series of articles on Neptune and boundary setting!

    I used to think that everyone COULD tune in to, and really FEEL, the emotions of others, but that many people were just too self absorbed in their own personal dramas to be in touch with empathy.

    People who are feeling a lot of pain, sorrow, hurt and anger are drawn to me. Total strangers pour their hearts out and then comment that they don’t know why they just told me things they aren’t comfortable telling anyone else. For me, it can be really draining, but I think it helps people when I just sit and listen without attempting to tell them “what to do about it”. I try to seek out people who share a philosophy of living joyfully and with their own inner peace to help counter others’ negative energies. Also, I have to spend a lot of time in solitude to “detox” and reground myself.

    Intimate relationships? Two decades ago, I figured out that I can’t fix someone else. They have to somehow find their own path. Still I do attract codependant people. I have never married any of my mistakes. LOL At fifty, I may never marry, though it would be nice to share companionship with someone else who knows Spirit and tries to live in the Light.

    My sensitive positions are 12th house Sun, conjunct Moon/Pluto, NN, and PoF in Virgo, with Moon/Pluto sextile Neptune in Scorpio. Neptune is sextile Saturn in Capricorn. If I add BML in Cancer, I have a cradle configuration. I think the Saturn and Lillith connections help me detach other peoples’ feelings from my own, though it is difficult sometimes as I strongly feel others’ vibes around me. That Cardinal Saturn/Lilith opposition also could be keeping me single, standing up and protecting my own light!

    Thank you again for the article. Much to think about there.

  3. I’m always balancing this out. I have Pisces in my sun, moon, AND mercury. Thank goodness that I don’t have anymore water placements than those in my chart. I kinda get a sixth sense that a person is attempting to use me and that’s when I quietly and deliberately shut off access.

    Thanks to this sixth sense it always comes about that the person who was attempting to use me for their benefit only ends up slandering my name or hating me. lol I just laugh, because I know that it was the golden egg syndrome. They thought they’d found the goose that lays the golden eggs only to find that the goose understands who to lay golden eggs for.

    My most recent ex said that I’m a person who gets others to become co-dependent on me only to snatch the rug from underneath them. I said,”Nope, not at all. There’s nothing wrong with helping, I just understand my limits in helping people get where they want to go”.

  4. Claire aka Sucka says:

    Pisces moon in the 7th house. I’ve had to learn the hard way to create boundaries (obstinate Mars in Taurus). Neptune also squares my moon, conjuncts venus, quincunx Mars, sextile Jupiter, etc… Headache and heartbreak.

    I also have a grand water trine with the kite in Mars.

    I DO have to withdraw, because the empathy gets too much. I psychically, physically, emotionally HURT too much sometimes. Withdrawing IS coping. I am almost 37 years old and it has taken me almost this long to figure out how to draw boundaries.

    Luckily, my sun is conjunct uranus, so’s I have a little bit of an independent streak. I will abruptly leave when I have had enough.

  5. i have moon and mars sextiles to neptune. most of the guys i’ve dated have been traumatized in some sort of way – alot of deceased parents, some sort of abuse and pretty much all of them have substance addiction problems or are borderline to it (heavy drinkers) and all of them are extremist.

    the last one i dated was prolly the most co-dependant of all of them or at least the most obvious about it. the rest it just kinda became about me some how being the one that would change things for them, even if just by being able to be around me but the last one actually said on more than one occasion that he needed someone to take care of him. he also admitted to purposely trying to make me feel bad for him though he didn’t understand why he wanted to do such.

    and he was 5xs over scorpio. so all those planets deep in murky waters coupled with my neptune transits?

    yea…hot mess.

  6. Hi Beth,

    thanx for your beautiful insight ! 😀 You made me think allot . .

    I’we somewhat failed to recognize the merits to my 3th House Capricorn Neptune that, aside the generational sextile Pluto, makes ‘only’ a sextile to the Moon and squares Mars. At firtst sigh, poor and not good at all 🙁 . .

