Codependency is a common trait among people who suffer from addiction or alcoholism. This is because addiction is a major trigger for codependent relationships among family members or significant others. Those closest to an addict feel they need to support them and protect them, which often leads to overprotection and enabling. When a person gets sober, there are still wounds that need to heal. Some of the traits of addiction carry on into recovery, which is why it is important to recognize the symptoms of codependency so that you can address it. Becoming truly independent will make you happier and healthier. These are some signs that you are a codependent person:
People pleasing is one of the most obvious signs of a codependent person. Codependents find it very difficult to say “no.” They want everyone to like them, so they often find themselves doing things they don’t want to do. In a family relationship, a parent may continue to give their addicted adult children money out of fear of their child leaving them or loving them less. Parents may also be afraid that their children will commit a crime to get their drugs so prefer to pay for their addiction themselves. This leads to very unhealthy codependency between both the drug user and the parent.
In relationships, one or both people may find it difficult to say “no” to each other and create boundaries. In a healthy relationship, both parties feel strongly about the relationship. If you are codependent, you may feel you constantly need to please your significant other or else they might leave you.
Boundaries are an imaginary line that divides what’s yours and someone else’s. It can be physical material or personal space but it also refers to emotional boundaries. Codependents often have very poor boundaries, meaning they find it difficult to determine who they are responsible for or how to be emotionally open. Codependents may find themselves feeling responsible for other people’s emotions and well-being. They also may find it hard to become close with a significant other because they either do not share their emotions or they blame their emotions on their partner. Codependents often blame other people for their feelings and feel responsible for other people’s feelings as well. Codependents may also tell people what to do, which is another form of breaking boundaries.
Codependent people are overly protective and want to take complete care of their loved ones. They may put others ahead of themselves. Parents may constantly try to keep in contact with their kids, give them a place to live or give them money. In a codependent relationship, it can look very similar. Codependents often enable addiction without realizing it. Out of a desire to keep their loved ones safe, a codependent in fact keeps the addiction alive. A wife or husband may turn a blind eye to addicted significant others or help them hide their addiction from friends or family.
Codependent individuals often need to be in control. If they feel they don’t have control then they suffer from extreme anxiety. This results in attempting to control family and friends or people at work. They may lie and manipulate to make sure a situation goes their way. Codependents will often hold things over people’s heads, like favors. Codependent will use their caretaking as a manipulation tactic to threaten the person they are taking care of. In the workplace, codependents can be extremely bossy and have poor boundaries. They may boss around people they aren’t in charge of, like coworkers/teammates.
Codependents are dependent on other people in many ways. They are often financially dependent but mostly they are mentally and emotionally dependent. Codependents need other people to like them and are afraid of judgment. They might have fears of rejection or abandonment. Codependents may constantly need to be in a relationship because they feel depressed or out of fear of loneliness. For this same reason, codependents find it difficult to end relationships even when they are unhealthy or abusive. Codependents often feel trapped in relationships, and due to poor boundaries, also find it difficult to confront loved ones about what is bothering them.
Codependency can be worked on with therapists. Family or couple’s therapy can help manage dependent traits and activities and help people recognize unhealthy or irrational thought patterns. If you find yourself relating to these traits, it is possible that you are codependent. Codependency can be treated. Addressing codependency will lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.