I recently read a good article about recognizing symptoms of codependency. I found it very enlightening and wanted to share what I learned with you. Below are ten signs of codependency according to the article.
- Low self-esteem. Low self-esteem stems from always leaning onto others for help to make progress. It is okay to be available to receive, but in the end you need to be the protagonist in your own hero's journey and find the independence to do for yourself if and when you need to.
- People-pleasing. People pleasing is a signal that you have a hard time saying no and sacrifice yourself to make others happy no matter how it may dishonor and disrespect yourself. That doesn't mean you shouldn't love and me kind and compassionate.
- Poor boundaries. Having issues setting boundaries and maintaining them falls in line with people pleasing and not being able to say no when you need to. There's no need to go beyond your personal limits or morals just to make another happy. I've struggled with the coward to courage journey and can tell you that learning to set boundaries can be hard, but it can be done.
- Reactivity. Reacting without awareness or consciousness of your situation is another sign you and your decision base are founded on something you know and the consensus of another or a group.
- Caretaking. Caretaking to the point of self-abuse is no act of love for yourself or another. It's not wrong to care take and love another, but care for yourself and get help if you need it from friends, volunteers or professionals and maintain your own good health.
- Control. Controlling another person or needing to be controlled in order to feel safe and part of something is another example. This is demonstrated in gangs and cults and in dysfunctional romantic relationships.
- Dysfunctional communication. This can display itself in not knowing what you want or think, or you are afraid to say what you think for fear of upsetting another. You always need to acquiesce to the needs and desires of others.
- Obsessions. You spend all your time worrying and thinking about others people and relationships. You use your energy lying to yourself about your relationship rather than facing the possible pain of your reality.
- Dependency. This is the need for others to like you in order to feel okay about yourself. You are terrified of being told no and rejected in any way.
- Problems with intimacy. This refers to emotional intimacy, not physical intimacy. You are afraid of being judged or rejected for the things you really think and feel.
Each thing by itself is enough to deal with, but all of the symptoms rolled up into a greater issue can be a big challenge to work through. For full details you can read the article here, and for a great example of codependent dysfunction at work, plus a good laugh, watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Codependency has been an ongoing personal struggle, but I have made great progress with each of the items that applied in my life. I feel more independent, confident, self-worthy, and full of self-love each day I practice independence rather than co-dependence. There is help out there if you need it. I hope you can develop healthy relationships with balanced dependence and independence because you can!