Codependent no more! Signs and symptoms of being in a codependent relationship.

Codependency isn't cute

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What is Codependency?

co·de·pend·en·cy

/ˌkōdəˈpendənsē/NounExcessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one with an illness or addiction

A short version of codependency is when someone places the needs of another above their own, codependency is not healthy love and can occur in any form of relationship-romantic, friendship, co-workers, etc..

Most commonly however is romantic relationships.

Addicts are Codependents too. A Codependent will center their lives around things they cannot control.

Codependency is also marked by the need to control someone else at the expense of oneself. Characterized by denial, low-self esteem, control patterns, and excessive compliance.


The Growth of Codependency

Co-dependence does not happen over-night. Usually the codependent will start to show or feel specific things, most of the time they do not even realize it. It usually starts in childhood, and unless you develop appropriate life coping skills when you are young, you may not have the tools you need to stop being Codependent on your own. Codependents typically come from dysfunctional backgrounds and families. They may have experienced neglect, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and or drug and alcohol problems with themselves or people they've loved.

  1. Repressing and invalidating internal cues (red flags), such as what you observe, feel, or react to. Instead of logically recognizing when your brain says "hey..this is not right" you start stuffing everything inside, and suffering in silence.
  2. You neglect your own needs. I'm talking about telling someone yes, when you mean no. Doing things to keep someone who is clearly unhealthy for you out of fear of being alone.
  3. Your tolerance to emotional pain increases and you go emotionally "numb"
  4. Sometimes compulsive behaviors arise-addictions, shopping, OCD, hoarding, gambling
  5. You develop stress related illnesses
  6. You feel out of control, or may need to control more
  7. Delusion and projection of pain
  8. shame
  9. loss of self-esteem
  10. You keep secrets about how a relationship actually is

Progressive deterioration;

extreme mood swings, chronic unhappiness, and difficulty with intimate relationships.

Answer these questions honestly

If you answer more than 50% of these yes, you will want to begin working on changes to end your cycle of codependency. You can change and things can get better.

  1. Do you put the needs of others above your self care?
  2. Have you ever hit, or been hit by your partner?
  3. Do you feel your relationship would fall apart without your constant efforts?
  4. Do you feel like you give and give to the point of exhaustion and get little to nothing in return?
  5. Do you have control of your emotions most of the time?
  6. Do you find yourself often saying "it's not that bad"
  7. Do you keep silent in order to keep the peace?
  8. Are you unhappy with your friendships?
  9. Do you feel shame when your partner makes mistakes?
  10. Do you feel nervous and uncomfortable when you are alone?
  11. Do you feel very angry and upset when your partner does not follow your plan?
  12. Do you think your partners opinion is more important than your own?
  13. Do you rely on your partner to make most of the decisions in your relationship?
  14. Do you smile when you are angry?
  15. Do you have sex when you don't want to?
  16. Do you withhold sex as a way of punishing your partner?
  17. Do you have difficulty establishing boundaries and keeping them?
  18. Are you afraid to let your partner know what you are really feeling in fear you may lose them?
  19. Do you feel rejected and resentful when your partner spends time with friends?
  20. Do you feel you are "stuck" in your relationship?

The serenity prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Good news

The good news is, if you find you are in fact Codependent, you have many options to start the path of recovery.

  • The first thing to recovery is admitting you're Codependent, and recognizing the behavior that makes you this way, so you can change it. Accept that you are Codependent and need to change for your own health and happiness. And that you deserve healthy loving relationships.
  • Seek professional help. Find a counselor. A lot of times once you start to unravel the complexities of Codependency other issues will crop up. You are going to have to learn behavior modification. A professional can help you learn the coping skills you need that you've never had.
  • Begin addressing the needs of yourself first. This is not a selfish act. How can you possibly give and take care of someone else when you don't even do it for yourself? Learning self care is a MUST.
  • Stop trying to control, save, or fix others. Their problems are not your problems. Chances are you've invested a lot of time trying to manage someones life without the desired outcome you wanted. Now is the time to deal with your own problems.
  • Stop apologizing, enabling, and making excuses for others.
  • Allow those you care for to be responsible for their own lives. Stop telling them what to do, and how to live. Running others lives is not your job.
  • Just let go
  • Start having fun, and do what you need to do to be happy. Maybe that is taking a walk, or a long bath, reading a favorite book, enjoying a nice meal instead of being on call 24/7 for someone who is not taking responsibility for their own life.
  • Understand you do NOT have a choice for others behaviors, so choose what your behavior will be, that you do have control over.
  • Understand that breaking the cycle and behaviors of Codependency takes time, keep a journal to note your progress. Celebrate your progress and practice coping skills.
  • Learn to set healthy boundaries
  • Use the serenity prayer

© 2013 Rebecca

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Comments 4 comments

torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

Bishop55,

I don't personally think that I could be codependent

it seems like it would be a lot of work

thanks for the hub, the detail, and the positive tips

Voted up


Bishop55 profile image

Bishop55 3 years ago from USA Author

Hopefully my blabbering helped you confirm you're not? That was the goal anyhow. I think I need to add to it. I think a lot of people wax and wane w/codependency issues throughout life. I've seen people shut down in extreme situations. Thanks for the feedback. Any suggestions on how to improve this hub? I tried to add an actual quiz but HP was malfuntioning!


Darlene Lancer, LMFT 21 months ago

Lots of information here. All these changes must be broken down into baby steps that take awareness, practice, courage, and regular reinforcement. It's hard enough to change one habit, let alone a habitual way of being over a lifetime. Attending CoDA meetings or Al-Anon can be an enormous help, and they're free. My books are loaded with self-healing exercises, too.

Darlene Lancer, LMFT

Author of "Codependency for Dummies" and "Conquering Shame and Codependency" http://www.whatiscodependency.com


jackie 21 months ago

Great stuff tyty

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