People with codependency often share the following traits:
- Problems with intimacy and boundaries
- Feel hurt when their efforts are not acknowledged
- Feel guilty when speaking up for themselves, their need or wants
- Feel responsible for the actions of others
- Difficulty communicating
- Hard time identifying feelings
- Tend to confuse love and pity, ie. fall in love with people they can pity and rescue
- Rigid and have trouble adapting to change
- Problems making decisions
- Take on more than their share most of the time (guilt, responsibility, helping)
- Need to control other people (often in the name of helping them)
- Will do anything to keep a relationship going to avoid abandonment
- Problems trusting themselves and/or others
- Lying/dishonesty – often to keep the peace or avoid conflict
- An extreme need for approval and recognition
- Problems with anger
- Fear of being abandoned or alone
(Adapted from Codependency, Mental Health America)
People are at risk for codependency if they grow up in ‘dysfunctional’ families.
Dysfunctional families include those with the following: addictions such as drugs or alcohol, food, gambling, sex, and others; rigid rules, such as extreme religious beliefs; child abuse or domestic violence; chronic health or mental health conditions.
People with codependency often learn to be caretakers in their families of origin. They often derive their self worth from rescuing people.
Fear of abandonment is one of the central issues for people with codependency.
While they often appear independent and in control, this usually masks underlying feelings of insecurity, dependency and being ‘out of control’.