Definition

Are you codependent? How you you know if you have codependency symptoms? Below are some of the typical signs and symptoms a person that could be codependent displays or behaves

Symptoms of Codependency

Codependents feel an uncontrollable urge to help others when they have a problem. Anxiety, guilt, pain are common emotions that a codependent feels when they realize that someone they know have a problem. They believe and act responsible for the other person’s thoughts, feelings, actions and needs. They often become angry when their help is not appreciated or is ineffective. They try their utmost to anticipate the other persons needs and wants and feel let down when they are ignored.

Codependents often try to hide their own needs and wants and tell people that their own problems are insignificant and try to hide them as much as possible. Their main objective is to please others rather than themselves. At the same time, they also feel sad and frustrated that they give a lot to others but get nothing in return.

A typical codependency symptom would be when they find themselves attracted to needy people or find needy people attracted to them.

Codependency symptoms also include feeling pressurized, unappreciated, victimized and often find other people are angry with them. Usually they have strong feelings of low self worth and this low self worth feeling is boosted when they help others with their problems.

Codependents strongly believe that other people cannot like them or love them for who they are and try hard to prove that they are good enough for other people.

Another codependency symptom is to be obsessive about things. They worry about the smallest and the minutest of details and always feel anxious about everything. They have the habit of spying on people, always checking up on them and trying to catch them doing something wrong.

A classic codependency symptom is to abandon whatever they were doing because somebody or something upset them. They often feel why at the end of the day nothing gets done.

Another classic codependent symptom is to be controlling in nature. Codependents fear the loss of control and always feel that they know best about how things or events should turn out. At the same time, they feel controlled by people and events around them and get frustrated and angry. They are apprehensive about letting events happen as they should.

Another symptom of codependency is denial. Codependents ignore problems or completely pretend that the problem does not exist. They delude themselves into thinking that things are not as bad as it seems and that tomorrow will be a better day. They keep themselves very busy, often are workaholics so that they do not have to deal with problems. They constantly lie to themselves and watch silently and without action as problems get worse.

Lack of trust is another symptom. Codependents do not trust themselves or anybody else for that matter. They often feel abandoned. They don’t trust their feelings or thoughts and even end up losing faith and trust in God.

Codependent relationship symptoms typically revolve around low self worth. They believe that the other person is never there for them when they need them. They actively look for relationships that can get them feeling good. They don’t believe that they can take care of themselves. They often will stay in abusive relationships and tolerate abuse thinking that will get the other person to love them. They center their lives around their relationships and other people and often equate pain with love.

Finally codependents can be very irresponsible or very responsible, have a combination of passive and aggressive reactions to responses to people and events. Do they exact opposite of what they feel. As codependency increases you will find them becoming increasingly withdrawn, violent, emotionally and mentally ill, start have eating disorders, become an alcoholic or addicted to other drugs, start to neglect their families and responsibilities.

In a recent research done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism an interesting observation was made. A typical alcoholic falls into any one of 5 types. More on the types of alcoholics shortly. The most proliferate category of alcoholics were found to be “Young Adults”. This is an alarming trend and cause for serious concern.

Out of a sample size of nearly 1500, Dr. Howard B. Moss conducting the research along with a team of researchers found that nearly 31% of the alcoholics were young adults and about 20% did not have a family history of alcoholism and were highly functional individuals.

The NIAAA researchers categorized the alcoholics that were studied as part of the research into 5 categories.

Young Adult Alcoholics

This group was by far the largest with 31.5 % of the total sample size of alcoholics studied. They also found very low rates of parallel substance abuse and low rates of a family history of alcoholism. Another noted characteristic was that this group very rarely asked for any help to stop or control their drinking habit.

Young Antisocial Alcoholics

The second largest group of the lot with 21%. Most of the alcoholics in this group were in their mid 20′s and most of them started drinking at a very early age. More than 50% of this group however had a family history of alcoholism. A large percentage of this group, around 75% also usually had other addiction problems such as smoking cigarettes, cocaine, marijuana and opium addiction. The good news though with this group was that more than 30% actively seek help to curb or recover from their addictions.

