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8 Signs of Codependency


The signs of codependency aren’t always easy to spot. Codependency is defined as an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. Many professionals also refer to this condition as “relationship addiction”. Due to the one-sided and emotionally destructive nature of codependency, many find it hard to break free from the cycle. 

Codependency is most commonly seen in individuals who have experienced dysfunctional family dynamics. Often times, individuals who experience alcoholic parents, substance abuse, abuse, rejection, abandonment, or any sort of trauma within their foundational family relationships, develop unhealthy, codependent relationships. Codependency is often generational and can demolish an individual’s happiness, career, health, and personal relationships. Much like addiction, a codependent individual often refuses to acknowledge a problem. 

Signs of Codependency

In order to recover from codependency and learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships, you must first recognize the symptoms of codependency. Here are 8 signs that you may be codependent:

Trying to please others in order to gain love and/or approval

If you find yourself going out of the way to please others in hopes of receiving love, approval or acceptance, you may be codependent. You may even feel victimized if others do not give you the love or approval you desire.

Feeling responsible for others’ emotions and actions 

Codependents often feel personally responsible for the emotions and actions of others. These individuals may often feel the need to solve others problems. The codependent lives with the delusion that their help is needed and without their help, the other person cannot make the right decisions. 

Offering advice (even if it’s not asked for) and expecting others to do what is suggested 

If you find yourself offering “much-needed” advice, despite not being asked to hand it over, you may be codependent. Codependents often struggle with boundaries and spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to micromanage the lives of others. When the advice is ignored or rejected, the codependent individual often feels angry, taken advantage of, and unappreciated. 

Taking everything personally 

Lack of boundaries often leads to a codependent personalizing any remark, comment, or action from others. Codependents will create a sense of self-worth based on their experiences with others and whether or not he/she receives the acceptance they desperately seek. Furthermore, constructive criticism will often make a codependent feel attacked or victimized.

Feeling like a victim

One tell-tale sign of codependency is victimization. Codependents often seek to be in control of other people, places, and things. When the codependent feels powerless, he/she often negate their role in creating their reality. If you find yourself feeling as though you are a constant “victim of circumstance”, you are most likely codependent. 

Making excuses for the poor behaviors of others

Codependents often avoid dealing with their true feelings. Therefore, codependent individuals tend to develop techniques to justify and rationalize the poor behaviors of others. Taking on the responsibility for the behaviors of their loved one, codependents will often blame others or themselves for these unsavory behaviors. The codependent’s primary goal is to maintain the feeling of being in control at all times and they will often enable loved ones

Using guilt or shame to manipulate or control the behaviors of others 

Codependents do not thrive in situations in which they feel powerless. In order to get their way, many codependent individuals will unconsciously arouse guilt or shame in order to manipulate others. These tactics are often utilized to force compliance from others.

Extreme fear of rejection and being unlovable 

One of the most prevalent signs of codependency is experiencing extreme fear of rejection and being unlovable. The codependent fears that if they are not successful at everything or if they express how they truly feel then they will be rejected. The codependent often perceives their failures or shortcomings as reasons he/she is unlovable. If you have trouble trusting others or being vulnerable, in fear of being vulnerable or exposed, you may be struggling with codependency. 

Other common signs and characteristics of codependency are:

  • Poor communication
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Fear of abandonment 
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Problems with substance abuse
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying or being dishonest in fear of upsetting others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity
  • A tendency to set unrealistic expectations
  • An extreme need for approval 
  • The compelling need to control others
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships
  • Sacrificing morals, values, and self-respect in order to hold onto a relationship

Treatment for Codependency

If you or your loved one has signs of codependency, this disorder is usually rooted in early childhood development. Treatment for codependency often explores early childhood issues and their relationship to current unhealthy patterns of behavior. Treatment should also include education, group therapy, and individual therapy in which co-dependents rediscover themselves and dismantle self-destructive behaviors. 

Agape Treatment Center understands that codependency often goes hand-in-hand with substance abuse disorder. Therefore, our compassionate staff at Agape Treatment Center focuses on helping patients reconnect with feelings that may have been buried during childhood and reconstructing family dynamics through our intensive family program

Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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