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How to Tell If You Are in a Codependent Relationship

Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.

People who are in co-dependent relationships often feel isolated from their friends and family.

People who are in co-dependent relationships often feel isolated from their friends and family.

What Is a Codependent Relationship?

Have you ever wondered if you depend on your partner too much? Or have you worried that your partner is too needy sometimes? Are these the signs of a codependent relationship? Read on to find out.

The need to please other people all the time can be exhausting. It can strain intimate relationships and hinder personal growth and development. Being in a codependent relationship is not a relationship based on mutual respect and equality. A codependent marriage isn't based on a foundation of "true love." It's based in fear, self-doubt, and insecurity.

Few things can make us feel crazier than expecting something from someone who has nothing to give.

Melody Beattie

— Melody Beattie, author of 'Co-Dependent No More'

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Being in a co-dependent relationship can lead to low self-esteem.

Being in a co-dependent relationship can lead to low self-esteem.

Are You in a Codependent Relationship?

In their book Conscious Loving, The Journey to Co-Commitment, authors Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. and Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D. explain that “The drive for approval, and to avoid disapproval, dominates the relationships of codependents.”

Here Are Seven Signs That Someone May Be In a Codependent Relationship

  1. Codependent people feel a strong need to help others overcome their bad habits and/or improve their lives. No matter how hard the codependent person tries, the people around them just won’t change their bad habits!
  2. Codependent people try to fix things that aren’t really their fault. They take responsibility for things that aren’t their problem. Codependent personality types often want to take care of other people’s feelings. They have a strong desire to make other people feel better if they’re in a bad mood because somehow they think that they’re the cause of the other person’s bad mood.
  3. Codependent people are often afraid that their deepest doubts, fears, and secrets will be revealed.
  4. Codependents tend to suppress what they are really feeling. They have a hard time acknowledging and expressing their emotions. For example, if they are angry about something, they tend to avoid talking about it because they are afraid of creating conflict in their relationships.
  5. People who are codependent often feel self-conscious. They tend to judge themselves harshly without any reasonable proof for their self-judgment. In fact, they often don’t believe the praise and compliments that other people give them.
  6. When a disagreement occurs, a codependent person will often try to end the argument by apologizing quickly, taking responsibility for something that wasn’t their fault, or promising to be the one who makes the change in the relationship.
  7. People who are in a codependent relationship tend to end up agreeing to things that they don’t really want to do. They often have trouble asserting themselves.
  8. What I found most interesting about these points about codependent relationships is that they can also show up in short-term relationships and encounters as codependent behaviors. For example, regarding point # 7 about people in codependent relationships always agreeing with the other person, have you ever found yourself agreeing with people whose opinions and actions don't even really matter in your life? For example, do you agree with your casual acquaintances or co-workers all the time rather than clearly expressing what you believe about an issue? See if you can notice any codependent type behaviors in interactions you have with others on a casual day-to-day basis.

Do you know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship?

People in Healthy Relationships:People in Unhealthy Relationships:

Feel secure, loved and worthy

Feel insecure, neglected and worthless

Have confidence in their decision-making abilities

Rely on their spouses or partners to provide advice

Are able to communciate their needs clearly

Have a hard time expressing themselves

Are not afraid to disagree with their partners

Often try to avoid confict with their spouse at all costs

Can celebrate each others successes

Fear that their partner will abandon them if something better comes along

© 2013 Sadie Holloway

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