Functional Alcoholics

The next group categorized as functional alcoholics were typically well educated, middle aged, relatively well to do with stable families and jobs. This group was slightly lesser than 20% of the total sample, 19.5% to be exact. Also nearly 50% of this group were found to be smokers and about 25% had major depression symptoms and illness at some point in their lives.

Intermediate Familial Alcoholics

This group at 19% also was pretty close as far as the sample size to the functional alcoholics group. Again mostly middle aged with close to 50% of them having some family history of alcohol abuse. Close to half of this group had clinical depression with a smaller percentage also having bipolar disorder. Most of the is group was found to also smoke and nearly 20% were found to be addicted to cocaine and marijuana.

Chronic Severe Alcoholics

The smallest of the sample size thankfully at 9% Again most of them were found to be middle aged and had spiraled down the alcoholism route relatively early on in their lives. Close to 80% came from families with a history of alcoholism and also had high occurrence of depression, bipolar disorder, addiction to smoking and marijuana and anxiety issues. This group was found to be more open to alcohol treatment and made up the most percentage in numbers as far as people currently undergoing alcohol treatment.

Sometimes categorizing alcoholics can help individuals and people who treat them assess the situation and come up with the required help, counseling and alcohol treatment options.

Do you wonder if you are Codependent? Do you regularly sacrifice your opinions, needs or wants, and then feel resentful? Do you feel guilty saying no and resentful when you don’t? Are you controlled by, or try to control someone else, whom your thoughts and feelings revolve around, as in the Barry Manilow song, “I’m glad when you’re glad, sad when you’re sad?” Are you afraid of speaking up? Resentment, guilt, control, and fear are the hallmarks of codependency, a term once used only to describe the enabler of an alcoholic is now more generally applied to unhealthy dependency.

Melody Beattie in Codependent No More, describes a codependent as: “A person who has let someone else’s behavior affect him or her and is obsessed with controlling other people’s behavior.” John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame that Binds You, says, “Internalized shame is the core of codependency.” Expert and author of numerous books, Earnie Larsen defines it as: “Self-defeating, learned behaviors or character defects that result in diminished capacity to initiate, or participate in, loving relationships.” In Facing Codependence, Pia Melody writes, “Two key areas of a person’s life reflect codependence: the relationship with the self and relationship with others.”

The seeds of codependence are in childhood, when a child has no choice but to accommodate a parent who is controlling, selfish, depressed, addicted, or abusive. Such children don’t get the sense that their wants or needs matter. The family may be one of addiction or neglect, where children take on parental responsibilities and lose touch with themselves in the process. On the other hand, a family may seem perfect. The parents give their children the best of everything, but they expect perfection or adhere to rigid rules and beliefs, leaving no room for individuality and self-expression to flourish.

Codependents usually do all the giving in relationships. Caring and helping others is fine, but if it’s at the expense of oneself, or if you don’t believe you have a choice – that it would be selfish not to or you’d risk losing the relationship – then care taking is not just a behavior, it’s an identity and source of self-worth. Alice has a big heart and a string of failed relationships. When she likes a man, she gives more than she gets. She helps her them with whatever their problem is. The men take her for granted or feel smothered, and eventually leave.

Codependents learn in childhood to attune to the needs and moods of a parent, so much so that they usually don’t know what they want or need. Others’ needs, desires, and definition of reality take precedence over their own. Sometimes, they don’t even know what they think or feel and have difficulty describing themselves. When asked, they shift to talking about family members or their job.

A codependent conversation sounds like this:

Him: “Where would you like to eat?”

Her: “What do you feel like?”

Him: “Whatever you want.”

Her: “Do you feel like Chinese?”

Him: “Do you? Would you like Italian?”

You get the picture. Neither person will assert a position. No one will take responsibility for a choice. Maybe, one doesn’t want to dine out and rather watch a TV show, but doesn’t want to disappoint the other, or is ashamed to admit they can’t afford it. Other times, neither knows what he or she wants. Sometimes, an argument starts. It’s impossible to problem-solve or compromise if you don’t take a position. Issues and feelings are avoided, problems don’t get resolved, and resentment builds.

