Volumes of books have been written on this topic of codependency. The definition of codependency is a person who has let someone else’s behavior affect him/her and is obsessed with controlling other people’s behavior. The interesting thing about codependency is that the behaviors of a codependent person can range from being excessively nice all the way to rage, control, stalking, and abuse.
The tendency to become codependent starts in childhood. Living with an alcoholic, drug addict, strictly religious, critical, controlling, emotionally ill, cold and distant parents, or caregivers that were physically or emotionally abusive or absent can all lead toward a child developing codependent behaviors.
If you enter into a relationship with a person demonstrating any of the above behaviors, the tendency toward codependency increases.
There is a part of interdependency that we need in order to live in society. The difference here is that interdependency does not mean that you consistently put the needs of others on front of your own needs and feelings. Just as codependency is learned, it can be unlearned. Again, awareness that you may have this tendency is the first step.
Look at the following questionnaire. Give yourself 0-5 points depending on how often you answer Yes to the questions; 0 being No/Never; 1 being Rarely; 2 being Occasionally, 3 being Often, 4 being Frequently, and 5 being Yes/Always.
Be honest with yourself. Do not look at or think about your score as you answer. Respond honestly with each individual question.
- Do I sacrifice my own needs to satisfy the needs and wants of others?
- Do I have difficulty saying “No” or expressing my feelings?
- Am I unduly afraid of being hurt, rejected or left alone?
- Is my self-esteem dependent on the approval of others?
- Do I have a tendency to compromise my own values to avoid conflict?
- Are my actions motivated by fear of rejection or fear of conflict?
- Do I feel responsible for others’ problems, which I did not cause?
- Do I feel that it is my responsibility to fix others’ problems?
- Do I have difficulty asking for help?
- Do I cover up or make excuses for my partner?
- Am I more aware of my partner’s feelings than I am of my own?
- Do I feel selfish when I take care of my own needs?
- Does my identity revolve around my partner?
- Do I blame others or take on the victim role?
- Do I avoid confrontation at all costs?
- Do I feel inadequate, isolated, angry, depressed or guilt-ridden?
How many total points did you give yourself?
0-20 means you’re doing really well
21 – 40 shows that you need to start making some changes
41-60 is a clear sign that codependency is a big issue for you.
If you scored 61-80 points, you are officially the King or Queen of Codependency. You’ll need to make working on this a priority.
This information about codependency was made available by Janet Whitney, MA. MFT, the founder and author of Facing Your Fears Following Your Dreams and Finding Success Program.