Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics.
Family secrets. Guilt. Shame. Repressed anger. Low self-esteem. Compromising your own values to avoid another person’s rejection or anger. These are just a few red flags of co-dependence.
Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:
An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
An extreme need for approval and recognition
A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
A compelling need to control others
Lack of trust in self and/or others
Fear of being abandoned or alone
Difficulty identifying feelings
Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
Problems with intimacy/boundaries