    But then again, i have a Pisces Moon and a Venus/Mars conjunction in Pisces too . . that’s a plenty of Neptune if you frame it right 🙂

    The problems mostly arises from this Mars square that in energetic means makes my Mars sometimes allmost unusable. I just dont know how to overcome it, and periodicly get to isolation and to non relational type of activities.

    As i have Uranus squaring this nice bunch of Piscean planets, each of them to be precise, co/dependency is a big NO on my priority list. The truth is that, just sometimes, i really need it, but again, that doesnt means is something i am willing to allow lol 😛

    Hope to read again soon,

  7. i got a problem with the same. i cant seem to put boundaries with myself and others. learning astrology helps. i wonder… my neptune trines my ascendant, do you think this is the reason?

  8. Indeed @Ann, <our avatar is a nice match to this energy. This trine like to 'spread it's wings'. What house from does he come ?

  9. hi sha- my neptune is in 9th house, sagitarius

  10. Denotes an ability of allmost infectious philosophical approach to others, and in your public work. An ability to inspire with your knowledge. Tend to blend through ideals. Longing for ‘far’ and ‘distant’ that is somehow related to water. Ability to project oneself to those distances.

    Take into account that i havent seen the others aspects that Neptune forms, other planets in your 9th nd so on 😉

  11. I’m sorry @Ann, i dunno how, i’we read MC, not AC ! Blame on that i just woke up ! Sheesh . . 😛

    Indeed, an AC/Neptune trine states a strong theme on boundries energy loss. But this is not a condamn (as it would be with a conjunction), this is an ability.

    Neverless, whatever aspects the AC, aspects your most basic role in life. And to add a clue more, shows the ‘tools’ that you allways have at hand.

    A need to somehow validate this ability, or is likely to be going contrastep against the owner.

    There is a strong Pisces trait stated there, but in it’s most positive outcome, if you know how to manage it. You see, Pisces is a very slender sign. An AC/Neptune trine donetes this ability to go back and forth through the boudaries of ones and others. So, an ability to inquire.

    Neptune in 9 trine AC says that you’re immensely inspired by knowledge, and you like in return to spread this infectious inspiration of yours. A drive to put things at test and stamina to do it.

    a drive to

  12. ScorpMoon says:

    excellent article Beth! Very eye opening and helpful, especially the last paragraph,

    “In the tangle of human relationships, the challenge for the Neptunian marked soul is to learn where to put their considerable talents. Let the angels handle those folks whose views are too distorted to help themselves. That is their job. Your job is to use your caring and compassion to light a path to Love on this Earth plane. There, isn’t that a better use of your talents?”.

    To Ann: we all go through it, and you are taking great steps to learning your boundaries. I started doing that recently and let me tell you, some people will get uncomfortable with you taking a stand, but it’s for your own well being. Practice makes perfect 🙂

  13. hi sha- well, the second one sounds more like me. u said that trine brings a positive and harmonious energy to begin with, as what astrology books says so as well. what i am concern about is the fact that it sometimes becomes a burden to the point that i suffer because of being so “kind” and compassionate. people around me knows that i have that power to inspire and to command people through the power of emotions. i only am beginning to use this. i find writing and art as a good medium to do so. and ur right, if i do not do this, it’ll backfire to me. it happened before and i do not want to experienced it again. seems to me, i got no choice.

    anyway thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    @scorpio moon- it is good to know that at least i am not alone. thanks.

  14. No, you’re not alone, be sure on one that 😉

    Co-dependency is a set that need at least two parts to manifest, and none of us is that powerless as it often appears to be . . thats the point of Beth’s marvelous advice “let there angles handle it” . . . .

    Neptune is not only a generational one but a colective one too. When we speak about ideals we also speak about profound urges of soul that we feel the need to manifested, and to do that we need to work within a larger frame, first, our society, Jupiter,second, Saturn it’s structure and Uranus the interactions. Only then you’ll be able to use this planet energy corectly.

