So lately i have been reading on this topic CODEPENDENCY and i find it very interesting. I started reading up on it because i was searching for the right answer to give to a friend who i think is in a codependent relationship. She wants to leave the relationship but scared of hurting the man’s feeling even at the cost of her happiness and sanity……deep sigh!
What is codependency?
Codependency is not when you are completely dependent on another person.
According to Wikipedia: Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement. Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity.Codependent people are those who feel the constant need to please others, make sacrifices for others, and fix problems for other people .Codependent people are not dependent on other people; they are dependent on the approval of other people.
Now do not get me wrong,you can help others and make sacrifices for others,you can help out with their problems,but when it becomes a situation where you are constantly unhappy and miserable,out of your own touch and feelings but will still go ahead in pleasing others instead of attending to your own needs, hurt,and confusion, then you are codependent (extreme) .Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings, but only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree. One of the distinctions is that healthy empathy and caregiving is motivated by conscious choice; whereas for codependents, their actions are compulsive, and they usually aren’t able to weigh in the consequences of them or their own needs that they’re sacrificing.
The following is a list of more symptoms of codependents . You needn’t have them all to qualify as codependent.
1) Low self-esteem: Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others are signs of low self-esteem. The tricky thing about self-esteem is that some people think highly of themselves, but it’s only a disguise, they actually feel unlovable or inadequate. Underneath, usually hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame.
2) People-pleasing: It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying No causes them anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying No to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.
3) Poor boundaries: Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That’s especially where codependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else.Some codependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones.
4)Reactivity: A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words, because there’s no boundary. With a boundary, you’d realize it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you and not feel threatened by disagreements.
5) Caretaking: Another effect of poor boundaries is that if someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. In fact, they need to help and might feel rejected if another person doesn’t want help. Moreover, they keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.
6) Obsessions:Codependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears. They can also become obsessed when they think they’ve made or might make a mistake.Sometimes you can lapse into fantasy about how you’d like things to be or about someone you love as a way to avoid the pain of the present.
7) Dependency: Codependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own. Others need always to be in a relationship, because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped.
8)Denial: One of the problems people face in getting help for codependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually they think the problem is someone else or the situation. They either keep complaining or trying to fix the other person, or go from one relationship or job to another and never own up the fact that they have a problem.Codependents also deny their feelings and needs. Often, they don’t know what they’re feeling and are instead focused on what others are feeling. The same thing goes for their needs. They pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. .
9)Painful emotions: Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.
-Do not stay in a codependent relationship that makes you unhappy. Any relationship at all. Do not stay in a relationship because you feel guilty about leaving or feel like you have to stay to make the other person happy. These types of relationships are often destructive in the long run. Instead, make yourself a priority. Are you happy where you are at? Are you being encouraged spiritually and mentally? Are you being supported as much as you are supporting the other person?
If you answered no to any of these, take some time to reevaluate, pray, meditate, and make your well-being a priority. I’ve seen too many people fall to pieces later in life because they never prioritized their own well-being early on. You are not selfish for doing this. You’re not.You are not selfish for getting out of an unhealthy relationship,you are not selfish for saying NO sometimes!!
Don’t let codependent relationships or unnecessary guilt get into the way of a healthy, happy, free life. Don’t make time for people who shame you for choices you’ve made.
Instead, live life to the fullest and make time for those who love you and support you in all you do. I am blessed to have so many people who do this for me, and in return, I treat them with the same respect.
I will advice you friend,if you think you have an extreme case of codependency to love yourself first,find your own happiness and make yourself and your happiness a priority .
Till next post…I love you.