are you co-dependent

How can you tell if you are codependent? There are so many different definitions out there. The fact is that codependence is difficult to condense into a definition. Here is a couple that stands out:

Someone who cannot function from his or her innate self, and instead, organizes thinking and behavior around a substance, process or other people.

Underdeveloped self-esteem combined with an inappropriate caring for others, and an inappropriate reliance on another’s response, in a negatively reinforcing loop.

Codependents are caring people. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with nurturing; we are meant to be interdependent. Codependent people would benefit from self-examination and redirection to get them on a healthy path.

 

DENIAL

is an obstacle, because codependency is difficult to see for yourself.

 

AWARENESS

is a major first step! Awareness alone often alleviates many symptoms of codependency.

 

It is important to note that most people exhibit codependent behaviors in certain situations and a snapshot of most anyone might be might be seen below.

 

REALIZE THAT CODEPENDENCY CAN TAKE MANY FORMS

Let’s see, there is passive-aggressive, controlling, doormat, people pleaser, bipolar, empath, manipulator, narcissist, stalker, obsessed, drama queen and the list goes on. Here are some symptoms of codependency: Codependents judge and second guess themselves all the time. They live with the anxiety that stems from underlying shame and low self-esteem. They judge what they should have said or done. Some judge themselves as much as they judge others.

 

EXAMINE YOUR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Codependency is a learned behavior, most often passed down through families; as a result, it is a coping mechanism. You did not do anything wrong – but as an adult, it is an inadequate and ultimately unsuccessful way to deal with relationships.

● You probably feel responsible for making another person or people happy, feel guilty not

helping them, and find it difficult or impossible to say no, but are unaware of your own

motivating thoughts and feelings.

 

● You may be unaware of your codependency, although you probably constantly get clues,

which your ego demands that you misinterpret, and which just make you try harder.

 

EXAMINE YOUR OTHER RELATIONSHIPS

Your social life is probably unsatisfying to you; you are too busy with everyone else’s “problems”, work or another addiction, or maybe isolating.

● All you may think about is other people; what they should be doing, what is best for them, etc.,

and if asked, you probably say this is what gives your life meaning.

● Contemplate whether you are quite driven, an overachiever. You may have an opinion about

everything; you may be labeled a “type A” personality, tending toward perfectionism.

● Consider whether you may be uncomfortable being alone, even for an hour. It is natural to

want human company, but an occasional evening alone is also normal for most people.

● Check your major options for a “frame of mind” which might be a fairly rapid-cycling between

miserable and downright giddy. Contentment is probably a foreign state of mind for you.

At parties, or other social settings, are you quite often an “odd man out”, avoid socializing by

helping the host, or are uncomfortably trying to control/help everyone have fun in your way – do

you give up, withdraw from uncomfortable persons – or duck out to escape the loud music,

noise and confusion – which could be normal, but then, why did you come? Alternately, you

could be an “attention hound”, constantly on display for attention, and right in the middle of the

crowd.

 

CONSIDER WHETHER YOU ARE COMPULSIVELY SEEKING ACCEPTANCE

Do you hide your truth to avoid disapproval? Do you find yourself often explaining your issues to someone, or providing a running commentary when it is unnecessary (to one who is mostly not listening, as it is irrelevant to them)? If no one else is present in the same room, you may be explaining anyway to yourself. Even your manipulative actions, often done in the open, are seeking acclaim or affirmation, expecting “they should agree; it is the best thing for them”.

● Anyone unfortunate enough to have pegged you as a “sympathetic ear”, probably a stranger,

is going to get more than they bargained for in your empathic behavior, as in “Let me help

(control) you”.

 

RECOGNIZE THAT AGGRESSIVE CODEPENDENTS CAN BE DOORMATS

In attempting to show respect you may feel a need to be submissive. In reality, we are all equal, even your boss is your equal. There is no reason to find yourself receding or feeling subjugated.

● Consider whether you are often accused of being wishy-washy or double-minded as you agree

with what you disagree with. You can be a chameleon. You may have trouble holding on to

your ideas or opinions when others disagree. You may not know what you think or feel.

 

NOTICE IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR THE OTHER PERSON TO LISTEN

You are not seeking or allowing real discussion. You make pronouncements and issuing statements. While someone else is talking, you are generally just waiting, probably broadcasting impatience so they will stop and you can make your next announcement.

 

SEE IF YOU ARE RELYING ON OTHERS FOR YOUR HAPPINESS

Now, you cannot really call this happiness if it hinges on someone else’s approval.

● See yourself almost demanding “let me help you”: You may easily be taken in, have little

discernment (naive). You may have no problem being used. You may have friends that you

consider “projects”.

● A codependents “projects”, having no choice in the matter of agreement, will become

codependent.

 

RECOGNIZE THAT YOU ARE A GOODHEARTED PERSON

People are or become co-dependent because they care; which has to be better than not caring; recognize that there is a better way to care.

● You want what is best; but therefore, everyone else should want what you want, in your

opinion – and any other opinions may be, at best, secondary to yours. Other people need room

to express themselves too.

● You are a perfectionist with yourself and others. It may be difficult (if not impossible) to do

anything for you; you mean this to be constructive, but it is not. Perfection does not exist.

● You may not accept compliments or favors well. Rejecting gifts, only to exclaim later that

you could have used that.

● Saying “I’m sorry” may rarely be heard from you, except when it obviously necessary, and then

it can come out more like, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Situations in which the most passing

“sorry” would suffice may make you uncomfortable, but some codependents say “I’m sorry” all

the time just to keep the peace because they hate conflict.

● You have trouble asking for help, and try to be self-sufficient. It may be helpful or instructive for

you to practice asking a friend for help, in any little way; just “hey, I could use some help.”

 

REALIZE THAT NOW IS ALL YOU WILL EVER HAVE

You may live for the future, or think about the past, constantly. Observe how often you may think that life, for you, will be better “when…” or “If only…”, but you may have difficulty actually carrying out a constructive plan for the future. The concepts, “Be here now” or “Live in the moment” may be pretty much a foreign concept to you.

 

AM I CO-DEPENDENT?

Check these ways to identify codependency.

Walk on eggshells. Living defensively.

● Feel afraid to confront others. Avoid conflict.

● Make poor or wrong decisions consistently regarding others.

● Tell little white lies to avoid anger/conflict.

● Feel angry with yourself for not standing up for yourself.

● Blame yourself for dissatisfactions.

● Overprotect unwanted behaviors (hide).

● Get hurt emotionally by others behavior consistently.

● Feel used, but consider that you must make that sacrifice.

● Are unable to say “no”. Cannot stop helping others.

 

OBSERVE THESE BEHAVIORS OF CODEPENDENCY

● Tend to over-emote at people without realizing it, invading a boundary, and setting up a

negative feedback loop; you over-emote, they mentally back away, you misinterpret as

inadequate and “try harder”, than back to over-emoting, etc.

● Find it difficult to set boundaries for the other persons’ behavior.

● Feel responsible for the lack of success or ambition of others.

● Find it difficult or impossible to end an obviously dysfunctional relationship.

● Feel as if you need to do more, be more and generally feel dissatisfied with your inability to

change or control the other persons’ happiness.

● Give too much information.

● Cause others to “walk on eggshells” around you.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: These signs/behaviors are not mutually exclusive. As said in the

beginning we all have the tendency to be codependent. The real

question is…is your codependency running your life? Find out

more. Sign up for your FREE session now.

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