The Codependent Partner: An analysis of the Mulder/Krycek Relationship

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Title: The Codependent Partner: An analysis of the Mulder/Krycek Relationship
Creator: MJ/MJR91
Date(s): June 23, 1998
Medium: online
Fandom: slash, X-Files
External Links: archived copy at X-Files University; WebCite
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The Codependent Partner: An analysis of the Mulder/Krycek Relationship was written in 1998 by MJ/MJR91 as part of "X-Files University, School of Slashology/Gay Studies, College of Interdisciplinary Studies" where fans wrote articles and essays devoted to examining the fandom surrounding the TV show X-Files.

It is a companion piece to He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss): Exploring the Abusive M/K Relationship and Darkness and Light: The Psychoanalytic Dynamic of M/K Slash Fiction.


Codependence, which is classified in addictions literature, is characterized as encompassing a collection of low self - esteem behaviors, denial patterns, compliance actions, and control patterns. (Melody Beattie, Codependent No More.) These include alteration or minimization of personal feelings in order to please others, self-perceptions of worthlessness, over-criticism of personal behavior with over-acceptance of others' actions, valuing others' opinions over one's own, compromising of personal values or integrity to please others, remaining in a harmful or abusive situation for far too long, use of sex to gain acceptance from others, attempting to "fix" other people, and having a lack of personal boundaries. (Katie C. and Deb M., Stepping Stones to Recovery From Codependency.) Codependency was first diagnosed among spouses and families of alcoholics, but has also been found among children of other types of dysfunctional families (Beattie). I posit that in all of this, we have a specific portrait of Alex Krycek.

Krycek's family background is not altogether clear, but his family, whether expatriate or not, is Russian ("Tunguska", "Terma"). Alcoholism is traditionally high in Russian families; one of Gorbachev's first reforms in the "new" Russia of the late 1980's was a crackdown on the overwhelming Russian alcohol problem. (Information taken from coverage by ABC News.) Alcohol problems within the family are associated with domestic abuse and child abuse as well as with other manifestations of dysfunction. (Al-Anon World Service Committee, Al-Anon Family Groups.) A large number of slash authors have detected and written into their work presumptions of abuse from Krycek's childhood (see works by torch, et al; "Ghosts" is highly suggestive of this, though other stories are more forthright on the matter - see MKRA generally). Given the amount of abuse he is willing to suffer in his adult relationships (see my B.A. essay, "He Hit Me [and it felt like a kiss]" for documentation), it seems very likely that an alcohol-related series of family dysfunction issues is at the center of his adult relationship problems. More information about Krycek's background would be helpful in allowing us to gauge the degree of dysfunction which was actually present.

I will not offer canonical defense in this article for the presumption that Alex Krycek and Fox Mulder are not only (former) professional partners but are also sexually/romantically intimate partners. My two prior degree essays [written for X-Files University] cover many of the readily apparent arguments on point, both directly and indirectly. Further, the "slash" content of the X-Files canon has increased steadily over five seasons, from "Sleepless" to "Folie a Deux" (the most recently broadcast episode at the time of writing, and containing clearcut traces of Mulder/Skinner slash). It becomes increasingly likely that a slash subtext is considered by Chris Carter to have at least as much canonical validity as 'shipper subtext - and unlike the Mulder/Scully scenario, Carter has not publicly refuted a Mulder/Krycek relationship to date. Further, actor Nicholas Lea has made several statements at 1998 X-Files eXpos suggesting that there is more to the Mulder/Krycek relationship than meets the camera (as reported on xslash), and David Duchovny's appearance - not to mention Lea's surprise appearance - on the May 9, 1998 "Saturday Night Live" on NBC was not calculated to rebut any speculation on the subject. (If anything, the 5/9/98 "SNL" suggests that Duchovny is enjoying the subject thoroughly, unlike actors on other series who often take actions designed to throw cold water on slash fans who watch their shows. Mr. Duchovny must be complimented on his exceptional sense of humor - or, since we're discussing Nick Lea, his good taste.) With this degree of support, the Mulder/Krycek relationship currently may be permitted to be taken for granted rather than re-proven. Therefore, the question of Krycek's codependency in his relationship with Mulder is a point requiring serious examination as a canonical inquiry about why Krycek allows his abuse to continue.