People pleaser? Enabler? Enabled?
The meaning of the term codependency varies depending on who you speak with though a one-sided relationship where one person relies heavily on another for approval and a sense of identity is arguably codependent.
Codependency has two different roles: The enabled and the enabler. The enabler encourages the enabled’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, or lack of responsibility, by passively allowing or actively encouraging the enabled to give up their own autonomy, and just do whatever the enabler wants them to do. These types of relationships can be very emotionally destructive and toxic.
Codependent behavior is a learned behavior that can even be passed down from one generation to another.
Common characteristics of codependent people:
Low self-esteem – You tend to feel like you’re not good enough or you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. Guilt and perfectionism often correlate with low self-esteem. You try to help other people live their lives rather than your own, and you base how you view yourself on your perceived usefulness to others.
Depression – Feeling sad and dejected. It can affect how you feel, think, and act on a daily basis. You may feel suicidal and uninterested in things you used to love doing. You tend to be pessimistic about the world around you.
Having poor boundaries – You feel responsible for other people’s feelings. You might oscillate between having weak boundaries and having boundaries that are far too strict. You bounce back and forth between these two poles. You allow others to hurt you and keep letting them hurt you. You may complain and try to blame others instead of taking responsibility for your own actions.
A need for control – You like having control to help you feel safe and secure. You want to control those close to you. You tell people what they should and shouldn’t do. You try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, and coercion.
Fear of abandonment – This can stem from childhood, and could be related to a loss of a parent. It can also stem from not getting enough physical and emotional care. If a parent is incapable of empathizing with their child, the child will feel misunderstood, alone, or rejected. These experiences can lead to a fear of being abandoned by others later on in life.
Obsessive personality – You spend all your time thinking about other people or relationships. This stems from having deep insecurity about how you feel about yourself. You may find yourself anxious and focused on other people and their problems. You might find yourself fantasizing how things should be, as opposed to thinking about how they really are.
Problems with intimacy – Being afraid of being judged, rejected, or abandoned in an intimate relationship. You may also find yourself distancing yourself from your partner because you are afraid of being open with someone. Or it can even be the opposite where you have sex when you would rather be nurtured and feel loved.
Trouble communicating – Codependents have trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings. Individuals may also be afraid to own up to their own problems, or not want to upset anyone. You may try to say what you think will please people.
Anxiety – Having intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear. Anxiety can interfere with daily activities and can become difficult to control. When you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. You become defensive and disagreeable.
It is possible to overcome codependency? Drawing on interventions from cognitive behavioral therapies and mindfulness, you will learn to practice self-care consistently and set realistic expectations for yourself in relationships and in your life overall. With a solid set of self-care practices you can begin setting healthy boundaries and learning to be more independent. A central task in the treatment of codependency is dealing with past trauma. For most people this means examining childhood and family dynamics objectively so that you can become comfortable with yourself. Self-compassion and kindness are key during all parts of treatment for codependency.
I am confident you can recovery from codependency by getting the help you deserve.
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