As mentioned in an earlier post, “I Don’t Have A Dream“, codependent tendencies can have a huge impact on how we live our lives. It can negatively impact how we feel about ourselves, limit our self-worth, and cause us to live small instead of pursuing our dreams and living each day to its full and joyful potential. It causes us to hide ourselves from the people that care about us, and can keep us from showing up in the world. So, how can we get over this? Can we? I belive there is hope! Let’s begin by first taking a look at what codependency is.
Codependency can be defined as simply as “the need to be needed” by those we are in relationships with. Codependency can be observed in romantic, familial, and friendly relationships. The result of fulfilling our need to be needed is the linkage of our identity and worth to the perceptions of other people. Clearly, this is a pattern that can spell trouble for those of us seeking happy and secure relationships. But it can also keep us from being true with ourselves and limit what we are willing to pursue.
In my experience, it has been often difficult to recognize the unhealthy relational tendecnies linked to codependency. In her video, Are You Codependent? Here are 11 Key Symptoms to Look For and How To Recover, therapist Julia Kristina shares some of signs to help us recognize codependency in action:
1) You feel responsible for solving other people’s problems.
If you cannot “fix” their problems, you fear they may leave you. This fear stems from the belief that your ability to fix their problems is the only valuable thing you bring to the relationship.
2) You find it very difficult, if not impossible to say “no”.
You may feel that the survival of the relationship is entirely up to you. Therefore, if you say “no”, you may feel that it is your “fault” that the relationship is in trouble, or that it ends.
3) You are often upset, bitter, or resentful…
…when you feel that others are not praising and recognizing all that you do for them. You may feel taken advantage of because you are giving so much of yourself for little or no recognition.
4) You need to feel like you are in control all the time.
You avoid conflict by giving in to the wants or needs of others even when it is uncomfortable for you. You put your own needs aside because you feel they are less valuable than the needs of others. It is possible that you avoid conflict for fear that the other person will leave you if you are not fulfilling all of their needs.
5) You have difficulty trusting yourself.
You worry that if you make a mistake, people are going to abandon you. You feel the need to keep everything together for yourself and those you care about. You feel like it is all on you to get it right all the time.
6) You feel the need to save or fix others.
You feel that your only value in a relationship comes from your ability to save or fix the other person. You may feel as though it is your responsibility to clean up their messes for them.
7) You may be willing to do unsafe or destructive things…
…to hold onto the relationship. This may stem from the belief that you cannot survive alone.
8) You struggle to assert yourself.
You struggle to assert your own wants, needs, preferences, and boundaries in a relationship. You may feel guilty or selfish for setting boundaries, and fear that if you assert yourself, the other person may become angry or leave you.
9) You may struggle to identify your own feelings.
This can complicate knowing what our own wants and needs are, making it even more difficult to assert them. You are used to immersing yourself into fulfilling the needs of others and may have lost knowledge of your own needs in the process. We may lose a sense of understanding about who we are as an individual because our identity has been tied up in fulfilling the needs of others.
10) You are drawn to people who are likely to need you.
These individuals may be facing a crisis, sickness, a financial issue, or addiction, or are just very needy.
Outlining some key symptoms is certainly a helpful first step to tackling this issue. As with any important pursuit, it will take time and effort to address areas of struggle. But it will be so worth it! And remember – No matter how lonely you may feel in this, you are never alone. I’m in this boat with you, and I can guarantee many others are too! Keep on keeping on, my dear. You are one step closer to getting it together!
Photo credit: unsplash-logoPablo Heimplatz