    In most general terms, when a trine appears, the emphasis goes on dynamic and the energy in question flow in a the most easy way, Neptune involved, the ability to shift the ‘agregate state’ of things whatever it interacts with. In compare, if you got a square there, the more challenging one, you would be compelled to manifest this energy in a stable, materialized way, no mather to wich degree would you be on therms with it, it pretty much forces itself uppon ones life. With a trine you can be pretty much in control, but control is not the point here – excange, interaction and mutual (fusion) are.

  15. So I have a composite chart with this guy– Sun/Neptune/Mars conjunction in exact degree.

    If what they say about the Sun representing the Man in the composite holds true, then is sexual/physical co-dependency part of this picture?

    Or is this simply a relationship with a lot of energy/ego invested in Neptunian delusion and fantasy?

    At any rate we have great sex, very dreamy and ethereal.

  16. When you’re tracking a specific energy that works through an individual within the composite method, you do that by loking at a Davison xomposite chart.

    The standard composite method shows the quality of energy that are aroused by your interaction. Co-dependency through Sun/Mars/Neptune aspect, in its ‘negative’ and trying way would show through a square, but here you have some kind of asset. It can be overbearing though, and the inpact it have on your fused Sun consciousnes is huge.

    Mars is not just sex, it is phisical ineraction with the world at large, and you two are there indeed, most strongly marked by Neptunic influences, but by itself i cant say if it’s inhibiting or not. You have to ratify the whole chart to see do that have the ability to play out constructively or othervise.

    In the composite method i strongly advise to look at the nodes and they aspects, first.

  17. Thanks Sha!

    And I just did the “progressed composite” and OMG it is a perfect Grand Cross (mutable) in the exact degree.

    The planets involved in this are Moon/Chiron square Venus square Pluto square Mars.

    It’s a big red X and square configuration like X marks the spot.

    Now if the woman is represented by the Moon in the composite (or progressed composite), then I am in for a big whammy-O in this relationship, you think?

    I feel it already. Damn.

  18. btw the North Node is unaspected.

    I guess this relationship lacks a sense of direction (which it does) and may never go anywhere (which it won’t)

    Nonetheless, it is remarkable to feel so strongly about someone who isn’t even my type, far from it. The first time I saw him, I thought, gimmeabreak. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Like what the hell is wrong with me already?

    Just goes to show, careful whom you date, you have no control over who you fall in love with. Astrology has a force of its own, and you can’t beat the energies at work here. Best avoid them ahead of time, if you can.

  19. I somewhat doubt that nodes arent aspect, but whatahell. By itself any living thing, and there i count relationships (that’s the bottom of the composite btw) has it’s path. You dont have to marry any guy you encounter lol, but you can learn something from them.

    In astrology you have to look at the whole picture first and then you fill the details. May be the nodes aspect the angles, but allso you have to look what house they fall in, the sign and so on. Whatever house you share in the composite is highlighted by your togetherness and has no meaning whatsoever apart. This is basicly an energetic chart.

  20. @ sha- you said in astrology we have to look at the whole picture first then fill the details. i’ve been studying astrology for almost 5 years now, i know a little terms or two. what i experience is i cannot look at the bigger picture unless i got an idea of the details first. how can i get the interpretation of the whole picture? with the cardinal t-square in the sky i am pretty much on the edge right now because i have mercury and sun in cancer. pluto, saturn and mars in libra. then i am an aries rising. just imagine what life i am having right now. and with all this neptunian influence with me, everything is in chaos and messy.

  21. Yeah, mabe i was to elusive, but you have to know that ting or two first to be able to ‘make it square’.

    In terms of reliance, knowing how to read the charts is, well, allmost preciselly as knowing how to read the watch, and relying uppon that enables you to calibrate yourself emotionaly. Astrology is not there to doom you with sentences, but rather, to give an soulfull advice, or at least, that is what i personaly belive.

