Codependency is a term we hear often when it comes to relationships and not just relationships in regards to addiction. There a multiple self-help books on the market and articles on the internet dealing with this very topic. But before we get into it in detail, let’s think generally, what is codependency?
Codependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that typically develops for people who are in one-sided relationships. Codependency can be emotionally damaging to both of the parties involved. Codependency is found in a lot of relationships where one person in the relationship is an addict or in recovery and is using codependency as a way to cope.
Codependency can be found in a variety of different relationships: partner to partner, spouse to spouse, and children to parents. There is always a giver and a taker.
But how do you know exactly what codependency is and if it is happening to you? Can you be codependent without even being in a relationship? Well, there are a few warning signs. Now, just because you may feel like you or someone you may know, has these warning signs, don’t worry just yet. Any mental health issues should always be addressed and diagnosed with a clinical psychologist.
Here are 9 examples of codependency:
You have low self-esteem: Codependent people have very low self-worth and tend to think very little of themselves. They tend to cling to people whom they think they can help or fix, and/or do and say all the right things for them.
You fixate on mistakes: Because codependent people tend to have low self-esteem, they always focus on what they do wrong. They eagle-eye focus on their mistakes and not they doing right.
You have depression, anxiety and get stressed easily: Codependent People tend to suffer from depression and anxiety because they don’t think they are good enough and because they tend to overthink most, if not all, situations. This can also cause a lot of stress on the individual to be perfect.
You’re not very expressive about your emotions: Codependent people tend to believe that their thoughts and feelings don’t matter and that other people don’t want to hear them.
You feel like you always need to be liked and that you always need to be in a relationship: Sadly, most codependent people don’t like themselves very much and so they seek this approval from others. Some feel like they need to go above and beyond to try and impress people. Codependent people feel like they need to be at their best all the time to be or feel loved. They feel like they always have to be in a relationship.
You don’t like saying "no" or setting boundaries: Because codependent people have an instinctual need to be liked and/or loved, they tend to have a hard time letting people down or saying no. They have trouble setting boundaries which in turn cause issues in their relationships.
You always put others before yourself: Codependent people feel the need to always put others first. They put other's likes and their needs before what is good for themselves, even if it hurts them.
You have intimacy issues but also fear of abandonment: With codependency, you are afraid to let people in, but at the same time you are afraid of them leaving you. You try and do everything to suit the other person so the intimacy isn’t scary, but also so they don’t leave you.
You are very loyal: Codependent people can stay in harmful situations for far too long because they feel loyal to that person and that situation, even when it isn’t right for either of them.
Codependency is not a clinical diagnosis, but it can overlap with other personality disorders. It is important to speak further with a clinical psychologist. There are many ways to stop the unhealthy codependency tendencies. Be sure to discuss your issues in detail with a therapist.