How to know if you re codependent: 10 Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health
10 Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health
Taking care of your emotional health is as important as taking care of your physical body. If your emotional health is out of balance, you may experience high blood pressure, ulcers, chest pain, or a host of other physical symptoms.
When you feel good about yourself, it’s much easier to cope with life’s little ups and downs as well as bigger events, such as divorce or a death, says Jeff Gardere, PhD, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City.
Here are 10 ways you can practice better stress management and boost your self-esteem. These strategies will help you stay resilient through everyday stresses and when larger personal issues arise.
1. Grow Your Circle of Friends to Expand Your Support System
“It’s very important that you have a support group of friends and family,” Dr. Gardere says. “You need people whom you can talk to about your problems — people who will listen to you when you need to get things off your chest — so that you know you’re not alone in whatever it is.”
2. Learn More to Lessen the Fear of the Unknown
“Knowledge is power,” Gardere says. If you have a problem, learn whatever you can about the issue or the health condition you’re facing. The more you know, the less you will fear what might happen, Gardere says.
3. Get Moving to Improve Mood and Lessen Anxiety
Any form of exercise that you enjoy will do. “Regular exercise works as a good partner for people who are on medication,” Gardere says. Exercise also works well for people who have mild or moderate depression and don’t need to be on medication. Think of it as a great tool for stress management.
4. Have Sex to Build Confidence and Self-Worth
Intimacy within a committed relationship has all sorts of emotional benefits — it can help make you feel good about yourself and boost self-esteem. “Figure out a schedule that works for you and your trusted partner — that could be once a week or three times a week or twice a month,” Gardere says.
5. Develop a Passion by Investing Time in a New Hobby
Everyone should have at least one hobby, Gardere says, whether it’s taking care of plants, collecting antiques, or listening to music. You should do something that brings you some real joy — a passion that’s all yours and that no one can take from you. Having a hobby and taking pride in it is a great way to boost self-esteem.
6. Eat and Drink Healthfully and in Moderation
Alcohol can be a good stress reducer, but you must indulge in extreme moderation, Gardere says. The same advice applies to indulging in food. You can eat what you want and enjoy it as long as you eat smaller portions and get regular exercise, he says. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your physical and your emotional health.
7. Meditate or Practice Yoga to Relieve Stress
These types of activities are effective for stress management. Meditation is a focused form of guided thought. Yoga and tai chi, while movement-oriented, are also proven stress busters.
Other stress-reducing techniques include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. If you’re unsure of how to get started, take a class and learn how to practice on your own for 30 minutes, three times a week.
8. Manage Your Time by Setting Weekly Goals
If you make a schedule and set goals for yourself for the week, “you’ll be more on top of your days, and when you’re more on top of your days, you’re more on top of your life,” Gardere says. As you cross off the tasks on your to-do list, you will feel a sense of accomplishment which will help reduce stress, he adds.
9. Get Enough Sleep to Maintain Energy and Increase Productivity
“People who get a good night’s sleep wake up with more energy and tend to be more productive,” Gardere says. If you are overly tired, every task and responsibility can seem exaggerated, and even small problems will feel like big ones.
10. Learn to Say No and Refrain From Overextending Yourself
If you try to do more than you can handle, you will only end up frustrated and stressed out. If someone asks you to do something you absolutely can’t do, say no. At the very least, ask for help. And if you can’t do it, explain why kindly but firmly.
Nurturing your mind is as important as nurturing your body, and it will make you better able to handle whatever life throws at you. However, if your emotional problems are serious and you can’t seem to shake them yourself, or if you’re having issues with anxiety or depression, it’s very important that you see a mental health professional and get help, Gardere says.
How to Know if You’re in a Codependent Relationship
Many people are confused by the word “codependency.” When they hear it, they think it simply means that a person is “clingy” or needy. But in fact, codependency is considered a specific and harmful mental and behavioral trait, one that frequently has a generational pattern within families. It is also referred to as “relationship addiction.”
Changing the dynamics of a codependent relationship can be extremely challenging. But with the right resources and support system, it is possible for partners to change their behavior and transform the relationship into one that is healthier and respects and honors both partners’ needs.
The first step to making any sort of change, however, is recognizing the problem.
What is codependence?
Codependency is a psychological phenomenon first recognized by studying family members of people who were alcoholics. In essence, a codependent relationship is a bidirectional cycle of dysfunctional need: One partner (the codependent person) has an unhealthy need to be needed, and the other (the enabler) exploits this need by excessively relying on their partner.
Not to be confused with healthy interdependency (in which two partners mutually bond with and rely on each other in a safe and appropriate way), codependent relationships feature an unhealthy and imbalanced dynamic. Specifically, the codependent person’s self-worth and self-esteem are explicitly based on the degree to which they are needed by their partner. Meanwhile, their partner enables the codependent person’s behavior by getting great satisfaction out of having their needs constantly fulfilled and met.
Intimate partners are not the only ones who can be in a codependent relationship. This common and dysfunctional relationship can also occur between parents and children, other family members, or even friends and roommates.
People learn codependent behaviors by modeling other family members or loved ones who demonstrate it in their own relationships. This fact alone—that codependency is a learned behavior—may be one of the most promising things to know about it. Because it means that with the right help and enough discipline, codependency can be unlearned, too.
Five warning signs of a codependent relationship:
Could you be in a codependent relationship with your partner or someone else in your life? If you or the other person exhibit one or more of the following behaviors or beliefs, it may be possible:
- A codependent person has little or no interests outside of their relationship; they lack or neglect any personal interests or values. They derive their pleasure and main identity out of their role in the codependent relationship. Thinking about or expressing their own desires and needs often leads to strong feelings of guilt. They may repress or have difficulty understanding their feelings at all.
- A codependent person often remains in a relationship even if their partner does hurtful things, or exhibits psychological or physical abuse.
- A codependent person makes drastic sacrifices to please their partner, often at the expense of their own time, energy, and well-being. They often ignore their own values and conscience in order to meet their partner’s needs. The partner, meanwhile, enables this behavior by accepting it or even demanding it.
- A codependent person is extremely preoccupied with and worried about making their partner feel happy. They may constantly “walk on eggshells” to avoid triggering their partner’s bad mood or feel extreme anxiety about their relationship and how to maintain it.
- In many cases, one or both partners in a codependent relationship are currently dealing with or have a history of addiction, abuse, mental illness, or family trauma. Codependency is a learned adaptation to compensate for, deny, mitigate, and/or cope with these stressful life events.
What Are The Signs & How To Overcome It
Codependency refers to a psychological construct involving an unhealthy relationship that people might share with those closest to them.
It was originally thought to involve families of substance abuse but has since grown to include other types of dysfunctional relationships.
Read on to learn about what codependency is and how it can affect people, how to recognize signs of codependency, and resources for learning more about and overcoming codependency.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients build healthy, life-enriching relationships.
What Is a Codependent Personality Disorder?
Originally, “the term ‘codependent’ described persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person” (Lampis et al., 2017).
Modern understandings of codependency now refer to “a specific relationship addiction characterized by preoccupation and extreme dependence—emotional, social and sometimes physical—on another person.”
The concept of codependency does still apply to families with substance abuse issues but is used also to refer to other situations too. The main consequence of codependency is that “[c]odependents, busy taking care of others, forget to take care of themselves, resulting in a disturbance of identity development” (Knudson & Terrell, 2012).
Cermak (1986) argued that codependency should be defined in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), borrowing diagnostic criteria from alcohol dependence, dependent personality disorder (DPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), histrionic personality disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This argument was unsuccessful and the DSM-III-R (the next revision) did not include codependency as a personality disorder. The DSM-5, the newest edition of the manual, still only refers to DPD, not codependency.
Codependency does not only overlap with DPD but also with BPD, which is one reason some research has dismissed the idea of codependency making up its own personality disorder. One study found, though, that while codependent people do share some overlap with DPD and BPD symptoms, there are also people who exhibit codependency without exhibiting symptoms of DPD and BPD (Knapek et al., 2017).
Codependency can be distinguished from DPD because codependent people are dependent on a specific person(s), while people with DPD are dependent on others in general. Codependency can be distinguished from BPD; while BPD includes instability in interpersonal relationships, it does not involve dependence on other people.
To sum up, codependency is a psychological concept that refers to people who feel extreme amounts of dependence on certain loved ones in their lives, and who feel responsible for the feelings and actions of those loved ones. Codependency is not recognized as a distinct personality disorder by any version of the DSM, including the DSM-5, the most recent version.
That said, research shows that while codependency does overlap with other personality disorders, it does appear to constitute a distinct psychological construct. The best way to learn about codependency is to review some of the signs of codependency.
20 Signs Of Codependency
What does codependency actually look like? Some of the things that have been found to correlate with codependency include (Marks et al., 2012):
- Low self-esteem;
- Low levels of narcissism;
- Familial dysfunction;
- Low emotional expressivity.
