What is Co-dependency? Are you Codependent?
Codependency is a term that describes an unhealthy or unbalanced relationship where one person’s needs are met while the others aren’t. Codependent people are said to “enable” the bad behavior of a loved one by supporting them, no matter if it negatively affects their own well-being.
As an example, a parent may have a hard time setting healthy boundaries by telling their grown addict son or daughter that they need to get help and can no longer live at home. The parent continues to support the addict even though they see how much pain they’re in and how their addiction is impacting other family members. This parent is codependent because they’re not prioritizing their own well-being, or that of their other children, in order to maintain an unhealthy relationship with their addicted child.
Where does Codependency come from?
Many codependents had parents who, for some reason, were unable to fulfill their role as caretakers. This dysfunction is usually the result of addiction, depression, narcissism, or other mental health issues. As a result, codependents often develop low self-esteem and believe that their needs don’t matter. They may also struggle with setting boundaries and tend to put the needs of others before their own. While codependency can be painful and difficult to overcome, it is possible to heal the wounds of your past and learn how to love yourself. With patience and self-compassion, you can start to build a life that is rooted in healthy relationships and fulfilling experiences.
What are the signs of Codependency?
Codependent people will typically have one or more telltale codependency signs:
- The belief you must “save” or “rescue” others
- Low self-esteem
- A one-sided relationship where one person is responsible and the other is allowed to be chronically irresponsible.
- Going without so that others can have what they need or want.
- Walking on eggshells around others and keeping opinions to yourself so as not to upset the other person.
- Martyrdom – taking care of everyone else and being resentful when no one cares for you.
- A need to control
- A need to please
- An inability to set boundaries
- Staying in relationships that are harmful or abusive
- A feeling of guilt when taking care of yourself
If you can relate to one or more of these signs, there is a good chance you may be suffering from codependency.
The good news is, by committing to your own personal development and well-being, and working with a therapist who specializes in codependency, you can have a profound recovery that ultimately leads to peace, fulfillment, and true connections with others.