The tendency to behave in excessively caretaking or overly passive ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and their quality of life is known as codependency. With other behavioral habits such as denial, low self esteem, excessive compliance and/or control patterns, codependency can occur in any type of relationship from families to work, friendships and also romantic.
Behaviors, thoughts and feelings that go beyond normal kinds of self-sacrifice or caretaking are used to describe a person with codependent characteristics. It is important to understand that codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings; only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree.
Co-Dependents Anonymous offers the following patters and characteristics as a tool to aid in self-evaluation:
– Difficulty identifying what you’re feeling
– Minimizing, altering or denying how you truly feel
– Unable to recognize the unavailability of those whom you’re attracted to
– Compromising on your values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger
– Valuing others’ opinions and feelings more than your own
– Acceptance of sex and/or sexual attention when wanting to feel loved
Low Self-Esteem Patterns
– Judging everything you think, say or do as never good enough
– Not asking others to meet your needs or desires
– Perceive myself as unlovable and not worthwhile
– Freely offering others advice and direction without being asked
– Using sex to gain approval and acceptance
– Becoming resentful when others do not accept your help
– Avoidance of emotional, sexual or physical intimacy as a means of maintaining distance
– Use of indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation
– Believing displays of emotion are a sign of weakness
If codependency remains unresolved, it can lead to more serious problems like drug addiction, eating disorders and alcoholism. Those struggling with codependency are more likely to attract further abuse from individuals who are aggressive, more likely to stay in stressful jobs or relationships and are less likely to seek medical attention when they need it.
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.