Other signs of codependency include (Lancer, 2016; Mental Health America, n.d.):
- Having a hard time saying no;
- Having poor boundaries;
- Showing emotional reactivity;
- Feeling compelled to take care of people;
- Having a need for control, especially over others;
- Having trouble communicating honestly;
- Fixating on mistakes;
- Feeling a need to be liked by everyone;
- Feeling a need to always be in a relationship;
- Denying one’s own needs, thoughts, and feelings;
- Having intimacy issues;
- Confusing love and pity;
- Displaying fear of abandonment.
Codependency Quiz & Tests
The simple presence of the above signs does not mean someone is codependent, but a high number of these signs may indicate codependent tendencies.
One way to do this is with codependency tests, like these:
Friel Co-Dependency Assessment Inventory from Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio (1985)
This test consists of 60 true-or-false questions. A score below 20 is little need for concern, a score between 21-30 should be a moderate need for concern, a score between 31-45 is moderate towards a severe need for concern, and a score over 46 indicating a severe need for concern.
Codependency Test from Hamrah
This test consists of 26 simple yes-or-no questions that can get one to start thinking about codependency in their own relationships. Answering yes to five or more questions indicates that the test-taker may be codependent.
This is not a professional diagnosis, but it is a good way to start evaluating codependent behaviors in one’s own life.
Are You in a Codependent Relationship?
This article from WebMD serves as a sort of open-ended quiz about whether or not one is in a codependent relationship and suggestions for what to do next. With input from psychologists, it offers up a few signs of codependent relationships to get the reader thinking about whether or not their relationship is codependent.
Characteristics of Codependent People
A checklist by Melody Beattie consisting of over 200 items has been adapted into a shorter version, called the Beattie Codependency Checklist, which has been used in peer-reviewed research on codependency (Wells et al., 1999).
There is no scale at the end which determines the taker’s level of codependency, as it is rather meant to contextualize a vast set of behaviors and thoughts into a codependency framework.
5 Books About Codependency
For people who want to learn more about codependency, here are some great books about codependency. These books are particularly helpful for people who fear they are codependent and want to overcome their codependency.
Codependency For Dummies – Darlene Lancer (2015). 2nd Edition.
This book, from a licensed marriage and family therapist, can be an excellent introduction to codependency for people who do not know a single thing about codependency.
The book is aimed at people who think they might be codependent and includes a number of actionable tips one can take to break their codependence.
Available on Amazon.
The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents – Melody Beattie
This book, by codependency expert Melody Beattie, is a handbook for people who are codependent.
This book is full of daily meditations and focuses on self-esteem, acceptance, health, and recovery. This is a good option for anyone who knows they are codependent and wants to do something about it.
Available on Amazon.
Breaking Free of the Co-Dependency Trap – Janae B. Weinhold Ph.D., Barry K. Weinhold, & John Bradshaw (2008)
This book by a married psychologist couple is all about codependency and how to break out of it.
The authors first discuss how codependency develops in people, and how one’s childhood can ultimately lead to codependency. The authors then focus on helping the reader out of codependency.
This is a good option for anyone who wants to understand their codependency, not just how to fix it.
Available on Amazon.
The Everything Guide to Codependency: Learn to recognize and change codependent behavior – Jeniffer Sowle (2014)
This book from a clinical psychologist aims to help people who think they are codependent.
In it, the author helps the reader recognize signs of codependency in their own behavior (and the behavior of the people around them), then helps the reader work through their own codependent or enabling behaviors, as well as the codependent or enabling behaviors of their partner.
This is a good option for learning how to recognize codependency in oneself, as well as learning how to identify and avoid codependent behaviors in the future.
Available on Amazon.
You’re Not Crazy – You’re Codependent: – Jeanette Elisabeth Menter (2012)
Finally, this book is written by someone who has struggled with codependency in their own life.
It aims to help people who have had traumatic experiences in their past figure out if some of their problems stem from codependency.
Then, for people who are struggling with codependency, the book offers a variety of ways to overcome it.
Available on Amazon.
Codependency Treatment: 3 Codependency Worksheets
Books can be invaluable resources, but it can take some time to get through them.
For people who want to start right away, here are some useful worksheets for learning about codependency, as well as treating and overcoming it.
1. Codependency Questionnaire
This Codependency Questionnaire is a good option for a short overview of common behaviors and feelings linked to codependency. It contains 20 items designed to get people thinking about codependency in their own lives.
While not a substitute for clinical diagnosis, it can be a good starting point.
2. Shifting Codependency Patterns
This worksheet is a helpful way to identify some emotional and behavioral patterns and tendencies that are related to codependency. It contrasts unhealthy ways that people with codependency think about themselves with healthier ways that people think about themselves.
This worksheet is an actionable way to shift thought and action patterns to begin recovering from codependency.
3. Codependent Relationships: Beliefs, Attributes, and Outcomes
Finally, Codependent Relationships – Beliefs, Attributes, and Outcomes is a brief, informal checklist that is broken down into the beliefs, attributes, and outcomes of codependent behaviors in relationships. While not a formal test, it is a good way to evaluate codependent behaviors and thoughts in one’s interpersonal interactions, as well more generally in life.
This delves into healthy versus codependent thought patterns and behaviors.
Codependent Parents: Consequences for Children
Codependency was originally thought of as a disorder that affected the children and spouses of alcoholics and substance abusers.
Research has shown that codependency is not unique to the children (or spouses) of alcoholics, though, as many types of family difficulties can lead to codependency (Cullen & Carr, 1999).
In fact, having a codependent parent can lead a child to codependency as well.
This is due to the tendency that people who have been “parentified” as children are more likely to be codependent (Wells et al., 1999). The concept of parentification refers to “the reversal of the parent-child role,” or when a child is forced to serve in a parental or care-taking role towards their own parent.
This is usually due to the parent not having had their own developmental needs met while they were growing up.
Since these codependent children grow up not having their developmental needs met either, this can create a cycle of codependency passed down from generation to generation.
Being codependent can be particularly harmful for parents of addicted children (Clearview Treatment Programs, n.d.). Codependent parents of addicted children can enable their children’s addictions, even when they think they are helping.
This is one of the ways that codependency can be especially tricky – often people with these tendencies believe they are being helpful, or that their actions are necessary for the other person in the relationship.
The most effective treatment for codependency is therapy, whether group or individual, to understand the ways in which someone feels they must care-take for another’s emotional state.
This work can be hard to identify in ourselves, so having a supportive professional help us untangle these relationships can be crucial.
A Take-Home Message
For years, the concept of codependency has been criticized for being ill-defined, but over the last few decades, the construct of codependency has become more well-defined and well-researched, as it has been fitted with an empirical base.
Most importantly, codependency has been recognized as a relationship dynamic that affects people with all sorts of childhood trauma, not just the children or spouses of alcoholics or substance abusers.
For people who are codependent, there are plenty of ways to overcome codependency. Aside from seeking professional help, there are all sorts of worksheets and books (such as the ones highlighted above) by people who have overcome codependency. The most important thing to remember is that while everyone has loved ones and feels responsible for those loved ones, it can be unhealthy when one hinges their identity on someone else.
Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own actions and feelings.
What is your experience with codependency? Are there relationships in your life in which you or the other person tend to exhibit codependent tendencies? Are their relationships from cultural movies or TV shows that provide examples of these kinds of relationships?
We’d love to hear your input in the comments section below.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free.
If you want more, our Positive Psychology Toolkit© contains over 370 science-based positive psychology exercises, interventions, questionnaires, and assessments for practitioners to use in their therapy, coaching, or workplace.
- Cermak, T.L. (1986). Diagnostic criteria for codependency. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 18(1), 15-20.
- Clearview Treatment Programs. (n.d.). How being a codependent parent can hurt your addicted child. Retrieved from https://www.clearviewtreatment.com/drug-alcohol-addiction-codependent-parent.html
- Cullen, J., & Carr, A. (1999). Codependency: An empirical study from a systemic perspective. Contemporary Family Therapy, 21(4), 505-526.
- Friel, J.C. (1985). Codependency assessment inventory: A preliminary research tool. Focus on the Family and Chemical Dependency, 8(1), 20-21.
- Friel, J.C., & Friel, L.D. (1987). Uncovering our frozen feelings: The iceberg model of codependency. Focus on the Family and Chemical Dependency, 46(1), 10-12.
- Knapek, E., Balazs, K., & Szabo, I.K. (2017). The substance abuser’s partner: Do codependent individuals have borderline and dependent personality disorder? Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, 19(5), 55-62.
- Knudson, T.M., & Terrell, H.K. (2012). Codependency, perceived interparental conflict, and substance abuse in the family of origin. American Journal of Family Therapy, 40(3), 245-257.
