»The word "codependency" gets thrown around a lot — there are codependent couples, codependent companions, codependent caretakers. But what does codependent actually mean (and is it really all that bad)?
“Originally, the term codependent was developed as a way to describe the responses or behaviors that develop from a person living with an alcoholic,” explains Mary Catherine Segota, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist at Executive Health in Orlando, Fla. Now, it’s often used to describe someone who treats a relationship like it’s more important them themselves — a hopeless romantic who becomes “addicted” to his partner, or a caregiver who constantly puts the needs of her loved one first.
The number of codependent personalities out there is hard to estimate — that’s because codependency is typically researched in the context of drug and alcohol addiction. But the two are not all that different. In fact, one of the key aspects of today’s “codependent personality” also pertains to people who have relationships with addicts: Enabling.
Segota describes “enabling” as a behavior that is used to ease relationship tension that’s caused by one partner’s problematic habits. Enabling is rarely seen in healthy relationships — these behaviors include bailing the partner out, giving him another chance, ignoring the problem, accepting excuses, trying to fix the problem, or constantly coming to the rescue.
“Individuals who are codependent tend to get involved in relationships with individuals who are unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy,” says Segota. “The codependent individual tries to provide and control everything in the relationship without addressing their own needs or desires, which perpetuates the lack of fulfillment in the relationship.”
Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship
Codependent personalities usually follow a pattern of behaviors that are consistent, problematic, and directly interfere with the individual’s emotional health and ability to find fulfillment in a relationship. According to Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, a consultant, educator, and author of numerous books including Understanding Co-Dependency, “Signs of codependency include excessive caretaking, controlling, and preoccupation with people and things ‘outside of ourselves.’”
A codependent individual is hyper-vigilant, like a bear protecting its cub. She may also exhibit compulsive behaviors — which can be sexual or come in the form of excessive work, exercise, eating, spending money, anorexia, or nicotine addiction.
Here are eight signs of codependency:
Having difficulty making decisions in a relationship
Having difficulty identifying your own feelings
Having difficulty communicating in a relationship
Valuing the approval of others more that valuing yourself
Lacking trust in yourself and having poor self-esteem
Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need for approval
Having an unhealthy dependence on relationships, even at your own cost
Having an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
Are Codependent Personalities Really That Bad?
While being completely codependent will have negative effects on an individual’s emotional health and relationship, exhibiting some signs of codependency isn’t always awful.
“A touch of codependency occurs in all of us from time to time,” says Wegscheider-Cruse. “It is when the behaviors become exaggerated, when we lose choice and deny these behaviors, and hide our true feelings that our behavior interferes with our daily living and the quality of our relationships.”
If you seek out or maintain — even feed off of — relationships that are not fulfilling or healthy, you could be codependent. But according to Wegscheider-Cruse, once codependency is identified, it can be successfully nipped in the bud — and the individual can recover.
What does Codependency have to do with spending?
Do You or Someone You Love Struggle with Codependency?
Are you ready to take the necessary steps to move towards a new level of growth?
Breakthrough at Caron offers a residential 5 1/2 - day workshop, held in Wernersville, PA, specifically designed for individuals impacted by painful family or relationship experiences in childhood or adult life.
The Breakthrough Program may be right for you if:
Your childhood experiences have left you feeling handicapped
You have difficulty remembering or understanding your childhood
You feel "stuck" (not growing), or emotionally blocked
You struggle with anger, sadness or fear of abandonment
Compulsive behaviors continue to disrupt your life (food, work, love, sex, etc)
Despite hard work, you still find yourself in dysfunctional relationships
New issues have come to your attention, and you would like to address them more deeply than outpatient alone will allow
You are ready to move on to a new level of personal growth
If you are Codependent you are the type of individual who cares more about everyone else's problems than your own. You need to overcome your need to please everyone. You will give and give of your time and yes your MONEY to help others in their dire need. Codependency used to be referred to caring for someone who is a alcoholic, however, now they are finding individuals are portraying Codependency behavior which they may have learned sometime in their their lifetime. Somewhere along the line you need to put a stop to the giving. When you are giving to the point it is hurting yourself, putting yourself in deep debt to help others there is something wrong with that picture. You need to say to yourself... Enough is Enough and get some help.Codependency can also hurt you emotionally making you feel lonely or insecure. There are two books in our book link we recommend-- Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie -- and Approval Addiction: Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone by Joyce Meyer
Free Yourself From Codependent Relationships
Do your self-esteem and good feelings about yourself depend on receiving appreciation or approval from your partner (or other relationships)?
Do you find yourself saying "Yes” to things when you want to say "NO!" and getting stuck doing things you don't want to?
Do you sacrifice your own interests and hobbies to accommodate your partner(or other relationships)?
Does your fear of rejection determine what you say or do?
Do you put someone else’s needs ahead of yours at all costs?
You don't have to depend on others for your joy and fulfillment anymore!
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself........I highly recommend getting this book. Look into it in our Books section of this web site. We will be forming a separate chat room for Codependency.
Are You a Victim of Codependency?
Are you encased in a world of codependency, where you have to be needed by someone who needs you to be constantly under his thumb? Does your perpetrator know how to push your buttons to get you to do what he wants? Have you ever felt like a victim simply because you do not know how to stand on your own two feet?
If you are answering yes to most of these questions, then you might want to take this codependency quiz.
Have Some Fun!
Have Some Fun!
Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Enjoy life!
We do not have to be so somber and serious. We do not have to be so reflective, so-critical, so bound up within ourselves and the rigid parameters others, and often ourselves, have placed around us.
This is life, not a funeral service. Have some fun with it. Enter into it. Participate. Experiment. Take a risk. Be spontaneous. Do not always be so concerned about doing it right, doing the appreciate thing.
Do not always be so concerned about what others will think or say. What they think and say are their issues not ours. Do not be so afraid of making a mistake. Do not be so fearful and proper. Do not inhibit yourself so much.
God did not intend us to be so inhibited, so restricted, so controlled. These repressive parameters are what other people have imposed on us, what we have allowed to be done to us.
We were created fully human. We were given emotions, desires, hopes, dreams, feelings. There is an alive, excited, fun-loving child in us somewhere! Let it come out! Let it come alive! Let it have some fun – not just for two hours on Saturday evening. Bring it with us, let it help us enjoy this gift of being alive, being fully human, and being who we are!
So many rules. So much shame we’ve lived with. It simply isn’t necessary. We have been brainwashed. It is time now to free ourselves, let ourselves go, and enter fully human into our life.
Don’t worry. We will learn our lessons when necessary. We have learned discipline. We will not go awry. What will happen is that we will begin enjoying life. We will begin enjoying and experiencing our whole self. We can trust ourselves. We have boundaries now. We have our program for a foundation. We can afford to experiment and experience. We are in touch with ourselves and our Higher Power. We are being guided, but a frozen inanimate object cannot be guided. It cannot be moved.
Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Break some rules. We won’t be punished by God. We do not have to allow people to punish us. And we can stop punishing ourselves. As long as we’re here and alive, let’s begin to live.
Today, I will let myself have some fun with life. I will loosen up a bit, knowing I won’t crack and break. God help me let go of my need to be so inhibited, proper, and repressed. Help me inject a big dose of life into myself by letting myself be fully alive and human.
Recommended books if you are Codependent - How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself or if you have a Approval Addiction in that some of us require constant approval from peers, parents, children, friends, superiors, and co-workers, a state of affairs that results in never-ending disappointment in our lives.
The Language of Letting Go
More Language of Letting Go
Journey to the Heart
Codependency No More
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