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The Meaning of Codependency
Modern and more liberal meanings for codependency tend to tie it to anyone with a dysfunctional relationship in which a person is more concerned about other people’s needs than their own. The way that a person deals with other people in relationships and the way they deal with themselves are the prime indicators of codependency.
Depending on what person you talk to, codependency may be described as an illness, a phenomenon, an addiction, a psychosocial condition, a disease, a personality trait, or a personality disorder.
It is such a reoccurring situation with so many people that many learned professionals theorize that every addiction begins with codependency. It is often considered that codependency IS the most common addiction of all because the codependent cannot accept their powerlessness over events and/or people.
Traits of the Codependent
While there are a great many definitions applied to codependency, the consensus is that it is a treatable, although progressive, disorder. Determining whether a person is codependent or not isn’t a simple test, but more of long term study. Here are some of the traits often seen in codependents:
- Confusion between love and pity; they love those they think they can rescue or pity
- Constantly attempting to do more than their share
- Exaggerating their responsibility for what other people do
- Difficulty with intimate relationships and moral boundaries
- Lack of trust; both in themselves and other people
- Fragile feelings that are hurt whenever their efforts aren’t recognized
- Dependence on at least one relationship, which they will do almost anything conceivable to keep
- Unhealthy need for recognition or approval
- Needing to control others
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Feeling guilty for asserting themselves
- Problems with communication
- Consistent anger and/or difficulty expressing it
- Inability to adjust to change
- Fearful of being alone or abandoned
- Problems with understanding basic feelings
- Low self-esteem
- Obsession for someone else
- The need to be a caretaker
- Chronic lying and deception
- Dependency on someone else for their own needs
- Repression of personal needs
- Compulsive talking
- Dependency on over-possessive relationships
A codependent is one who attempts to control others by coerciveness, threats, manipulation, acting helpless, making them feel guilty, or by giving advice. Some other codependency disorders center on prestige, power, possessions, status, or control.
A typical trait is that no matter how hard they work, the codependent is never happy whether their goals are met or not. There is always a need to do something else or do more. An emptiness remains and an anxious feeling, no matter if great things are accomplished or not.
Almost anyone reading the above list might see some of these characteristics such as anxiety or procrastination in their own life, and this is perfectly normal. Some of these traits in and of themselves are a normal part of human existence.
Our hope is to serve you by providing insight on the condition.