Codependents frequently become obsessed with another person. Their thoughts, motives, and actions begin to revolve around someone else instead of their own feelings and goals. Cindy was preoccupied with Nick’s health. She oversaw his diet, managed the marketing, and gave him nutrition articles, oblivious to her own health problems.

Codependents may try to control others’ feelings and reactions with gifts or flattery, like “buttering up” to be loved, to get what they want, or to keep the peace. They give with an expectation, and when it’s not fulfilled, they are not only hurt, but also resentful and feel owed. Healthy giving is for the pure joy of it. Because their boundaries weren’t respected as children, codependents don’t set functional limits with themselves and others. They may be overly invested in someone else’s problem or work long hours on the job to the detriment of their family or themselves. They never say no. They may have been taught that it’s selfish or “un-Christian” to assert their will, and don’t notice that someone else doesn’t mind using up their time and resources.

Jane was an accomplished landscape designer, but underbid her projects and spent many uncompensated hours with customers who gabbed away or changed their minds. She was always running behind, and resented that she felt constantly pulled by her customers’ demands. To her, charging more and setting boundaries was unthinkable.

In an organization, a codependent works harder for less and may be the “go to” person who’ll take the unwanted assignments. Another may be a martyr at home, never asking for help and never heeding her own needs for rest and rejuvenation. Both get satisfaction in being needed and relied upon, but eventually at a price. These women believe they won’t be valued if they don’t do extra work. Underneath they fear losing a client, job, or relationship.

Sometimes, one partner appears more needy and dependent, because he or she is possessive, jealous, calls frequently, or constantly seeks reassurance and attention. However, the other partner is also codependent by allowing him or herself to be controlled by these unreasonable demands.

Low-self esteem is characteristic of codependence. Childhood experiences and messages imprint feelings of being unlovable or unworthy. Codependents are hard on themselves. They push and judge themselves, and often are high-achievers and perfectionists. This sets them up to be in an abusive relationship or one where their needs are not met. They’ll tolerate it even despite being attractive, smart, or successful at work, because underneath they believe they don’t deserve better.

The first step in change is awareness. Joining a group or 12-Step Program, such as Al-Anon or Adult Children of Alcoholics, is effective, because it’s important to share, get feedback, and hear others’ struggles and successes. Therapy or an assertiveness class can help you to identify your needs and, feelings, and to try out new behavior. It’s hard to change on your own, because it’s difficult to see outside your own mindset, and you’ll need the support when risking new behaviors that create guilt and anxiety. The risks are worth it. You’re worth it. Take back yourself!

If there is someone with a chemical dependency problem in your family, you will be definitely researching for treatment options on the Internet. In the process, you might come across several terms that you do not know the meaning of. Here are somewhat detailed meanings of some of the terms you will encounter.

Denial and Intervention

Denial happens when the person under the chemical addiction refuses to believe that he or she is addicted to the substance. Quite obviously, such a person will not want to go through any treatment for the problem. In fact, people who are in denial will make the problem more drastic for themselves by shunning treatment because their dependency will only become more and more well-settled in their bodies if they delay the treatment process.

Intervention is the process when an external agency takes stock of the situation and tries to convince a denying patient to get into treatment. In recent times, the scope of intervention has changed. Now, intervention does not mean just motivating the person to enter into treatment, but it also means getting them throughout the program and until final recovery. Intervention also deals with providing a relapse prevention strategy for the person in question.

Family intervention is the most common type of intervention. Other forms of intervention are provided by educational institutions, employers, religious and faith-based institutions, the treatment centers themselves and even the law.

Codependency

Codependency is a negative aspect of addiction treatment. In fact, when there is a codependent party involved, the patient will be kept away from the treatment. It can be defined thus: when an external party helps in a knowing or unknowing manner to keep the patient away from receiving treatment, the external party is called as a codependent.

A friend who knows about the addiction of the patient but keeps it a secret form everyone else is a codependent in the addiction. In a similar fashion, families are codependents if they try to hide the patient’s addiction fearing social ridicule or for some other reason.

Teaching people to come out codependency is a very important aspect of the counseling program in almost every state that has an addiction treatment program of its own.

Detoxification

Basically, detoxification means the purging of all unwanted and un-metabolized substances from the body of a person. In the context of substance abuse treatment, detoxification (most times shortened as detox) is the removal of the addictive substance from the body.

