Signs You Might Have Co-Dependent Tendencies
- say you want out of a relationship but stay anyway?
- ignore red flags put up by your partners?
- give up too much of yourself when in a relationship?
- go to great lengths to avoid upsetting your partner?
- find yourself sitting in resentment over how much you do for others?
- receive feedback from others that you are too dependent?
If so, you may be exhibiting some codependent tendencies that can make it difficult for you to find contentment in relationships. People who exhibit codependent tendencies are often externally focused, defining their self-worth by those around them.
Codependency often involves one partner getting stuck in a pattern of giving and sacrificing, without the possibility of ever receiving the same from the other partner. The sacrificing partner often internalizes bitterness and resentment
Folks on the anxious end of attachment tend to sacrifice their own needs in order to please and accommodate others. Due to insecurities, they are preoccupied with relationships and are highly attuned to their partner, worrying that their partner wants less closeness. They tend to take things personally with a negative twist, projecting negative outcomes and hiding their own truth so as not to "make waves." They may be jealous of their partner’s attention to others and call or text frequently. Repeated attempts to seek reassurance push their partner away even further.
Individuals on the avoidant end of attachment tend to avoid closeness and intimacy through distancing behaviors, such as flirting, making unilateral decisions, addiction, ignoring their partner or dismissing his or her feelings and needs. They are hyper-vigilant about their partner’s attempts to control or limit them in any way and will often engage in behaviors that sabotage any potential for intimacy in their relationships.
Neither style contributes to satisfying relationships.
How Codependency Develops
Individuals develop codependent tendencies through living in families with rules that hinder development to some degree. Exposure to alcoholism, mental illness or guarded family secrets is common among folks who struggle with codependency.
Rules within families that may foster codependency may include:
- It's not ok to talk about problems
- Feelings should not be expresses
- Communication is best if indirect
- Make us proud beyond what is realistic
- Meeting your own needs is selfish
- Do as I say not as I do
- It's not ok to play or be playful
- Don't rock the boat
Many families have one or more of these rules in place within the family that can strain the development of positive self-esteem and coping skills. As a result, individuals can develop destructive behavior patterns, poor problem solving skills and a tendency to be emotionally reactive.
Here's a Short Video to Help Clear Things Up
Codependency and Counseling
The key to getting a handle on codependent tendencies is to understand how your childhood experiences are still affecting you today. The better you understand what’s driving your thoughts, feelings and behaviors the better you will be able to cultivate security within yourself and your relationships.
Counseling can help:
- Distinguish between your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors and those of others.
- Untangle unhealthy relationship dynamics.
- Increase your assertiveness and boundary setting skills.
- Decrease your emotional reactivity to your partner’s actions.
- Make connections between your past and the present.
- Identify your own needs, wants and desires as well as ways to ask for them to be met.
Caring deeply about others is a wonderful quality. Doing so to the detriment of your own wants, needs and desires is something very different. Ideally relationships are balanced towards secure attachment where both partners can assert themselves with fear of rejection or intimacy.