You are demonstrating traits of codependency if you make sacrifices for your personal wants, find that you are trying to exert control over other people and try to escape rejection at all costs. It is not accurate to believe that you can self-diagnose a problem and then self-medicate in order to fix it, as is the case with someone who is an alcoholic or an addict to drugs. If you look for help for an addict or an alcoholic before you look for help for yourself, it’s the same as not looking for help for codependency.

Symptoms of Codependency

The symptoms of codependent tendencies include low self-esteem, people-pleasing, poor boundaries, reactivity, control, dysfunctional communication, obsessions, problems with intimacy, and painful emotions.

Codependency in Relationships

When one or more people in a relationship engage in the dynamic of codependency, the healthy give-and-take that should exist within the connection is compromised. Help is necessary for all parties involved in a codependent relationship if the cycle is going to be broken. Because it is typically a pattern of conduct that is learned, the cycle is carried on from a person’s family of origin to relationships that they have throughout their teenage and adult years.

When it comes to relationships, codependency is almost never a deliberate choice. People pick up patterns of conduct from the first few relationships they observed when they were young, and they frequently continue what they have seen without even being conscious that they are doing it. If either or both of your parents avoided having open and honest conversations about the problems that emerged, it’s possible that you would do the same. Your upbringing may have instilled in you a strong work ethic and a desire for excellence, especially if your parents modeled those characteristics.

Tendency to Operate Codependent

People who have a tendency to operate in a codependent manner in their romantic relationships may frequently create excuses for the problems that their loved ones are experiencing while avoiding the actual problems that exist. Avoiding something that makes one feel uncomfortable, like confrontation, is a common strategy. This pattern of acts generates a system in which there is a lack of accountability, and damaging habits, such as substance misuse, create enormous issues for everyone who is involved.

Due to the codependent partner “cleaning up” after the substance abuser when drugs and alcohol are involved, the substance abuser is enabled to generate more issues because of this dynamic. The deterioration of the substance abuser continues, and the person who is codependent on them starts to lose what little sense of identity they have left. Each person feeds off of the disorder of the other, which in this case is substance dependence and codependence. This reinforces the vicious cycle that already existed. The consequences are devastating for untold numbers of families all around the world.

Even when one participant makes an effort to change, the other will work to recapture the cycle. For example, in an effort for more attention, possibly when the person receiving the care-taking no longer constantly needs help, the codependent individual will use depression, isolation, aggression, or extreme passivity to reel the other person back in.