The symptoms of codependency are broad and varied. The following list is a summary of some of the major characteristics that you would have if you’re codependent.
1Your Home Environment
Most likely, you come from a home where it was:
- highly dysfunctional.
- not safe to share emotions, or…
- mostly out-of-control emotions.
- more important to look like everything was okay.
- abusive—including sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
- addictive—including alcohol, drugs, gambling, working, etc…
2Feelings About Yourself
Because of your home environment, you probably:
- tell yourself a lot of “shoulds” and feel a lot of guilt. This makes you feel…
- anxious most of the time.
- You feel guilty when other people have problems because…
- blame yourself for everything—even things you know you have no control over.
- You are ashamed of who you are. (To stop feeling that way, you get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others.)
- You are confused and don’t know what you want and need. (If you do know what you want, you tell yourself that you don’t really need it.)
- You are easily embarrassed when attention is put on you, so you reject compliments or praise—but then get depressed from a lack of compliments and praise.
- You usually take things personally.
- When things get really bad, you just ignore the problems or pretend they aren’t happening and pretend circumstances aren’t as bad as they are.
3How You Relate To Others
Because you feel all those things about yourself, you:
- anticipate other people’s needs, but wonder why others don’t do the same for you.
- try to please others almost all of the time instead of yourself.
- try to say what you think will please people.
- Don’t know how to say ‘NO’.
- feel responsible for everyone else—for their feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well being.
- feel compelled—almost forced—to help that person solve the problem. You do that by offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or trying to change or fix their feelings.
- try to prove you’re good enough for other people.
- find yourself attracted to needy people, and needy people are attracted to you.
- stay in relationships that don’t work. You tolerate abuse to keep people loving you. If you do leave a bad relationship, you form new ones that don’t work either.
- ask for what you want and need indirectly—for example, sighing or hinting at something.
- become a martyr and sacrifice your happiness.
- find it difficult to feel close to people.