- Lampis, J., Cataudella, S., Busonera, A., & Skowron, E.A. (2017). The role of differentiation of self and dyadic adjustment in predicting codependency. Contemporary Family Therapy, 39(1), 62-72.
- Lancer, D. (2016). Symptoms of codependency. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-codependency/
- Marks, A.D.G., Blore, R.L., Hine, D.W., & Dear, G.E. (2012). Development and validation of a revised measure of codependency. Australian Journal of Psychology, 64(3), 119-127.
- Mental Health America. (n.d.). Co-dependency. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/co-dependency
- Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. (1999). Codependency: A grass roots construct’s relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. American Journal of Family Therapy, 27(1), 63-71.
6 Signs To Look For
What is Codependency?
In healthy relationships, it’s natural to rely on each other for support. However, there’s a difference between depending on someone for emotional, financial, or physical support and being codependent.
Codependency, or relationship addiction, is an excessive, all-consuming dependency on a specific relationship. Most codependent relationships involve some form of underlying dysfunction, such as addiction, abuse, or mental illness.
Any relationship can be codependent, including romantic relationships, familial relationships, or friendships. In general, the codependent person wants to avoid making others unhappy, particularly the other member of the codependent relationship.
They often support the other person in some way, such as financially or emotionally. They also feel like they are unable to end the codependent aspect of the relationship because they fear what would happen to the other person.
People who are codependent on someone often have a number of traits in common. These include:
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble identifying their own emotions
- Trouble making decisions
- Desire to care for others
- Desire to feel important to someone
These feelings are a natural part of life. However, in some scenarios, they can work against healthy relationships and contribute to other problems as well.
While codependency can feel overwhelming, there are ways to overcome it. Recognizing the signs of codependency, taking action, and getting treatment can all help.
Types of Codependency
There are two general roles involved in a codependent relationship: the caregiver, and the person who needs care. It’s possible for two people to fill both roles in different ways.
For example, an adult parent-child relationship can be codependent. A parent may feel like they are still entirely responsible for their adult child’s physical well-being. Meanwhile, the child may feel responsible for their parent’s emotional wellbeing.
This may be more common if either person has an addiction or underlying mental health problem. This can lead to a dysfunctional cycle where both people involved feel like they cannot live without the other person. They have become codependent.
Signs of Codependency
Codependency leaves one person’s sense of self-worth and emotions entirely dependent on someone else. There are several signs that you or someone you know may be falling into a codependent relationship. Here are the signs and symptoms to watch for:
Compulsive Attention to Someone
One of the primary signs of potential codependency is feeling like you can’t live without the other person. People with codependent tendencies often feel a compulsive need to keep themselves connected with the other person. You might feel like the other person is so important to you that you have to hide your real thoughts and opinions to make sure they like you.
Fear of Abandonment
When you are codependent, you may have a deep-seated fear that the other person is going to leave you. Most of what you do in the relationship will be intended to make sure the other person doesn’t leave. This can include hiding your own feelings, lying, and supporting the other person in unhealthy behaviors.
Lack of External Support Systems
Another potential risk factor for codependency is relying entirely on one person for your emotional needs. You may not have a large social circle or have others you feel comfortable spending time with.
Codependent people tend to focus so heavily on one person that they don’t have time to spend with other people who are important to them.
Enmeshed Sense of Self
A person who’s codependent will likely feel like their personality depends on the other person. You may not feel like you know what you really like or who you really are. Instead, your focus is only on things the other person likes or dislikes.
Spending long enough supporting or relying on one person can wear down your sense of self. You may doubt your decisions and feel the need to have someone else make choices for you. You also may feel like your own preferences aren’t important enough to consider.
After a while in a codependent relationship, you may start to resent the other person. More importantly, you’ll resent them while feeling like you can’t live without them or like they can’t live without you. This is the biggest sign that your relationship is unhealthy and potentially codependent.
Dealing With a Codependent Relationship
The first thing to consider is whether this is a relationship you want to try to continue. If it’s not a safe relationship for you, you may need help to leave. If the relationship is one that’s safe for you to be in, removing codependency from a relationship usually requires one or both people involved to realize what’s going on. If you or a loved one is codependent, it’s important for the codependent person to prioritize themselves. This can help build self-esteem and also help them separate their sense of self from the other person. It’s also important for their partner to take good care of themselves.
You can also consider attending therapy. In many cases, personal or relationship therapy can help people in codependent relationships understand what parts of their relationship are causing them pain. In the long run, this can help some codependent relationships become healthier for everyone involved.
Therapy for Codependency, Therapist for Codependency
Codependency involves sacrificing one’s personal needs to try to meet the needs of others. Someone who is codependent has an extreme focus outside themselves. Their thoughts and actions revolve around other people, such as spouses or relatives.
Codependency often appears in relationships which are unbalanced and unhealthy. A person with codependency often tries to save others from themselves. They may get hurt trying to “cure” a partner’s addictions or abusive behaviors.
Codependency does not qualify as a mental health diagnosis, mostly because the symptoms are so widely applicable. Yet it can still cause severe distress. Codependency may lead a person to develop other mental health concerns such as anxiety. A therapist can help a person reduce codependent behaviors and develop healthier relationships.
What Does Codependency Look Like?
In psychology, codependency describes one person’s behaviors and attitudes rather than the relationship as a whole. Someone who is codependent often builds their identity around helping others. They may “depend” on others to validate their self-worth. A codependent person may deny their own desires or emotions to get this approval.
Common symptoms of codependency include:
- Low Self-Esteem: Codependency may cause feelings of shame and worthlessness. A person may believe they do not deserve happiness. If a person does not value themselves, they may try to get others to value them. The sense of “being needed” can prompt internal gratification, even if the recipient of care does not show gratitude.
- Poor Boundaries: Codependent people often feel responsible for others’ happiness. They can have a hard time saying “no” or putting their own needs first. They may hide their true thoughts and feelings to avoid upsetting others.
- A Need to “Save” Others: Codependent people may feel it is their duty to protect their loved ones from all harm. If a loved one does something wrong, they will likely try to fix the situation on loved one’s behalf. Such behavior can prevent others from becoming independent or learning from their mistakes. It may also enable abuse or addiction to persist unchallenged.
- Self-Denial: A codependent person often prioritizes others’ well-being over their own. They may deny their own needs for rest, emotional support, and self-care. They may feel guilt or anxiety when asserting their own desires. Codependent people can feel uneasy when others offer support.
- Perfectionism: Codependent people often project an image of self-reliance and competence. It is common for people to take on more responsibilities than they can handle. When they make an error or receive criticism, they may grow insecure.
- Control Issues: A codependent person may link their own self-worth to others’ well-being. If a loved one fails, a codependent person may feel as if they failed themselves. Their attempts to make others’ lives better may shift into controlling or possessive behavior.
Not every codependent person will show all these symptoms. But if a person shows many of these traits, they may be codependent.
What Causes Codependency?
Codependency is usually rooted in childhood. Often, a child grows up in a home where their emotions are ignored or punished. This emotional neglect can give the child low self-esteem and shame. They may believe their needs are not worth attending to.
Typically, one or more parents are not filling their role as guardians. Their dysfunction could be due to addiction, mental health diagnoses, or other concerns. The child may need to perform tasks that exceed their developmental ability. For example, if a parent is regularly too drunk to fix dinner, a young child may learn to cook so the family doesn’t go hungry.
Often the line between child and adult becomes blurred. If a parent isn’t filling their role, a child may become a pseudo-parent for their siblings. They might change a brother’s diapers or help a sister finish her homework.
Sometimes the child is expected to care for their own parent. A parent experiencing domestic violence may turn to the child as a confidante. A parent with narcissism may demand the child provide them praise and comfort. These interactions are often called enmeshment.
Since children are not fully grown, filling the role of “adult” can take all their effort. A child may be so focused on keeping the household running that they ignore their own needs. They may associate the caregiving role with feelings of stability and control.
As a child, codependent behaviors can be necessary for survival. In adulthood, the behaviors are not as adaptive. In fact, codependency can prevent a person from developing truly stable relationships.
Addiction and Codependency
Codependency may arise when someone is in a relationship with a person who has an addiction. The partner may abuse substances, or they may have an addiction to gambling or shopping.
The person with codependency may take on a “caretaker” role for their partner. The partner may rely on the caretaker to handle finances or household chores. If the addiction causes issues outside the relationship, the caretaker may cover for their partner. For example, someone who abuses alcohol may skip work. A codependent person may call the partner’s boss on their behalf and claim their partner is ill.
The caretaker often cares for their partner out of a sincere desire to help. Yet their behavior often enables their partner to continue the addiction. When the caretaker “saves” the partner from consequences, the partner often loses motivation to change. They may not seek the professional rehab they need. Without help, the addiction may get worse.
