Codependency is an often misunderstood concept and more common than we may think. The nature of a relationship between two people who are emotionally dependent on one another may encompass a range of unhealthy behaviours, responses, and actions. Indeed codependency is a relationship paradigm whereby both members are dysfunctional in their boundaries, self-esteem, perfectionism and self-worth. Originally used to describe an individual in a partnership with an addicted person, the term ‘codependency’ has now broadened to include any codependent person in any form of a dysfunctional relationship.
Typically in a relationship where one individual suffers from addiction, one person will take care of them, and the addicted will take advantage. Such coping strategies may be learned behaviours that may have originated in childhood as a coping mechanism for dysfunctional family dynamics.
What are the symptoms of codependency?
Individuals in codependent relationships become so invested and reliant on one another that they tend to forget about themselves and fail to function without the other. As codependency affects how we feel about ourselves and the world around us, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint whether we may be in such a relationship. We have put together a few prominent signs that may indicate your involvement in a codependent relationship.
Low self-esteem and Low self-worth
When we base our self-esteem around what we do for others, we give away our power. When the validation and approval of others determine our value, we may lack the internal resources to value ourselves. Focusing on what other people think of us rather than what we feel about ourselves can lead to danger as we begin to lead our lives for others, leading to unhappiness, lack of identity and putting our needs last.
We all find it difficult to say no sometimes, but when your inability to say no interferes with your everyday life, it may be a sign of codependency. By saying no, we may upset others; this is a painful and scary place for a codependent as they draw their self-worth from the approval of others. Expressing their feelings when hurt can feel dangerous and lead them to overcompensate for their partner to their detriment.
Perfectionism and Unmet Expectations
Codependent people often expect a lot from themselves and, as a result, others as well. When they go above and beyond to help others, they expect others to do the same, and when they don’t, they may be left feeling sad, rejected and disappointed. This can lead to frustration and resentment as expectations of others are unmet, possibly leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Difficulty making decisions and lack of self-awareness
When all decisions are based on the needs and wants of others, it follows that codependent people may not know how to express their feelings and needs. Learning what their needs and desires are and articulating them is incredibly hard for the dependent as they fear upsetting others with their truth and would rather be dishonest to maintain control and the status quo.
Break Free with Our Help
Excessive reliance and obsession with another person, whether addicted or not, can lead to dangerous outcomes for all involved. Help is available, and Transitions Bali is here to support you or someone you care about to find the strength to improve their relationship. We offer group and individual therapy according to our client’s needs and various wellness activities designed to encourage them to find inner freedom and prepare them for their journey to recovery. Reach out today!
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