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  • Am I 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. Someone who is codependent has a very hard time setting healthy boundaries.

    An example would be a person who financially supports his brother despite his brother’s poor life choices and issues of addiction. This is a bit of a lose/lose scenario because enabling this bad behavior stalls recovery for the brother and only perpetuates the problem. In addition, the codependent sibling puts themselves in harm’s way mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even physically.

    People who are codependent feel responsible for others’ problems and will take them on, despite the personal toll it may cost them.

    Where Does Codependency Come From?

    Codependency is usually developed in childhood. If you grew up in an environment where your emotional needs were either ignored or punished you most likely developed low self-esteem, believing your needs didn’t matter.

    Many who struggle with codependency had parents who, for some reason, were unable to meet their child’s needs. This dysfunction is usually the result of depression, addiction, narcissism, emotional immaturity, lack of self-awareness, or other issues. In this situation, the child is forced to take on responsibilities beyond their years.

    When we’re young, codependent behaviors are a survival mechanism. We need and want love and healthy communication from our parents. But as we become adults, these same behaviors prevent us from experiencing healthy relationships.

    Signs of Codependency

    Codependent traits:

    • Low self-esteem.
    • A one-sided relationship where you are the one meeting most of the other person’s needs despite their toxic behavior patterns.
    • Walking on eggshells around the other person and manipulating your own behavior in order to avoid upsetting them.
    • Making excuses for the loved one’s poor behaviors.
    • Martyrdom – taking care of everyone else and resentful when no one cares for you.
    • A need to control.
    • A need to please.
    • A need to project an image of perfection.
    • A judgmental or defensive attitude toward anyone who questions your loved one’s toxic behaviors.
    • 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 and relationship issues, you can have a profound recovery that ultimately leads to peace, fulfillment, and true connections with others.

    If you’d like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me.