That said, the caretaker is not to blame for the other person’s addiction. While codependency can contribute to someone refusing treatment, it is not the only cause. Barring a safety crisis, someone cannot force others into rehabilitation.
This relationship can also harm the caretaker. The codependent person often throws their own needs to the side to care for the partner. Their codependent habits can worsen with time. They are unlikely to seek treatment for their own mental health concerns.
Abuse and Codependency
Codependency can also develop from living in an abusive household or relationship. Emotional abuse can make people feel small or unimportant. Codependent behaviors can develop as a way to counteract those feelings.
For example, someone may act as caretaker for a person with addiction in order to feel needed. Another individual may try to earn gratitude by catering to others’ needs at a cost to themselves. “Saving” others can make people feel empowered and important.
A person with codependency may feel responsible for the abusive individual. If an abuser has an untreated mental health concern, the person may try to “heal” them with care. Yet love alone is not enough to treat a mental health condition. The abusive person will need professional care to begin recovery.
Some people in codependent households may feel like they are protecting their family by keeping their problems private. But enabling one party’s abuse often causes harm to the other family members. Failing to report child abuse can make a person an “accessory after the fact,” and bring about legal consequences.
Parenting and Codependency
Parents with codependency may try to live vicariously through their children. Some parents may try to protect a child from all hardship in life. Others may try to control a child so they grow up to meet the parent’s definition of success.
This behavior can increase the risk of codependency in children. When children are allowed to explore the world and make their own plans, they develop a sense of independence. When parents make all the decisions, children may learn to ignore their own desires. They can also learn to place others’ approval above their own needs.
These effects can last for years. A codependent child may lack confidence and struggle to make decisions as an adult. They may seek out relationships in which someone else has all the power. Without help, the cycle of codependency may continue for another generation.
Caregiving and Codependency
Caregivers spend their days caring for a loved one who has a chronic illness or disability. They may provide transportation, help the person bathe, or offer other day-to-day assistance. Caregiving is often difficult in and of itself. Yet codependency can further complicate the dynamic.
If you are a caregiver, you may wonder about your own behavior. Where do you draw the line between typical caregiving and codependency? Every situation is different, but if you display the following signs, there may be cause for concern:
- Insisting a loved one do everything your way. When there is an issue of safety or health, you may need to put your foot down. But it is not necessary to make every decision for the person. If your loved one wishes to wear a certain shirt, you do not need to steer them toward a more fashionable wardrobe.
- Revolving your entire life around the loved one. Caregiving can take up a lot of time and energy. Yet it is important to rest on occasion and to have a social life outside of your loved one. Otherwise you may grow resentful and burnt out.
- Encouraging your loved one to rely on you alone. Many people like to feel needed. Yet if you see other caregivers as “rivals” or discourage your loved one from being self-sufficient, there may be an issue.
Codependency can cause a lot of strain between you and your loved one. Addressing codependent behaviors may improve your relationship. Setting boundaries and practicing communication can make a stressful situation a little healthier.
Co-Occurring Mental Health Conditions
Although codependency is not a diagnosis, it can interfere with a person’s well-being. People with codependency are more likely to have low self-esteem and strong feelings of shame. Research has found relationships between codependency and the following conditions:
Codependency is also a risk factor for substance addiction. Addiction can develop as a way to avoid difficult emotions. Some people may abuse substances to bond with a partner who is also addicted. A partner may also pressure the person with codependency into using drugs or alcohol.
If you think you may be codependent, you might wish to find a therapist. A mental health professional can determine if your behaviors resemble codependency. They can also treat any co-occurring mental health issues. In therapy, you can explore the roots of your behavior and learn to balance your needs with those of others.
- Co-Dependency. (n.d.) Mental Health America. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/co-dependency
- Codependency and addiction: Symptoms and treatment. (2014, November 6). The Cabin. Retrieved from https://www.thecabinchiangmai.com/codependency-and-addiction-symptoms-and-treatment
- The common threat between food addiction and codependency. (2016, March 2). Alta Mira Recovery Programs. Retrieved from https://www.altamirarecovery.com/blog/common-thread-food-addiction-codependency
- Crawford, D. W., & Fischer, J. L. (1992, July 1). Codependency and Parenting Styles. Journal of Adolescent Research, 7(3), 352-363. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/074355489273005
- Denholm, D. (2012, February 29). 4 Signs a Caregiver Is Suffering from the Big C: Codependence. The Boomer Brief. Retrieved from http://www.boomerbrief.com/2012/02/4-signs-a-caregiver-is-suffering-from-the-big-c-codependence.html
- Emotional Abuse and Addiction/Codependency. (2016, September 6). Amethyst Recovery Center. Retrieved from https://www.amethystrecovery.org/emotional-abuse-addictioncodependency
- Knapek, E., Balazs, K., & Szabo, I. K. (2017). The substance abuser’s partner: Do codependent individuals have borderline and dependent personality disorder? Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, 19(5), 55-62. Retrieved from http://www.epaam.org/files/b/a/3/b/6/volumes-harcp-2017-v19-n5.pdf#page=57
- Springer, C. A., Britt, T. W., & Schlenker, B. R. (1998). Codependency: Clarifying the construct. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 20(2), 141-158. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/198715631?accountid=1229
- Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. (1999). Codependency: A grass roots construct’s relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 27(1), 63-71. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/230100367?accountid=1229
10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It)
You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.
Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically
According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.
“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor
Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:
If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.
If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.
Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:
- Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
- Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
- Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.
Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.
To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.
Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.
Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.
Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.
Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:
2. Focus on your goal
One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.
Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’
Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.
Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.
If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.
3. Convert negativity to positivity
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?
‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’
It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”
Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.
Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:
4. Understand your content
Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.
However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.
“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor
Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.
Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.
One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.
5. Practice makes perfect
Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.
Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
6. Be authentic
There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.
Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.
Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.
To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.
With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.
Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:
7. Post speech evaluation
Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.
Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation
We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.
You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.
Improve your next speech
As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:
- How did I do?
- Are there any areas for improvement?
- Did I sound or look stressed?
- Did I stumble on my words? Why?
- Was I saying “um” too often?
- How was the flow of the speech?
Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.
If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:
5 Signs You’re In a Codependent Relationship
Are You in a Codependent Relationship?
Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including romantic partnerships, friendships, and with family members.
These relationships are one-sided, dysfunctional, and unhealthy. Mental Health America describes codependency as, “a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.” How can you tell if you’re in a codependent relationship? Look for these 5 signs and symptoms.
1. You spend all (or most) of your time thinking about the relationship
Codependents are uncomfortable at the thought of being alone. This fear and insecurity causes them to obsess over the relationship, analyzing every word and action. In this dynamic, it’s also common to go above and beyond in an attempt to influence your partner’s happiness.
2. You always say yes, even at the expense of your own wellbeing
As part of going the extra mile to please, codependent people put their partner before themselves and say yes to everything that’s asked of them. They’re driven to please the other person, and their sense of worth comes from feeling wanted and needed.
3. The relationship is a defining part of who you are
People in codependent relationships often lose their own interests, passions, and desires. Their entire sense of identity is wrapped up in the other person. In healthy relationships, each individual maintains their sense of self while being a supportive partner.
4. You have low self-esteem
Low self-esteem is a common symptom of codependency. The site, GoodTherapy, offers a good explanation for why this happens, writing, “Codependency may cause feelings of shame and worthlessness. A person may believe they do not deserve happiness. If a person does not value themselves, they may try to get others to value them. The sense of “being needed” can prompt internal gratification, even if the recipient of care does not show gratitude.”
5. In relationships, you always give more than you receive
According to Dr. Shawn Meghan Burn, author of Unhealthy Helping: A Psychological Guide to Codependence, Enabling, and Other Dysfunctional Giving, “In the codependent relationship, one person is doing the bulk of the caring, and often ends up losing themselves in the process.” One person becomes the giver, and the other becomes the taker. This tendency can have a big impact on the giver as they “overexert themselves physically and emotionally in order to please their partners.”
6. How can I recover from codependency?
Every codependent relationship is different, and you may or may not identify with these signs. To learn more about yourself and how you depend on partners, consider codependency counseling and therapy. Your therapist will help you understand why you feel and act the way you do in relationships, and can teach you how to develop healthy and mutually fulfilling partnerships.
Signs of codependent relationships
Such relationships are called codependent. This means that you are too absorbed in your partner – your self-worth depends on his approval, and his emotions and actions are always more important than yours.
Codependency is “an unhealthy, inadequate or dangerous need for another person,” says Andrea Miller, author of Radical Acceptance: The Secret of Happy and Lasting Love. “.
It’s okay to want your partner’s support and confidence that your relationship is unique and special. But codependents really need the constant approval of their partner. Such relationships can be arranged in different ways – sometimes both partners suffer inadequately strong attachment to each other, and in some cases only one of the partners depends on the other, while the other may even enjoy his power and control.
