How To Find Your Dysfunction Through a Personal Inventory

Codependency Worksheets

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Many people who visit this page are wanting to:

Set Boundaries & Be More Assertive 

(So you can stand your ground when people try to take advantage of you, and voice your needs confidently.)

 Learn Self Love & Feeling Worthy 

(So you can stop feeling inconsequential and afraid of being abandoned, and stop relying on other people to make you happy.)

 Overcome the Urge to “Fix” or Rescue Others

(So you can quit stressing over every little perceived danger or problem, calm down, find balance and make sure your own needs are met.)

So, we created a set of codependency worksheets based on advice from mental health professionals, science, and personal experience.

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How Did These Codependency Worksheets Come About?

After my sister, Jennifer, spent almost 5 years in a highly abusive relationship, we finally learned about this phenomenon called codependency.

Jennifer eventually left the relationship and set off on a journey of healing from her maladaptive behavior patterns, things like subjugation (a pattern of anxiety-ridden people-pleasing, focused on judgement or retaliation, and often done as a form of control in order to feel safe) and self-sacrifice (a proactive pattern of “fixing” and rescuing, motivated by seeing someone in distress, typically because one feels insignificant, inadequate or even guilty).

Throughout this journey, Jennifer and our family learned all sorts of things we never knew.

Here are some of Jennifer’s own words about what this time was like:

I began to process pieces of this puzzle that began to open and found so much relative to my life as a codependent.  The biggest question that came to mind was “what messages was I given as a child as a result of my family’s dysfunction?”  A major identifier of codependency for me was the extreme caretaker role I put myself in.  I constantly put the needs of others before my own and forgot to take care of myself…or did I ever learn how to take care of myself?  Either way, the feeling of being needed outweighed the need to love myself.  I could not stand to be alone.  I was constantly in search of acceptance from everyone I encountered.  I did what was pleasing in everyone else’s eyes in order to feel fulfilled, even if it meant sacrificing my morals and values or lack thereof.  I never had boundaries and rarely had to stand up for myself.  It was unacceptable to hurt people’s feelings.

Did my codependency form as a coping mechanism?  Was I given messages of not being needed or important somewhere along the way?  Is that why it was so difficult for me to leave a toxic and abusive relationship?  That may have been the first time I felt needed or fulfilled and latched on strongly.  I became extremely loyal to these toxic people and behaviors and allowed harmful situations to last way too long…all because I had lost MYSELF.

We learned that codependency is essentially flawed mental and emotional programing pattern that almost always results in unbalanced and unfulfilling relationships with others (and with yourself).

We also learned the good news that just as you can learn codependent behaviors, you can also unlearn them!

…and so once Jennifer was firmly planted on solid ground after a variety of healing activities, we started sharing her story and some of the advice we learned along the way.

We started interviewing experts, authors, therapists and counselors all about what it takes to recover from codependency. We started studying it (and still do) from every angle we could find. (Feel free to check out the Codependency No More Podcast here.)

After a while, we consulted with some of these experts to create a framework for codependency recovery which we called Build Better Boundaries: Learn To Be Kind Without Being Codependent. It has over 3 hours of video lessons, along with a workbook we created.

And now we’re providing the workbook by itself for anyone who’s willing to roll up their sleeves and do some hard work.

Here’s what’s in the full Build Better Boundaries Workbook:


Recognizing Our Wrong-Turns

In my family, my sister’s codependent tendencies shined brightest when we nurtured  obvious toxic relationships.  She says it felt so good for people to use her.  And when they got what they needed and shoved her aside, She spent all her time figuring out what was appealing to them so they would pay me attention and include her once again.  She dissociated further from herself.

When she began to resent these relationships, and these people wouldn’t let her help them anymore, she felt like there was nowhere to turn.  She had no clue who she was, only who other people made her out to be.  She felt like she didn’t even have a name.  The further down the road of codependency she traveled the more lonely she became.  Even in a crowded room she felt alone.

The turn-around came when she was forced to identify HERSELF.  She thought she knew exactly who she was and what she liked and all the details of HER life.  Clueless was a great word to describe that time she spent trying to grieve and begin healing and recovery.

A Personal Inventory

CNM Photo - DysfunctionThe question to consider is “What messages were you given as a child as a result of your family’s dysfunction?”  Were you made to grow up too fast because you had an ill or addicted parent?  Did you have to raise your siblings?  Did you have to support a grieving mother because your father wasn’t around?  Were you made to believe you were not worthy of love or affection?  Did anyone ever tell you they were proud of you, just because?  Can you relate any of these questions to your journey of codependency and learn where it’s rooted?  Do you thrive in toxic relationships?

Taking a personal inventory can be a great first step to confronting codependency and identifying toxic people or behaviors in your life.  Placing priority on yourself and your needs is mandatory at any stage of this process.  There is a wide variety of ways to take a personal inventory depending on your situation and goals.  During the intensive beginning to Jennifer’s recovery, she was given daily goal sheets during treatment.  She was to monitor different areas of life, strengths, weaknesses, eat, sleep and exercise habits and her mood.  It became extremely helpful to identify the areas of her life that she was already good at and where she needed improvement.  She found out that she was a people pleaser and extremely impulsive, and that her mood improved or declined when she couldn’t perform an activity that was pleasing to others.  She had to learn what activities were pleasing to HER and how to empower herself by completing them.  Codependents often have the hardest time completing these types of exercises.  They become invaluable when breakthroughs are made.

A good way to start to see into yourself is to make some lists.  What are you good at?  What are areas of your life you lack strength or need improvement?  How do you view yourself?  How do others view you?  The point is to think positive.  If you have a long list of negative things about yourself, list an equal number of positive things YOU like about YOU.  Go through your list and see which improvements you can begin to make immediately.  These will help your self-esteem and empower you.  For example, if you listed that you would like to improve on being impulsive when it comes to fulfilling other people’s needs, take a step back.  Think first and RESPOND rather than REACT.  For codependents this is often the hardest habit to break.  Practice a thoughtful response.  Ask yourself what you want to see as the outcome for this situation?  Will you be hurt in the process of saying no?  What positive thing about yourself can help you through this?  Take a mini inventory during these difficult situations you want to improve.  Keep your list in a journal so you can add to it and expand on it when it comes time to deal with these situations.  Record your progress and the outcome of each situation so you can look back on how far you’ve come.

Keep Moving Forward!

Brian Pisor