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CoDependency Page Two
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WHAT IS CODEPENDENCY?

CODEPENDENCY CHARACTERISTICS

Codependency and counter-dependency are serious personality disorders which usually begin in childhood. They generate an approach to life and relationships which is self and other destructive.

Someone once said that you will know if you are codependent if you are dying and someone else life flashes before your eyes. The characteristics of codependency reflect an outer focus to life, an outer or other focus in our search for self-identity. Codependency in a relationship occurs when two people, each seek completeness from the relationship partner. They come together in an attempt to become a whole persons. Each feels that he/she cannot be a complete person or function well without the help of another person. This contrasts with two healthy persons coming together, not out of need but out of choice to be in a relationship. Their feelings of completeness have been found in themselves. An abnormal need for completeness from another person can begin in childhood. It prevents personal growth and development. Eventually, one of the persons in a codependent relationship grows tired of the unhealthy alliance and tries to change and the relationship begins to experience serious problems. There are many identifiable characteristics of codependency. When the codependency characteristics manifest in the work environment, which they will, relationships with co-workers are damaged and work force morale is negatively affected. See our teaching on Codependency in the Christian Workplace.

If you are codependent, you tend to:

-be unable to distinguish your own thoughts and feelings from those of others (you think for and feel
responsible for the feelings and decisions of others).

-seek the approval and attention of others in order to feel good about yourself

-feel anxious or guilty when others have a problem

-do things to please others even when you dont want to (you say YES when you really want to say NO)

-not really be sure of what you want or need to feel OK about you

-rely on others to define your wants and needs and to tell you what you are feeling

-throw temper tantrums or collapse when things don't work out the way you expect them to (not getting
your own way)

-focus all of your energy on other people and in solving their problems and in making them happy

-try to prove to others that you are good enough to be loved

-not believe that you can take care of yourself

-see everyone as trustworthy. You put them on a pedestal and set yourself up for hurt and disappointment
when they fail to live up to your (usually unspoken) expectations

-whine or pout to get what you want

-feel unappreciated and unseen by others

-always blame yourself when things go wrong

-think you are not good enough

-fear rejection by others

-live your life as if you are always just a victim of circumstances

-feel abnormally afraid to make mistakes

-frequently wish others would like or love you more

-try not to make demands on others

-be unaware of what you are feeling

-believe that others are the cause of and responsible for your feelings

-be afraid to express your feelings for fear that others will reject you

-accept being dumped on without trying to protect yourself or protest

-find it hard to be alone with yourself

-pretend that bad things aren't happening to you when they are

-try and keep so busy that you won't think about things

-lie to protect or cover up for people you feel close to

-feel very scared, hurt, and angry but try not to let it show

-find it hard to be/feel close to others

-find it difficult to have healthy fun and be spontaneous

-feel anxious most of the time and don't know why

-feel compelled to work, eat or have sex even when not getting much enjoyment from the activity

-worry that persons close to you will leave you

-feel trapped in relationships

-feel that you have to coerce, manipulate, beg or bribe others to get what you want

-cry to get what you want

-feel controlled by the feelings of others

-be afraid of your own anger

-experience life in extremes; either all good or all bad

-feel helpless or powerless to change yourself or your situation

-feel like someone else has to change in order for you to feel better

Copyright 2004, Botswana Alcohol Aids Project - Jim MacDonald Webmaster. Contact Jim at djm@paonline.com