If you suspect that you are a dependent partner, the list below will help you find out if this is actually the case.And if the signs below apply to your partner, he or she may be addicted.
1. You are afraid to make independent decisions
If you feel the need to involve your partner in all aspects of your life without exception – asking his permission to meet with friends, or to accept an offer for a promotion – this may mean that you are in a codependent relationship.
“Of course, it’s worth listening to your partner’s opinion, but if you cannot make any decisions at all without his approval, you may be too dependent on him,” says New York City psychiatrist Gail Saltz.
Long-term relationships require compromises from time to time. But if you are afraid to make decisions without asking your partner’s opinion, it may mean that you do not trust yourself. Therefore, you choose not what seems right to you, but what your partner wants.
2. You are ready to do anything to avoid quarrels and disputes
If you agree with your partner most often on any issue – from politics to dinner menu, it can mean that you are a good match for each other.But consent can be a sign of addiction 100% of the time, says Gail Saltz.
This means that “you do not have your own opinion and your own identity,” she explains. “An emotionally mature and healthy person who feels love and trust is not afraid to express his opinion, even if it does not coincide with the position of the partner.”
But the dependent person is more likely to remain silent, fearing that his disagreement could provoke a quarrel that would jeopardize the future of the relationship.
Disputes and disagreements should not be feared: in a healthy relationship, partners know very well that they cannot have a consensus on all possible issues.
12 Symptoms of Codependency. Are you in a codependent relationship?
Article written by Anna Vladimirovna Nazarenko, founder and head of the Eating Disorders Clinic, psychologist, expert on eating disorders, author of treatment methods for anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder.
“The madness of codependency is to do the same thing all the time, expecting new results.”
If you have a chronic eating disorder, it is safe to say that you are a codependent or addicted person in a personal relationship.Treating eating disorders involves treating relationship codependencies in order to gain the energy of independence, autonomy, and freedom from other people and opinions.
When we talk about codependency, we mean a relationship in which one of the partners completely pulls attention to himself, putting his emotional experiences and the need for self-affirmation above the similar desires of the partner. At the same time, over time, the other partner involuntarily develops dependence on the partner’s opinion, and self-doubt develops.
Have you noticed that you spend all your energy on meeting the needs of your partner? Do you feel trapped in your relationship? Are you the kind of partner who constantly sacrifices for the sake of the relationship? If so, then most likely your relationship is characterized by codependency.
In psychology, the term “codependency” has been used for quite some time. True, they originally designated spouses of alcoholics (the so-called “passive alcoholics).However, as a result of many years of research, scientists have found that such relationships are much more common than they originally thought. In particular, they found that codependency can develop if you grew up in a dysfunctional family. Some scientists even argue that certain “symptoms” of codependency are inherited and, if left untreated, they tend to progress. The good news is that these symptoms are reversible.
Symptoms of Codependency
Below is a list of the most common symptoms of codependency, as well as signs that you are in a codependent relationship.Moreover, you do not have to agree with all the statements to determine that you are at risk.
- Low self-esteem, dysfunctional family.
If, in comparison with others, you feel that you are not good enough, then most likely you have low self-esteem. It’s funny, but often people with high self-esteem are actually deeply insecure people who were “disliked” in childhood. This mask of exclusivity usually hides insecurity, resentment, and unhealthy narcissism.If you are doing well, you are unlikely to experience such feelings.
- Desire to please everyone.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to please someone you care about. However, “codependent” people try to achieve this at any cost. Refusal makes them feel uneasy. It is often very difficult for them to say “no” themselves. Therefore, they very often sacrifice their own interests for the sake of others.
- No boundaries.
Borders are a kind of imaginary line between you and those around you. It sort of delimits “your” from “someone else’s.” And this applies not only to your body, money and things, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. It is very difficult for codependents to define these boundaries. For some of them, these boundaries are practically absent. They seem to feel responsible for the feelings and problems of other people, or, on the contrary, they constantly shift responsibility from themselves to someone else.It also happens that codependents have very strict personal boundaries. They seem to close in their world, not allowing others to approach them. In some cases, codependent people can constantly “rush from one extreme to another” – from rigid boundaries to their complete absence and vice versa.
- Increased susceptibility.
A consequence of weak internal boundaries is that such people take very close to their hearts the thoughts and experiences of other people.They either agree with someone else’s opinion, or begin to violently challenge it. Due to the lack of boundaries, they lose the ability to “filter” someone else’s opinion. Otherwise, they would understand that someone else’s opinion is only one of the points of view on the situation, which does not contain any reproach or threat against them.
- Taking care of other people’s problems.
Another consequence of weak boundaries is that they are very concerned about the problems of others, even more than their own.In general, it is natural for a person to show sympathy and empathy, but in the case of codependents, this property becomes grotesque – they begin to put other people’s problems above their own.
- Desire to control everything.
Control helps codependents feel safe. There is nothing wrong with wanting to control certain events in our life. Few people want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos.But in the case of codependents, control becomes so “overwhelming” that it limits their ability to take risks and prevents them from sharing their feelings with others. Sometimes they develop some kind of addiction, which either helps them to relax a little (alcoholism), or, on the contrary, distracts their attention from the inability to control everything (workaholism). Codependents, among other things, feel an urgent need to control their loved ones – simply because they want their loved ones to be happy at all times.In practice, the desire to please everyone and take care of everyone can be used to control and manipulate others. It also happens that codependents constantly tell you how to live, what to do, and what you shouldn’t do on the contrary. Thus, they violate your boundaries.
- Self-expression problem.
It can be very difficult for codependents to express their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Of course, when you find it difficult to understand what you think, feel or what you need, it becomes a serious problem.Such people can stop trusting themselves. They are afraid to speak the truth so as not to accidentally offend someone. Instead of saying, “I don’t like this,” they can pretend that everything is fine and tell others what to do. It is very difficult to establish a normal relationship with a person when you try to manipulate him.
- Obsession, obsessive thoughts.
Codependents spend a lot of time thinking about other people or other people’s relationships.The reason for this behavior lies in their fears, fears and experiences. They may become obsessed with the thought that they have made (or could have made) some mistake. Sometimes they are in a world of illusions, reflecting on the “ideal picture of the world”, instead of returning to reality and dealing with their problems. Of course, this is a great way to protect yourself from negative emotions. But it prevents them from living “here and now.”
- Dependence on someone else’s opinion.
Codependents need constant approval and recognition from others. They are very afraid of being rejected and abandoned, even if they do a great job on their own. It also happens that they just need to be constantly in a relationship, because being alone they become depressed and they feel terribly lonely. Therefore, it is so difficult for them to end the relationship, even if it is a painful and unhealthy relationship. They end up trapped.
Very often codependent people deny the existence of the problem of codependency to the last. Usually they look for the reason in others or blame the circumstances. They either constantly complain about their partner, or try to “bend” him under themselves. They may constantly change partners or jobs, refusing to admit that the problem is in themselves. Codependents often ignore their own emotions and needs. They find it difficult to understand how they are feeling – instead, they focus on what others are feeling.The same thing happens with their needs. They care more about the needs of others than about their own. They may ignore their need for personal space or independence. Codependents can demonstrate their self-sufficiency in every possible way, refuse someone else’s help (even if in fact they really need it). It is easier for them to ignore their own needs than to accept someone’s help. They refuse to acknowledge their own vulnerability, need for love and closeness.
- Problems in intimate life.
Of course, sexual dysfunction is a direct consequence of problems in intimate life. However, in this case, we are talking about the fact that it is very difficult for codependent people to open up to their partner, to feel real closeness. The reason lies in their insecurity and weak external boundaries. They are afraid of being judged, afraid of being rejected or abandoned. At the same time, they are afraid of losing themselves in a relationship, afraid of losing their autonomy.It is easier for such people to ignore their own need for intimacy, suggesting to a partner that he requires too much attention and time … At the same time, they ignore their partner’s need for personal time and space.
- Painful emotions.
Co-addiction can cause stress and pain. Shame and low self-esteem breed anxiety and fear. Codependents are afraid that people will condemn them, they are afraid to make mistakes, they are afraid to get too close to someone and they are afraid to be alone … It also happens that people do become aggressive, irritable, suffer from depression and despair.When there are too many of these emotions, the person “breaks down” and does not know how to react to them.
