Codependency is not a psychiatric diagnosis. Instead, it’s a term that refers to a set of dysfunctional, learned behaviors that occur within a relationship (parental, romantic, friendship, etc.). Read on to discover what traits are common in codependency and how to overcome it.
Originally, codependency was defined by one partner’s enabling behaviors within a relationship involving substance abuse. The term later broadened to include dysfunctional displays of behaviors in relationships where one partner consistently sacrifices his or her own needs and desires in order to fulfill those of the other. The learned behaviors that define codependency are often rooted in a childhood where emotions were ignored or punished.
Below is a list of additional signs of codependency.
- Feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem
- Chronic people-pleasing
- Lack of boundaries
- Desire to be a caretaker or “rescuer”
- Anxiety and fear about possible rejection or abandonment
- Denial of one’s own needs and self-care
- Excessive need for control
- Preoccupation with partner
- Difficulty identifying emotions
- Constant need for validation and approval
Also, PositivePsychology.com offers a questionnaire to further evaluate the tendency to display symptoms of codependency.
If you’ve determined that you are likely codependent, there are a number of ways you can begin to heal.
- Learn to identify cognitive distortions and reframe negative thinking.
- Shift patterns of codependence with this actionable worksheet.
- Join a support group such as Co-Dependents Anonymous.
- Define your values and commit to living by them.
- Read relevant daily meditations like these from The Language of Letting Go.
Remember, because codependency is a learned behavior, it can also be un-learned.
Consider treatment to overcome codependency with the professionals at Travco Behavioral Health. Contact us today!