Codependency is an issue that’s most commonly associated with the loved ones of alcoholics, but now it’s becoming known that certain people are just codependents—whether they’re tied to an addict or not. And codependency is a problem that can affect you in all your relationships—not just romantic—as well as in life in general. Are you a codependent person? Here are 10 signs that you may be struggling with codependency.
Codependents go above and beyond to put the happiness of others over all else. And while people pleasing and living selflessly is obviously a good thing, codependents take it to an extreme. They’ll accept requests, with a smile, while internally feeling overwhelmed or even resentful—though, they’ll never admit it.
Codependent people take pride in their willingness to put their own feelings and needs aside for those of others. They hope it will gain them praise and recognition—and that it will all balance out in the end.
Inability to Say No
Codependents find saying “no” to someone extremely difficult. They allow their “niceness” to be taken advantage of yet rarely realize it. Codependents are givers and find self-esteem and self-worth through their constant giving.
For codependent people, their self-esteem and feelings of worth come from other people. Until they are told otherwise by someone else, codependents will doubt their thoughts, words, actions and deeds. They need praise from other in order to feel good about themselves.
Fear of Rejection
Sure, nobody likes rejection, but codependents fear it so much that they will avoid any situation that could lead to rejection at all costs.
In order to compensate the lack of control in their lives—due to their emotions being determined by others—codependents work overtime trying to control what they can—even the actions of others.
Codependents strive to make others happy and because of this, they often take credit for the emotions of others. Unfortunately, this is also the case when someone is feeling sad or angry. Codependents see others’ negative emotions as their fault. They are not able to realize that they are only in control of their own thoughts and actions—not how others react to them.
Though codependents take credit for the emotions of others, they don’t take credit for their own. So, when approached with a negative comment or criticism from someone, they perceive it as a personal attack and jump to the conclusion that this person hates them.
Codependents tend not to ask questions or for clarification of requests, fearing that they’ll disappoint someone if they have to say no or disagree. Rather, they feel it’s better to ask for forgiveness later than for permission now.
Relationships Come Before Self
Codependents have no concept of self-care or taking care of their own needs over those of others. They waste precious time and energy in dysfunctional relationships because it must be saved at all costs. They feel selfish if they focus on their own needs and wants and put themselves on the back-burner for the good of failing, dysfunctional, unhealthy and even abusive relationships.
Do any of these sound like you? The first step is recognizing these tendencies. Try to break these habits—if you need help, seek counseling and let a trained professional help you take your life back.