Causes of codependency in adults
From the moment of birth to two or three years, the child completes the solution of a number of problems of his development. The most important psychological developmental task during this period is to establish trust between mother and child. If the establishment of basic trust or connection was completed successfully, then the child feels safe enough to engage in the exploration of the external world and subsequently, at the age of two or three, complete his so-called second, or psychological birth.Psychological birth occurs when a child learns to be psychologically independent from his mother. An important skill that a child acquires upon successful completion of this stage of development is the ability to rely on his inner strength, that is, to declare himself, and not expect that someone else will control his behavior. The child develops a sense of self, which gives him the opportunity to learn to take responsibility for his actions, share, interact and restrain aggression, adequately relate to the authority of others, express his feelings in words and effectively deal with fear and anxiety.If this stage is not completed to the end, the child becomes psychologically dependent on others and does not have his own clearly felt “I”, which would distinguish him from others.
However, codependency is quite successfully “cured”. And the first step on the way to recovery should be the awareness of the existing problem, the support of loved ones and the qualified help of a psychologist. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get rid of these symptoms on your own. Your main task is to get rid of insecurities and increase your self-esteem.Seek help from a qualified technician. The Anna Nazarenko Clinic has developed special therapeutic programs to get rid of codependent relationships.
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How to recognize codependent relationships
“I can’t live without this person”, “It’s better this way than being alone”, “Everyone’s the same”, “I’ll endure a little more, and everything will change”, “Such a relationship is my fault” – similar phrases are often found in the speech of a codependent person.
When a feeling of attachment becomes hypertrophied, it is unlikely to make him happy. In this case, the person ceases to take into account his own needs and feelings, all attention is directed only to the partner, there is simply no place for his own development.
Nadezhda Skribtsova, a specialist of the Moscow psychological service , told the portal “Motherhood.ru” about the signs, reasons and ways of getting out of codependent relationships.
Codependent relationships have several characteristics:
- Feeling of constant unhappiness and discomfort.It’s hard for partners to be together and apart from each other. There is a feeling of a dead end, a hopelessness of the situation.
- The need to fulfill some conditions to get the attention of a partner. If you did something wrong, punishment will follow – criticism, coldness and alienation.
- Absolute control over the life and actions of a partner. Literally: your partner cannot even step on his own, you should always know where he is and what he is doing.
- Inability of partners to constructive and open dialogue.In a codependent relationship, any conversation is full of manipulations and hints, it is difficult for partners to speak openly and directly about their feelings, there is an illusion that a loved one himself must guess what is in the soul of a partner. In such a relationship, violent, emotional quarrels often arise, in which the partners are not interested in each other’s opinion, and after a while they cannot answer what exactly was the quarrel, which was the impetus for its beginning.
- Shifting personal responsibility onto another person.
It’s all your fault!
In a codependent relationship, there are two scenarios: either a person completely shifts personal responsibility onto a partner, or, conversely, takes responsibility for the life of a partner on himself, ignoring his own. When problems and difficulties arise, a codependent person has a strong belief that the partner is to blame for everything, that he certainly needs to change himself and his behavior, and only in this case everything will work out.
In such a relationship, there can be no question of happiness. A codependent person constantly feels anxiety and fear, which arise for no reason and are total in nature. All thoughts are focused only on a partner, personal boundaries are blurred, and the future seems vague and uncertain.
Cross out bad script
The source of such relationships is often the family scenarios of one or both partners. Most likely, the same format of relationships was in their parental families.Often a distorted picture of the world is instilled in childhood, when the child is most receptive and, like a sponge, absorbs everything that happens around. Adults can begin to shift responsibility for their actions and those of loved ones onto children, make the child a mediator in negotiations between parents, talk about their personal relationships and ask for advice. A striking example is the following parental phrases: “go tell your dad what if he doesn’t …”, “we’ll get divorced because of your bad behavior”, “I’m sick because you misbehave.”Thus, a small child is instilled with the illusion that he can control the life, health and actions of adults. But this is an unbearable responsibility for a small person, associated with great fears.
However, not only those who grew up in such families can become codependent. People with certain personality traits – sacrificial, hypersensitive, taking on unnecessary responsibility – can also fall into the trap of codependency.
But there is a way out! And this does not mean at all that the relationship will have to end.The first step to getting out of this relationship is to acknowledge the problem, accept it, and be willing to deal with it.
Working with self-esteem, setting boundaries, realizing your own desires and needs, developing your own interests and taking time for yourself are the main tasks that you need to work on to get out of codependent relationships. You are an adult, full-fledged personality, capable of taking responsibility for your actions, which means that you will succeed!
Codependency test.Winehold scale
1 October 2021
Oh, this diagnosis, which overtakes every other couple. And maybe even every one at all. An ailment from which there are no vaccinations – because the mechanism is not fully understood, human relations are not subject to complete categorization and analysis. His name is unknown garbage.
Formation of codependency in childhood
20 May 2021
Every child has five essential characteristics: he is valuable, he is vulnerable, he is imperfect, he is dependent, he is immature.Nobody chooses these characteristics, they are possessed by absolutely every child from birth. He is so because of his age.
A little about counterdependents
25 May 2020
Counterdependency is a radical way to avoid codependency by reversing the sign.If your personal insides know that it does not know how to play on equal terms, and being dependent is ashamed and scary, then the command goes to strengthen the walls, increase the number of sentinels and cast bullets.
Codependent Behavior: Daily Cheat Sheet
5 March 2020
How to preserve both yourself and your relationship, adjusting your own boundaries in a comfortable way, especially if you did not have the opportunity to learn this in your parental family? How to choose between your own and someone else’s needs, especially if you are used to being comfortable and not a hassle? How can I determine what I have the right to and what I don’t have, especially if I’m used to thinking that someone else decides?
How I End Violent Relationships
25 September 2019
Until the beginning of this year, the word “abuser” was not in my vocabulary, I did not know anything about codependent relationships and did not understand the intricacies of narcissistic disorders.The fact that next to me is a reference abuser and part-time perverse narcissist, I guessed only six months before the final denouement. Most of all, the process of awareness resembled a detective story, when a whole picture is formed from a set of disparate facts.
I remember very well the moment when I became a cheating person…
16 June 2018
The next day, a building collapsed inside me. This was my personal eleventh of September. The feeling of an unbearable pain shock was tripled by the schizophrenic position – it turned out that intuition was completely dysfunctional, because I was gentle, empathic, intelligent, attentive, dynamic – but my instinct was lost.
Beliefs That Shape Codependency
28 February 2018
Psychologist Svetlana Uzakova: “In our family, the manifestation of one’s” I “by any family member was extremely undesirable and unbearable for everyone, because the words, thoughts, feelings expressed, evoked reciprocal feelings: amazing, incomprehensible, sometimes unpleasant, and already forgotten by many, thrown away for their uselessness or painfulness.And somehow it had to be dealt with. “
Me or you?
21 November 2017
Psychologist Julia Stulova: “Has it ever happened in your life that your relationship with the opposite sex became more like a game of catch-up? The partner runs away from intimacy and commitment, and I catch up: I am trying to prove my love and achieve reciprocity.Or my partner is constantly encroaching on my freedom, trying to drag me into a chain of obligations, and I am hiding in flight for numerous fictions “why now is not the time and why everything will not work out early.”
Who are emotionally dependent people?
2 November 2017
Such people seem to play secondary roles in their own life, and the partner is the main person who determines the mood, state and well-being even.At the same time, it is important to say that we are all interconnected and interdependent in one way or another, however, in a healthy relationship, a partner is not the whole world, as a parent once was.
What keeps us in a “dead” relationship?
30 April 2017
Gestalt therapist Gennady Maleichuk: “This is a relationship that has psychologically exhausted itself.They may have once had feelings of partners for each other, but at the moment there is no room left for feelings, attraction, or attraction in them. Dead relationships are often outwardly non-conflicting, but there are no feelings, life in them. But partners, paradoxically, still remain in them. ”
The Broken Trough of Complementary Marriage: The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish
23 March 2017
Gestalt therapist Gennady Maleichuk: “Complementary relationships of the” Child – Parent “type are created with the hope of receiving unconditional acceptance, unconditional love, and recognition that could not be obtained from the parents.What makes the Old Man uncomplainingly obey the Old Woman and obsessively go to the goldfish with requests? This desire to earn love is recognition. In my experience, those women are capable of such feats, and even men who do not accept themselves, consider themselves unworthy of love, with low self-esteem. “
Analysis of fairy tales,
Dependent Personality Disorder (ADD)
22 March 2017
Yulia Makarova, psychologist: “Addictive personality disorder is characterized by an excessive need for care, which manifests itself in obedience and obsession, as well as in the fear of separation.The consequences of the disorder are depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and a tendency to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. “
Dependent Personality Disorder
Codependency. Self-esteem. Relationship
18 February 2017
Gestalt therapist Maria Gasparyan: “Recovering from the toxic shame formed in childhood requires working with a qualified psychotherapist.Shame can diminish, self-esteem can increase, and attachment styles can change, and you can change the way you interact with yourself and those around you. “
And together we cannot, and separately is unbearable
14 January 2017
Family psychologist Anastasia Dementyeva: “The origins of codependency are in childhood, in the parental family.Codependency is a state of strong emotional attachment, a complete transfer of the focus of attention to another, the inability to satisfy one’s own needs. “
Features of the manifestation of aggression in codependents
28 September 2016
Gestalt therapist Gennady Maleichuk: “It is very easy to confuse addiction with attachment, since the line between them is very thin.In the case of addiction, attachment becomes excessive, obsessive, pathological, and the object of attachment begins to perform a meaning-forming function, life without it seems impossible for the addict. “
“Family invasion”: parents who “kill” their children
25 September 2016
Gestalt therapist Gennady Maleichuk: “The main features of a client who has become a victim of” family invasion “are the difficulty in establishing close contacts with people from the” outside world “; a wary attitude towards the world; inability to relax; conviction that rest must be earned by hard work; obsessive desire constantly do something; a large number of obligations, introjects; a high level of self-exactingness.”