    Basicly we here deal with cycles, you must be able to understand how the whole ‘circle’ work to be able to understand the ‘detalils’, i hope you get what i mean.

    Cheer yourself up, it’s all part of our evolution, there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ in astrology or elsewhere, only in our ‘heads’ 😉 Ok ?

  22. @ sha- =) thanks i appreciate that thought. its a soulful one. there is no such thing as bad astrology or in life. its only in our head. true enough.

  23. I strongly belive in astrology as a sience (not only, but there it goes), not a coincidence that my natal Neptune is in Capricorn lol 😛 But, we enthusiastics today have a pretty hard time coming on clear therms with it, somwhere is deliberate missinformation, otherewhere the knowledge is lost. It’s advicable to allways think twice when dealing with prepacked interpretations, i personally finded myself missleaded several times at my begginings, and it cost me nervs and time.

    Think is a wise advice here to all capital astrologers, to refrain oneself from destructive sentences, if oneself cannot find the strength or ability to offer constructive approach, you cant count the victims of collateral dammage.

    My intention was not, for whatever reason, to blame the ‘head’, rater to stress the fact how much is important this frame of mind within we deal with all those informations.

    Finally, we rely uppon them to define our “to be or not to be” and that’s a big hot potato, if not the biggest one.


  24. @ann times like these I’m grateful I’m so uncardinal!

  25. @ jeff- you bet.

  26. This is what i needed, i have been looking for information on Neptune already, and found some valuable information, because i need help/guidance on this.

    Can you explain the term: “in energetic connection (aspect)”, is that any aspect (trine, sextile, conjunct, opposition, square, and also semi-sq, sesquidr, quintile?)

    I have quite a lot to handle with Neptune.

    Neptune – Opposition – Sun, Moon (conj orb1 in Gemini), Mercury, Mars (conj orb4 in Cancer), and Ceres
    – Trine – Ascendant, Venus
    – Semi-square – Jupiter
    – Sesquadrate – NorthNode
    – Bi-quintile – MC
    Picses 7th house, 8th house.

    Since transiting Pluto is conjunct my Neptune (and then also in aspect to the planets/points mentioned above) it is keeping me busy lately! pfff

    So this is the advice:
    If the other person fails to follow through on their promises to you within a reasonable time frame and regularly makes excuses for themselves, then they are using you for their own comfort.

    I’d love to get more insights. Where is the full manual? 😉

    It took me, say, 4 year to accept that you cannot keep filling the wholes. It is hard to let go, because you see what it needs (a relationship) and if you stop giving it, you know it will fall apart.
    My longest experience without having to “step in” with romantic relationships now only 3 weeks.
    Somehow every time it feels i am beating/flogging a dead horse. Like I have to keep it going, on my own.
    It made me wonder how other people handle this. They don’t get committed in the first place? or let go more easily.

    Sometimes it really feels like i need a manual, because my natural response doesn’t “work”.

    btw, my parents also have Neptunium influences, as do my 3 sisters.
    I am now “involved” with a guy with his Pisces NN and Ceres in my 7th, his Venus trine my Neptune, his Neptune opposite my Venus. But now it is probably my Saturn square his Mars slowing things down.

    Actualizing my boundaries with friends is getting easier, but in romance I still have some troubles (too idealistic??)

  27. Neptune opp Sun and Moon would be the most potent of all those combinations. The Mars connection is important too because that provides the energy needed to set boundaries.

  28. Wow girl . . . . wich sign/house does your Sun and NN fall in ?

  29. @ Sha
    Gemini Sun and Moon in 10th
    Cancer Mars (and merc) in 11th
    Taurus NN in 9th

    I’d love to hear what you can tell me about this, both of you actually

    @ Jeff
    “The Mars connection is important too because that provides the energy needed to set boundaries.”
    I don’t fully understand what how the mars-neptune opposition works for me. Read several websites

    Capricorn Neptune is retrograde in 4th house.

