What is Codependency
At CoDA, we offer no definition or diagnostic criterion for codependence. What we do offer is a list of patterns and characteristics as a tool to aid in self evaluation. CoDA has also developed a set of Tools for Recovery that assist Newcomers looking for more information on codependence.
Patterns and Characteristics
Self-evaluation is an important part of recovery. Here are some examples of behaviors that codependents may exhibit.
- I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
- I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
- I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.
- I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
- I label others with my negative traits.
- I think I can take care of myself without any help from others.
- I mask pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
- I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
- I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom they are attracted.
Low Self Esteem Patterns:
- I have difficulty making decisions.
- I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
- I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
- I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
- I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
- I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
- I seek recognition and praise to overcome feeling less than.
- I have difficulty admitting a mistake.
- I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and may even lie to look good.
- I am unable to identify or ask for what they need and want.
- I perceive myself as superior to others.
- I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
- I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
- I have trouble setting healthy priorities and boundaries.
- I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others' anger.
- I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
- I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
- I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
- I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
- I accept sex when I want love.
- I am hypervigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
- I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
- I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
- I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change
- I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
- I attempt to convince others of what they "should" think and how they "truly" feel.
- I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
- I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
- I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
- I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
- I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.
- I demand that my needs be met by others.
- I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.
- I use blame and shame to exploit others emotionally.
- I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.
- I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
- I use recovery jargon in an attempt to control the behavior of others.
- I pretend to agree with others to get what I want.
- I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward me.
- I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
- I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a way to maintain distance.
- I allow addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
- I use indirect or evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
- I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use the tools of recovery.
- I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
- I pull people toward them, but when others get close, push them away.
- I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power greater than themselves.
- I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
- I withhold expressions of appreciation.
Content re-published with the permission of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Incorporated (www.coda.org).