Detoxification has many uses. Of course, the freedom the body gets from the toxins in it is the best benefit. Also, it prevents some health complications from happening. This risk is reduced because the person is completely cleansed from the substance of addiction. Also, detox helps in increasing the pace at which the recovery can take place because when the addictive substance is completely removed from the body of the person, there is a much greater chance that it will forget the urge for using the substance.

Rehabilitation

This is probably one of the most common words you will encounter if you are researching on solutions for substance abuse treatment. But most people are not clear what it means. In the context of the substance abuse treatment in the US, rehabilitation means to remove the dependency on the substance completely from the person’s mind and then try to make the person involved in social activities. This readjustment process is a part of the rehabilitation treatment. Most people think it is the rehabilitation process that’s the most vital to the addiction treatment in the state.

Relapse Prevention

This is another very important part of the treatment. This happens after the person’s inpatient part of treatment is over. During the relapse prevention phase, the patient as well as the family of the patient will be taught how to deal with the situation. The family, especially, will be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of an impending relapse and what they must do if a relapse were indeed to occur. They are also counseled on what they must say to the patient so that they do not feel sidelined anymore.

During this part of the treatment program, the centers will train patients on methods such as Yoga, breathing exercises, relaxing and meditating methods, etc. If the families have used an intervention specialist, they will guide them on what they must do to speed up the recovery process.

Finally, you will find answers to all your queries by making particular searches on the Internet. Or, you could schedule an appointment with a counselor on substance abuse treatment in the state the patient and you live in.

 

Codependence is a term that has been used extensively to describe some of the common character traits found in the partners of addicts. These tendencies can also be found in partners who are involved in relationships with an unhealthy relationship dynamic, such as emotionally abusive relationships.

Codependent simply means that you depend too much on your partner emotionally. For her, this may mean that she relies on you for all her emotional needs, and “can’t live without you.” For him, it may mean he feels too responsible for her, always catering to her demands, and never asserting himself for fear of hurting her.

You see needs exist because an individual has stopped growing at some point in their lives. As a result they are not “whole” individuals and therefore have “needs”. The opposite of being whole implies “lacking” that which makes one feel whole. Lack of course translates into need!

You either take the consequences for his behavior on yourself, or help him or her avoid them altogether. If your partner is hungover, you call in sick to work for him or her. If your partner doesn’t meet his or her obligations, you step in to complete the work.

They have a tendency to be the center of attention. They are also clingy and needy. They are in constant demand of getting love, attention, validation and approval. But they are angry, blaming others for their actions, violent, critical, irritable, and/or emotionally unstable.

Any man with a high level of self-esteem and healthy attitude towards relationships would not tolerate such a relationship.  He’d either take action to stop the pattern, or simply leave.  Men who get stuck in a codependent relationship, on the other hand, end up pursuing an endless pattern of trying to please their partner, and feeling frustrated when their desire for freedom conflicts with their partners need for rigid conformity to her needy patterns of behavior.

These are just some of the signs that are easiest to spot from the man’s point of you view.  If you feel that you may be in a codependent relationship, or you feel as if you’re trapped and there’s no way out, most like.  Being in a codependent relationship makes for a stressful and unhappy lifestyle.

Truth is the pursuit of what is right. It is based on a fundamental understanding of the rule of law and fairness. When a person chooses truth as his or her sole basis of orientation, they are prone to legalism. Legalism kills relationships. No doubt truth is important, but no one is perfect.

While a beautiful and romantic notion, this is a mindset that, when taken to an extreme, is very self destructive. While in most good relationships the partners value each other, there is no law that says you should stop thinking about yourself.

A codependent person would feel trapped or obligated to stay in a relationship no matter what damage was committed to themselves or others by an abusive partner. Abuse means financial, emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

Codependency usually comes about as your response to another person’s chemical dependency. It revolves around your relationships with the people in your life. It involves the effects these people have on you. You, in turn, then try to affect them and their behaviors. As you begin to see them spiraling out of control, you end up trying to control their behavior.