    (pluto, uranus, neptune, saturn, jupiter all retrograde)

  30. What a nice chat you have there ! 😀 You seem compeled to aquire more depth at the soul level through expiriencing fusion within relationships. Your’re prominently a ‘high and dry’ Geminy with a strongly emphasized inheriteted Neptunic involvment. I have to go now, tomorow i’ll give you a try 😉

  31. @ Sha
    “seem compelled to acquire more depth at the soul level through experiencing fusion within relationships”
    I dunno, maybe :S ? 🙂

    But something creates a distance (whether this is bigger than i want it to be or an actual distance) (you see i somehow lost all my reference points), and it is difficult to fully experience “being together” (venus opp pluto?, but that is a different part of this story i guess)

    What is a ‘high and dry’ Gemini?

    see you tomorrow

  32. @ jeff- so mars affects the neptunian energy? i have mars in libra; square sun; trine moon; trine venus; square MC and opposite ASC. does this mean that somehow the negative aspects and squares help in protecting me?

    @ sha- i am just wondering… i have a grand trine in air signs: venus in gemini/ saturn in libra/ moon in aquarius. does it affect my neptune trine ASC?

  33. What about the Quincunx (inconjunct) and Sesquadrate for Neptune – Sun, or Neptune Moon? (Venus/Mars)

    Are those aspects influential?

    And Sextiles, Semisquares, Quintile?

    Because when i look at my friends and acquaintances and family a lot of them have aspects to neptune.
    So what aspects can i look at/have significance.

    What would be the most important/most difficult aspects?

    Aspects to any planet already afflicted?

    A lot of friends have neptune trine moon, or conjunct……

    And I read about codependency on several websites. Some of the “symptoms” sound familiar.
    Not every website describes codependency in the same way. (most extreme, more about living with addicts) (medium) (sounds like the neptuian description) (everyone has parts of it)

    ” leave one bad relationship and jump into another bad relationship. They wonder if they will ever find true love. And if they do find true love, they will leave that and find a loveless relationship because deep inside (often beneath consciousness) they feel unworthy of love.”

    Who are the persons then “neptiuan codependent people” have bad relationships with? also “neptiuan codependent people”? or Plutoian power obsessed people?

  34. @redballoon most of those are minor aspects. I would look at conjunction, square and opposition. Any Neptune-Moon connection will definitely correlate with difficulty setting emotional boundaries.

  35. 3rd house- Neptune
    conjunct Mars and NN
    Opposed Moon

    Pisces descendent
    Jupiter in Pisces (exhaltation) in the 6th house

    ….I seem to definately give my life for the man i’m with and expect him to do the same. and feel that our mystical union and subsequent children will be a service of love for the world! Me and my mate will mutually worship eachother and be eachother’s gurus and devout subjects!!! I Love Art, i’m a Dancer, Jeweler, Healing Arts and he as well , Astrologer, Martial Arts, Culinary Arts, Sailor! BTW his Mars and my Mars are Conjunct!!!! Intense…Intense….Intense… He has a Pisces Midheaven

  36. Oh and BTW..
    We are both being a little more self assretive in our 4th year we really honor and respect eachother as individuals and what that means to our union. So turns out saving ourselves and modeling self care cares for the other!!!

    My new belief ” What’s Good For Me Is Good For The Planet”

    I came up with that and it really heals the co- dependent inclination…

    Thank You So Much For this Article

  37. Hi!

    I had to come back here to talk, about high sensitivity.
    does any one know ths? HSP.

    You can start here:

    > much empathy because of ability to pick up subtle subtle signs.
    Some perceptual tests are done as well, showing different brain activity then usual.
    so measurable is proven, but might be also about pick up energy.
    (they should do a test with a n aura camera, 😉

    on forums/fora you see many people talking about the same problems mentioned here.

    Wanting to believe a sales men, while you ‘read’ he is not sincere., f.i.

    Try the check list on the website!
    Please, and let me know what you think.

  38. That’s cool I have Neptune trine ask but my neptunes in the 5th

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