Let Me Go
17 September 2016
Psychologist Gennady Maleichuk: “A common situation of codependent relationships, in which one of the members of the couple, the client, is already” ripe “enough to understand the impossibility of” living like this further “, but at the same time he cannot decide to take an independent step and seeks professional help from a therapist.The request most often sounds like the impossibility of making a choice. “
Complementary marriage: general characteristics
7 September 2016
Psychologist Gennady Maleichuk: “Such marriages abound with passions, the level of intensity of emotions in them is much higher than in other marriages, and relations, starting from the first meeting, acquire the qualities of fatal ones.Emotional connections between partners are excessive and in the strength of attachment can compete with consanguineous relationships. “
90,000 Codependency: basic concepts .. In general, I can tell right away that there is … | by Inna Gentle
In general, I can tell right away that there is a book called “Codependency for Dummies”, and there is much more there. Other sources are listed below, but this book covers a lot.Although I haven’t finished reading it yet.
The ability to love is an amazing phenomenon. Love is not a pleasant addition to “everything else,” but a fundamental need that sets life guidelines.
“Love saves by lighting up the most secret corners of the soul with fire”
But for a person who grew up in a dysfunctional family and did not see a healthy model of expressing and accepting love (or simply hates himself for some reason), this feeling can transform into destructive codependency.
And with the help of love, you can engage in self-immolation.
What is codependency?
Codependency is a dynamic in a relationship in which a codependent person promotes destructive, inappropriate, and generally unhealthy behavior of a loved one. Due to the instability of the perception of oneself as a person, the self-awareness of a codependent is directly related to caring for a loved one. A codependent cannot make decisions based on his desires and needs: that is why he builds his life around another person / process, for example, taking a substance. The codependent is driven by an uncontrollable need for approval of their actions or fear of rejection, he seeks to satisfy all the needs of the partner in an exaggerated and destructive form for both.
Codependency can occur in a relationship where one partner suffers from alcohol / drug addiction, or if one of the partners suffers from a mental disorder. In these cases, the codependent goes to great lengths to help the loved one cope with real or fictional problems.This negatively affects both the person who is trying to help and the person who is trying to help.
There is a difference between “codependency” and “interdependence” – most relationships are somewhere in between.
An unhealthy relationship is an imbalance in the strength of each partner. One of them tries to guess the desires of the other, which entails guilt, anxiety, self-shame . Partners don’t just react to each other – they feel responsible for the other person’s feelings.
Causes and symptoms of codependency.
As a rule, codependents grew up in an atmosphere where it is customary for the child to be ashamed, silenced, or create unrealistic expectations. It is difficult for those who, since childhood, have not had the opportunity to build a healthy perception of themselves and learn to recognize their importance, it is difficult to find their place in the world.
The codependent ties the sense of self to the approval of others, and hence the fear of being abandoned: the departure of a loved one undermines the perception of oneself.Out of fear, we strive to make ourselves indispensable to loved ones so that they do not leave.
- Internalization of shame.
A person is ashamed of himself, it is a permanent and non-healing wound, regardless of what is happening. Shame begins to define a person. You do not believe that you deserve love, respect, success, happiness. You are disgusting, defective, inadequate, doomed to pain and despair.
- Need to control situations and people
- Uncontrollable sense of responsibility for others
- Intense sense of guilt
- Feeling that you are not worthy to be happy
- Desire to please at any cost and excessive receptivity to criticism
- Your happiness depends on others
- Difficulty recognizing what you feel and what others are
- Communication problems
One of the main problems codependency is very difficult for an addict to recognize symptoms of codependency.The codependent views all symptoms as expressions of deep love.
Emotions are part of life, but codependents feel ashamed of experiencing them. They get angry with themselves for being angry, they see sadness and depression as something wrong. You constantly chase the past in your head and relive your mistakes over and over again (see: rumination).
Some authors consider anxious attachment style synonymous with codependency. People with an anxious attachment style would like to bond with others, but are too worried that these feelings are not mutual.
Anxiety loves certainty. It is very difficult to live in an anxious world and rejoice in uncertainty in the event of an anxiety disorder. Anxious attachment style makes you think you are the worst. The critic’s voice sounds louder than anything.
A person, as a rule, seeks to find someone close to whom he can be maximally attached. This level of intimacy is virtually unattainable, leaving a deep sense of dissatisfaction behind. It only feeds the voice of the inner critic.In fact – a vicious circle.
Low self-esteem is one of the most common symptoms of codependency. It is very difficult to make decisions on your own without worrying about how your partner will react. It is almost impossible to define your own desires if you are focused solely on the needs of your partner.
Codependents are uncomfortable living with themselves. They create a “protective personality” as a reaction to the frightening surrounding world, to self-criticism, to nonconformity to the ideal. They hide themselves to be accepted by others. Many codependents do not realize this, but their life is a tyranny of the thought “I should do [insert_wanted] because it is necessary.”
In the absence of a partner, a person with increased anxiety is not able to feel safe. Generally, feeling secure is inextricably linked to feeling your partner is happy with you.
Codependency in the life of a person with anxiety disorder can be repeated repeatedly .This is incredibly angry. Even when a codependent is consciously looking for a partner that would suit him on an emotional level, this pattern cannot be removed without solving internal problems. Codependents often fall in love with emotionally closed partners. In essence, this pre-sets the addict for all the same problems as in previous attempts.
Usually, the end of a romantic relationship is accompanied by sadness. However, for an anxious and dependent person, this can be a reason for great joy: at last you are free.
In general, I was inspired (more precisely, strigger) to translate / assemble this material by the test for the ratio of anxiety and codependency, the Spann-Fisher scale.
The connection turned out to be very noticeable, and I did not realize it for many years (I advise everyone to read the questions).
People with codependency tend to have strong empathy. In fact, this empathy is so strong that it is difficult for them to understand why others do not feel this energy ball from the people around.It is a huge surprise to someone with developed empathy that their partner does not have the same skill set. It is important for both partners to know. The “empathic” must understand that his partner does not have the same gift / curse to understand other people’s emotions. In turn, the partner must remember that the “empathic” perceives emotions on a different level.
The same satellite of codependency can be alarm . Delight often goes hand in hand with fear. Do you remember how you learned to ride a bike? You felt both fear and delight at the same time.Learn to live with both emotions. Don’t let fear kill the delight of life, the delight of yourself. Growth is when you are in a zone familiar to you with one foot, and with the other foot you take a step into an unfamiliar sphere: it is impossible to live with only one person, closing the living space. This chaotic and frightening world is not limited to one person. You don’t need to win someone’s love. Yes, it is difficult to talk about “self-love” when you are at the deepest point of the bottom of self-loathing, but you can try to swim out of this towards “I hardly hate myself” – even there is more oxygen.When even a drop of hatred leaves the heart, the void is filled with either awareness or something else. The main thing is to dilute codependency.
The more honest we are in admitting our shortcomings, the more true our personal growth. “I hate myself. I’m scared. It seems that this is not love – it does not heal me, ”- with this phrase begins a very long, non-linear, confusing path.
Ideally, over time, we reduce the percentage of evil in ourselves and negative in the world around us. Thus, the ability to tolerate negative emotion is very important for personal growth.
One way to reduce anxiety is to make a list of all the things you should be doing. Analyze this list and decide what you can live with, what is better to leave in the past.
It is impossible to solve the problem of codependency without finding the true reason for the desire not to be alone, the desire to please, to receive a constant nourishment of the feeling that you are great.
Try to be as understanding as possible. This person really likes you. To the point that he is very worried that things will go wrong now, and this can be a test for both.At the beginning of a relationship, it is worth giving the person maximum confidence that he is not a burden, he is important in himself. Appreciate that they will try to maintain your relationship anyway and will be interested in continuing to keep you connected. In the end, it’s not bad.
- Understand the essence of codependency
- Understand the mechanisms of addiction and the complexity of family relationships.
- Understand the consequences of addiction.