The soul of codependency lays in you, though, not the other person. It is a silent war you begin within yourself. Usually it develops from low self-esteem. The codependent person does not feel worthy. It is a dysfunctional relationship with the self. Because you live a dysfunctional relationship internally it manifests externally to others. You don’t love yourself and you don’t trust yourself either. You tend to be out of balance and out of harmony. You may feel disconnected. You tend to live life in a reactor mode and give your power over to outside sources.

Chemical dependency is recognized as a disease. Codependency may not be recognized in the same means, but it can make you sick and will not help you or your loved one start on the road to recovery. Codependency is a progressive state. As things around you get steadily worse, your reactions to those things become more intense. In the back of your mind you may think you are helping the other person. You may have the best intentions. As you see it, they are destroying themselves. You don’t realize that the characteristics you portray as a response to their behavior not only sabotage your relationship with that person, but sabotage yourself.

Codependents feel obligated to offer unwanted advice to help the other person solve what you see as their problems. You feel responsible for the other person. Somewhere wrapped up in that process you are trying to please others. You want them to see you as necessary in their lives. You want them to see how essential you are to their well being. You will even abandon your own routine to help the other person.

When your help is either brushed off or not effective the way you thought it would be you become angry. You blame others for the spot you are in. You blame others for making you feel the way you do. You feel unappreciated, used and you become a victim. Over time you learn how to endure it. You live with the anxiety, the hurt and the anger.

If these signs sound familiar, there is help. Once you have determined that these feelings and tendencies in no way help you or the other person, you must focus on correcting your inclination towards codependency. First, accept that we all are responsible for our own feelings and actions. Do not be afraid to let the other person live their life, to live with the consequences they create. Love the person and be there for them, but do not try to control or manipulate the final outcome of their behavior. It may be hard at first, but they too have a lesson to learn that you will not always be there to bail them out of their bad choices.

Second, realize that you are worthy of being loved. Don’t center your life on other people thinking that you don’t deserve happiness too. Stop looking to relationships to provide you all your good feelings. Look within you and start loving yourself. Then others around you will see the radiance you exhibit and will gravitate toward you.

Third, begin to focus on your own life. You have probably let it slide to the wayside. Look for your happiness within yourself, not outside towards others. Think about your passions and what makes you happy. Then start to concentrate on the steps you can take to start living a joyful life.

You may be codependent, but know that you are a strong people. You have just mistakenly focused your attention toward the wrong thing. You have the power to change and to start recovery. That will let you be who you are while letting the other person be who they are.

Here is a short video that can help you decide if you are codependent or not. Watch it carefully and see if these factors are present in your relationship.

Codependency is a term that we seem to hear a lot, but what does it really mean? If a person is codependent are they a bad person? Are they crazy? Just what is Codependency?
The dictionary definition is:

co-de•pen•dent or co•de•pen•dent (kō’dĭ-pěn’dənt)
adj.
1. Mutually dependent.
2. Of or relating to a relationship in which one person is psychologically dependent in an unhealthy way on someone who is addicted to a drug or self-destructive behavior, such as chronic gambling.
n. One who is co-dependent or in a co-dependent relationship.
co’de•pen’dence, co’de•pen’den•cy n.

Hmm – I am not sure that definition describes me. Why would I be in an unhealthy relationship? Don’t I deserve better than that? The truth is, many people – both men and women are in unhealthy relationships. They just can’t see it or won’t admit it. I know this – I have been in a relationship like this for almost 30 years. Yet, I only admitted that it is codependent a few years ago.
We see ourselves as caretakers – people who do their best to look after the people they love. We protect them, clean up after them, make excuses for them, take care of them. We do all this to the point of destroying ourselves.

Does this sound familiar:

  • You have to be perfect all the time
  • You do not show emotion
  • You keep the family secrets
  • You make excuses & clean up the messes
  • Others opinions are more important than your own
  • You react from fear of rejection or anger – You do not voice your opinions because you fear the reaction you will get
  • Your quality of life is directly related to your relationships
  • Low self esteem
  • No boundaries or the boundaries are not firm

The list could go on and on. But we don’t want to dwell on the negative. This site is here to help us overcome our destructive behaviors and find the happiness and peace we crave. So let’s begin this journey together as we strive to break free! We will learn and explore just what is codependency.