Codependency is a condition that affects your emotions and behavior. It’s a learned disorder that’s typically passed down through generations and is often a result of alcoholism or drug abuse in families. Adult children of alcoholics are prone to codependency, for instance. This is a condition that’s debilitating in many ways, yet if you have it, you may not even realize it. Instead, you may spend years struggling in relationships or careers that go nowhere. Codependency holds you back, and until you address your disorder, signs of codependency like those listed below will continue to make life difficult. Family therapy is often helpful in healing the scars left by abuse or neglect in childhood.
1. You Have Difficulty Setting Personal Boundaries
If you say yes when you’d rather say no, if you over-share personal information, or if you allow others to take advantage of your kind and giving nature, you’re showing signs of codependency. The codependents among us exist in constant states of chagrin from the things others have done to us or expect from them. They may exhaust themselves trying to please others, while ignoring their own needs. Worst of all, they rarely receive the praise and gratitude they deserve because they’ve chosen to devote themselves to people incapable of reciprocating.
2. You Remain Loyal Even When It’s Not Deserved
Codependents are overwhelmingly loyal, even when it becomes clear that loyalty is not deserved. Because their self-esteem is low and they ignore their own thoughts and feelings, they put others ahead of themselves. And when they are disappointed, instead of walking away, those with codependency issues cling more tightly. They put normal people on pedestals and hold them to standards that no one could reasonably meet. And when a person who struggles with codependency cares about someone, they’ll accept anything the person has to give, even if what they’re giving is abuse, neglect, or complete disregard. If they are hurt, they assume it’s their own fault and do everything in their power not to fail a second time. Extreme loyalty has long been one of the major signs of codependency. Therapy options like trauma therapy can often be beneficial for those who stay our of fear.
3. You’re a People-Pleaser
Wanting everyone to love them is another of the signs of codependency. They feel uncomfortable around people who are good at setting personal boundaries, seeing them as rude or uncaring. In reality, these people are just emotionally healthy and know how and when to say no. One of the biggest signs of codependency is the deep need to make everyone else happy. Someone who struggles has little control over how far they’ll go to be the hero of any situation, and they want the credit, but credit rarely comes because they demand nothing from anyone in return.
4. You Find It Difficult to Express Feelings and Emotions
When someone struggles with codependency, they have trouble expressing complicated emotions. They may not know whether they should feel angry or sad. As a result, they overthink situations that others immediately dismiss. Because their self-esteem is low, they may feel like they don’t deserve happiness or appreciation. They think it’s wrong to become angry, and they find disappointment embarrassing. They hide our feelings because they’re used to having them invalidated by family members, even as small children.
5. You Suffer From Low Self-Esteem
A poor self-image and codependency go hand-in-hand. Parents may have raised a child in addiction and devalued them. They were told to quiet down or to disappear. What they felt and thought was secondary to the needs of the addicted parent. They’ve carried these views into adulthood where they act as wedges to successful relationships, job promotions, and more. These feelings may trigger substance use disorder among those suffering from codependency. It may require years of family therapy for them to value themselves as human beings.
Help for Codependency at Atlantic Recovery Center
Atlantic Recovery Center provides behavioral health care to clients in the South Florida area. If you or a loved one struggles with codependency, substance use disorder, or other behavioral health issues, call us today at 877.432.0867 to learn about your options for treatment.