Could You Be Co-dependent? Here are a Few Symptoms to Look For
There are so many instances when people find themselves repeating the same old unhealthy patterns despite having the best intentions. And that's always the case with people who struggle with co-dependency. While it may seem like the usual everyday clinginess, there is a lot more to it. Co-dependence is the need to be needed, especially by our partners. And a co-dependent person will plan their whole life around pleasing the people who are closest to them.
I know you are probably wondering how you can tell if you are co-dependent. Well, if your happiness, mood, and identity depend on another person, you are simply in a co-dependent relationship with your enabler. Co-dependent relationships have a certain degree of unhealthy clinginess where one person lacks self-sufficiency.
That said, we will cover the different symptoms of co-dependency that you should look out for. That will help with awareness, which is the first step to dealing with any underlying issues. So, without any further ado, let's get to it!
Signs of Co-dependence to Look Out For
- You always feel responsible for solving other people's problems
People who struggle with co-dependency always feel like it's their responsibility to take care of other people's problems. This can even get to the point where they feel guilty if they don't. Such a person will also continue trying to help other people even if they do not take the advice. And for such a person, their self-worth is dependent on being needed by others.
- You have a hard time saying no and end up giving too much.
Sometimes it's fair to want to please the people you care about in your life. However, for a co-dependent person, they don't think they have any other choice. Therefore, they always get a lot of anxiety, saying 'NO.' There are even some co-dependents who have a hard time saying 'NO' to anyone. That forces them to sacrifice their own needs to accommodate others.
- You get hurt or upset or resentful when people don't like what you do.
As a co-dependent person, you need other people to like you to feel okay. Such people always have a fear of people not wanting what they have done for them. And when they feel like people aren't recognizing what they are doing because they're doing too much, they get upset. Some co-dependents even need to stay in relationships to feel okay as they get depressed and lonely when they are by themselves for too long.
- You always want to feel in control at all times.
Co-dependents always want to be in control to feel secure and safe. They need people to behave in a certain way still controls the people in their lives. They can use caretaking and pleasing to manipulate and control those closest to them.
Also, they avoid conflict at all costs and say things they might not want to avoid conflict. They feel like their partner will leave if they speak their mind, so they always bury their feelings.
- You have a hard time trusting yourself.
Co-dependents always feel like they are not good enough, and they will continuously compare themselves to other people. Also, such people feel like if they make a mistake, their partner will leave them. And that mostly happens because such people never see their value in their relationships. That's why they think they can only be loved for fixing their partner's problems and cleaning up their messes.
- Willingness to extremely compromise
As we mentioned earlier, people who struggle with co-dependency have low self-esteem. Therefore, they always feel the need to accomplish other people's needs hoping that the other party will love them. Such people are still more than willing to compromise anything to hang on to the relationship. That's even when it's unsafe or compromises their wellbeing.
- Lack of Boundaries
People who struggle with co-dependency issues are willing not to set any boundaries. They feel guilty and scared that if they do, they might upset their partner. Such people will feel guilty for other people's mistakes then blame their faults on other people. In other cases, you may find co-dependents who are withdrawn and have a hard time getting close to other people.
- Struggle with identifying their feelings
Co-dependents will barely identify their feelings. And that is because they used to put everyone's needs before their own. That said, a co-dependent person can scarcely determine what they need or what is best for them. Although some co-dependents may act needy, some will act as if they are self-sufficient. Therefore, they never ask for help from other people since they deny their vulnerability and need for intimacy.
How to Recover from Co-dependency
When it comes to helping people who struggle with co-dependency, their treatment essentially focuses on their early childhood traumas and experiences. That is because these are some of the things that connect them to their current dysfunctional behavioral patterns.
You cannot deal with co-dependency if you first don't tap into the deep-rooted feelings of loss, hurt, and anger. That is because these are things that help to reconstruct the dynamics of relationships with people closest to you.
That said, some of the ways you can recover from co-dependency include;
- Spending time with yourself and getting to discover who you are and what you love. You need to remember that you need to put your feelings before everyone else, and that's what we call self-love.
- Learn how to create healthy boundaries with the people in your life. When you set these healthy boundaries, you will understand that you don't need to react to everyone's thoughts and feelings around you automatically.
- Working through your attachment injuries by reading books and going to therapy.