- Exit the denial stage.
- Accept your starting helplessness in the face of addiction.
- Start the practice of “nonattachment” (1. setting the boundaries of personal space, 2. accepting reality, 3. focusing on the present, not the past or the future).
- Realize that you are not other people.
- Dealing with anxiety and fears.
- Rationalization, working with your values and thoughts.
- Development of decision making skills
- Replace despair with hope.
- Analyze your emotions, be able to give them a clear name.
- Make a connection between emotions, thoughts and actions.
- Keep a diary.
- ! Refuse responsibility for other people’s emotions.
- Share your emotions with a specialist.
- Take responsibility for your anger.
- Take time to deal with the loss.
- Learning not to eat yourself up when negative emotions appear.
- Learn to resist negative self-talk.
- Heal the wound of constant burning shame for yourself.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Take full responsibility for your actions.
- Trust yourself.
- Learning to do yourself is not painful, but pleasant.
- Be honest and straightforward.
- Learn to say no and protect personal boundaries.
- Speak more through “I want”, “I think”, “I can”.
Codependency Test – Ekaterina Sigitova
Level of codependency
Codependency.This word, so often used today, was born quite a long time ago – at one of the group trainings under the program “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Its authors had in mind a complex of psychological problems that arise in family members of an alcoholic or drug addict, and this definition has stuck for a long time. The problems consisted in fixing on the personality of another person, in the desire to control him, to save him, to take care of him, and as a result – in the inability to get out of the relationship with him. In fact, it was the same addiction, only with a focus not on the substance, but on the person.
Since then, many articles have been written and much research done, and the understanding of codependency has expanded. Now it is believed that it can develop not only in family members of the addict, and all definitions, in general, boil down to one key point: codependency is when we feel bad in a relationship, but we still remain in them . Many smaller points follow from this key point:
– when your own discomfort is not a sufficient reason to change the situation;
– when without the Other there is no sense of completeness and wholeness of oneself;
– when you have to not be yourself in order for the relationship to continue;
– when in a relationship the Other is more important and more valuable than me;
– when the relationship is very warm, but there is no intimacy.
We offer you a test for the level of codependency, created on the basis of foreign questionnaires and articles, and adapted for the Russian-speaking audience. When reprinting and using, a reference to the original is required. Authors: psychotherapists P. Gaverdovskaya and E. Sigitova, 2014
A small instruction for the test: “your partner” is the one or the one with whom you are or were in a close relationship. These can be family members (for example, mom, dad, etc.), spouses and partners in love relationships, friends or girlfriends.If you have been in such a relationship before, then some test questions refer to that period and ask yourself in the past tense; if you are taking a test for committing changes, then evaluate some questions regarding your plans for the future.
90,000 “I can’t live without this person! It is addiction?”
: Time to read:
Test yourself and see if your relationship has a chance of being healthy.
We have previously written about codependent relationships and their premises.Today we will touch on this topic again. Let’s talk in more detail how to define what codependency is, and whether it is possible to “cure” such a relationship by creating a comfortable and healthy union out of them.
Psychologist, gestalt therapist, supervisor of the Moscow Gestalt Institute Tatyana Chuvilchikova, who has been specializing in this topic for many years, shared her opinion.
People with a penchant for codependent relationships limit their world to one person – a partner.
Codependency in relationships begins when the presence of relationships becomes more important than their quality.In a dependent relationship, one partner always serves the needs of the other. However, codependency is noticed only when the discomfort from the relationship already exceeds all possible limits, and there are several useless attempts to get out of the relationship.
Your relationship is codependent, if:
- there is something in the relationship that causes harm or discomfort;
- at the same time, it is impossible to get out of the relationship.
90,055 partners’ healthy needs are not being met;
4 options for dependent relationships
Love through self-denial. A person fully lives the life of another, his interests, norms, goals, principles. The opinion of another becomes more important than his own, his mood and well-being comes first. “He is the meaning of my life, without him I am nothing.”
Love through the absorption of another. The person takes full responsibility for the partner. He controls, takes care of, rescues, cares, gives valuable guidance.The partner is perceived as weak, helpless, needy. “Without me he will be lost, I live for him.”
Love through the possession of others. A person strives for complete power over his partner. In this case, the partner is damaged, there is violence against him and the destruction of his personality. Power is implanted through aggression and intimidation. “He is nobody without me, I can do anything with him.”
Love through reflection in the love of another. The person fully assigns responsibility to the partner for his own well-being and well-being.The partner must satisfy desires completely and exactly the way he wants. I must guess all desires, admire, adore, completely forget about myself. “If he loves me, he must do everything for me.”
Co-dependent relationships always meet the following criteria:
- Withdrawal syndrome – deterioration of the emotional, and sometimes physical condition with distance from the partner.
- Damage in relations with the object of addiction – dissatisfaction, moral, physical suffering.
- Narrowing of attention to the object of addiction – the partner crowds out other significant aspects of life.
- Tolerance – a decrease in sensitivity to the negative consequences of a relationship with a partner.
- Lack of freedom in behavior in relations with the object of dependence – the inability to regulate one’s behavior by an effort of will.
- Denying addiction as a problem that needs help. This is the belief that you can cope on your own, that there is no problem at all, or that it cannot be solved.
How do we get into codependent relationships
Addiction is a personality characteristic that has several components.
You are at risk if:
- you experience constant fear and distrust of the world;
- are in constant search of support on the other;
- have a constant need for intimacy;
- strive for complete merging with your partner, otherwise you will experience a feeling of melancholy, abandonment and uselessness;
- have problems with expressing anger and a tendency to suppress aggression, give in to others, the inability to refuse;
- Chronic feelings of shame and self-dissatisfaction, constantly in need of praise and acceptance.
- often feel guilty, try not to interfere, do everything right, be nice and comfortable.
My Codependent Relationship: What Should I Do?
It is often impossible to get out of this relationship on your own. Exit attempts cause a lot of fear and suffering. Serious personal changes are required in order to get out of the relationship as comfortably as possible and without the risk of returning to them.
In a dependent relationship, there is such a phenomenon as “craving”, which is felt as a strong, irresistible attraction, not justified by any logic.And it is necessary to learn to cope with this with the help of a specialist.
A dependent person cannot live without relationships, loneliness is intolerable for him.
If you realize that the relationship is codependent, you need to seek help. The termination of the relationship, unfortunately, does not get rid of their own inclination to addicted relationships. Therefore, from one such relationship it is easy to get into others the same.
Codependency in Relationships: How to Get Rid of a Duplicate Scenario
A dependent person knows how to build relationships only according to the dependent model.Therefore, any of his significant relationships will sooner or later turn into dependent ones. To prevent this from happening, a long-term study of the personality is necessary, as well as maintaining a long (from six months) interval when moving from one relationship to another.
A dependent person cannot live without relationships, loneliness is intolerable for him.
It is also necessary to learn to enter the relationship slowly, very gradually, studying your partner and checking how you feel around this person.Addicted people tend to “put on rose-colored glasses” and fantasize a lot about another, inventing something good for themselves that is not in him, and closing their eyes to the bad.
In normal relationships, addicted people experience a strong feeling of boredom due to their very low emotional sensitivity. To cope with pain, discomfort and all unpleasant feelings, addicted people lower their sensitivity and become emotionally deaf. Therefore, they can only recognize very strong emotions. They only feel alive when their emotions go wild.
To change this, it is necessary to work on sensitization, this is the main element of personal therapy.
Is it possible to “cure” codependent relationships
Practice shows that this is only possible when both partners undergo personal therapy, as well as joint family therapy. There is such a chance, but both partners rarely agree to this. Plus, codependency treatment takes a lot of time.
Working with a codependent couple can last from six months to several years.
Any work with addiction has components such as resistance and denial, which is also the case, for example, among alcoholics or drug addicts. The dependent psyche builds thinking in such a way as to preserve relations with the object of dependence at any cost. And then any changes cause fear and a feeling of threat, because the object of dependence becomes the most valuable in life, more important than himself and his own happiness. The stronger the degree of addiction, the less chance of getting out of it.
How to get rid of codependency
Work with a codependent couple can last from six months to several years, depending on the degree of trauma of the partners, their motivation for changes and the availability of additional individual therapy for each.The speed of advancement is individual for everyone and it is very difficult to predict it. Six months is the minimum period for which it is possible to achieve the beginning of productive changes.
It happens that a couple quits therapy, and after a while one of the partners returns to it, having already completed the relationship. And it happens that a couple works productively from the very beginning.
However, even a one-time meeting with a psychologist can sow “seeds of recovery” in a client.
A sign of progress, first of all, is a decrease in symptoms, which are different in each dependent couple.But it is important that everyone begins to listen to themselves more, so that partners begin to talk about their feelings, needs, and learn to express themselves in a healthier way in relationships.