Do You Have a Co-dependent Personality?
Co-dependency is known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.
Co-dependent people have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine – and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like gambling, workaholism, , or indiscriminate sexual activity.
What Causes Codependency?
Like all psychological traits, a codependent personality disorder can be traced back to childhood experiences. That is when one’s sense of self, independence, and self-worth form, as supported and shaped by family and other significant relationships. Family culture systems have the power to shape people and relationships.
Codependency can also come later in life, like if one person in a relationship often takes charge and the other allows them to make many decisions for them.
Signs of codependency
- feel excessively responsible for others
- feel a need to control others
- consistently do more than is expected of them but then feel hurt if people do not notice
- mistake pity for love, leading them into relationships with people they can “save”
- have a strong fear of abandonment, causing them to stay in unhealthy or unhappy relationships
- feel guilty about asserting their own wants or needs
- lack trust in their abilites
- have difficulty making decisions
- have difficulty identifying their feelings whether they are happy or sad
What should you do if you’re in a codependent relationship?
The first step in changing codependent behavior is to recognize it. It’s important for individuals struggling with codependency and family members to educate themselves about the cycle of addiction, extreme sacrifices, and the concept of codependency.
Focus on yourself
Some co-dependent people feel guilty when they want to take some “me time.” Maybe you think you’re being selfish for visiting your friends or taking a rest day instead of attending to your partner. If this is the case, it can help to rethink your understanding of “selfishness.” In moderation, it can actually be healthy.
Understanding how a co-dependent relationship affects you and others
Compare a healthy, dependent relationship to a codependent one. Note the positive effects of a healthy relationship compared to the harmful effects of a codependent one. This can help you realize what you value and want to change about your relationships.
Talk therapies in individual, group, and couple contexts can help codependent individuals understand codependent behavior and work toward a healthy relationship. If challenges such as alcohol or substance abuse, addiction, or emotional abuse are present in the codependent relationship, this should also be addressed in therapy with Dr. Carla. Contact her now and benefit from a free consultation.