Characteristics of a Codependent

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  • My sense of “self” disappears when I am in a relationship 
  • Without being in a relationship, I am nobody
  • I value my partners opinions more than I do my own
  • I live in constant fear of being rejected by my partner
  • If I am abused or mistreated, I still remain in the relationship
  • I frequently resent others for making me act against my will
  • When others are upset or in error, I automatically assume it is my fault
  • I am always apologizing for myself
  • I am exhausted meeting others needs but feel resentful that my needs are not met
  • I have to be whatever my partner wants me to be, otherwise s/he will leave me
  • In order for me to feel good about myself, I need to be liked and approved of by others
  • I focus on meeting other’s needs to the point of hurting myself
  • I have a hard time setting firm boundaries and carrying through with them
  • I often find myself “People Pleasing”
  • I give up my values to maintain a relationship
  • I have difficulty believing I can take care of myself
  • When others blame me for their unhappiness/problems, I believe them
  • I focus all my energy on other people and their happiness
  • I am unable to determine what I want and need in life
  • I assume God doesn’t want anything to do with me
  • I believe others know what is best for me better than I do
  • I assume my presence is a “bother” to other people
  • I find myself trying to find ways to run from or numb my feelings
  • I doubt my ability to be who I want to be and do what I want to do
  • I make excuses for the irresponsible behaviors of people I love
  • I define my success by how my children turn out or who I am married to
  • I have trouble asking for help
  • I have a hard time knowing what I need and want and what is important to me
  • I am mad at God because I am so miserable
  • I lose sleep worrying about another person
  • I live my life by a list of “shoulds” and “oughts” someone else determined important for me I get my sense of self worth by helping/rescuing/fixing/care-taking others
  • I over commit myself then feel resentful later
  • I go to work early and stay late because the boss “needs me”
  • I let other people take advantage of my goodness
  • I believe others would fall apart if I wasn’t there to keep things together
  • If someone doesn’t keep up their end of a commitment, I do it for them
  • I obsessively perform, (clean house, do laundry, cook, etc.) to please another
  • I worry more about the kids’ or spouse’s activities and needs more than my own
  • I often take on more than is my fair share
  • Sometimes I feel “crazy” or “off balance”
  • Sometimes I wonder why I can’t get anything done
  • I feel guilty taking care of myself
  • I have stress related health problems
  • I have health problems because I won’t take time to eat right and exercise
  • I find other people with worse problems than me to focus on, to distract myself from my own problems I hold myself responsible when abused by others
  • I find myself going from one bad relationship to another
  • I find myself unnecessarily spying on my partner/children/significant other(s)
  • I find myself “sabotaging” another persons attempts to make positive changes I have trouble following a project through from beginning to end
  • I do “overkill” on any project I do
  • I judge myself without mercy
  • I have difficulty having fun
  • Work and play are out of balance in my life (extremes either way)
  • I take myself too seriously
  • I feel different from other people
  • I am over-responsible or under-responsible
  • I jump into relationships to make myself feel better or fix problems in my life
  • I need to feel needed
  • I find myself doing for others what they really should be doing for themselves
  • Most people I am in relationships with are people who “need” me
  • I fear confronting a person who has an addiction or with irresponsible behaviors
  • I measure my self esteem by how much others “depend” on me
  • I believe others can not get along without me
  • I believe I can not survive without another person (people)
  • I use meeting the needs of others to make myself feel whole
  • I cannot be happy unless others do what I want them to do and are what I need them to be
  • I believe that if I am “good enough”, or “loving enough”, I can change another person’s behavior
  • I play the role of a martyr (sacrifice myself for others) to get love and approval
  • I am hurt and angry that after all my efforts in helping other people, they do not return the same amount of help, love, approval or appreciation
  • I never have enough time to take care of my needs or fill my commitments because I have too many
  • I feel like I am not being responsible, not being a good friend/person if I refuse any request
  • I often feel anxious, angry or upset when people don’t do things I want them to do
  • I have a hard time asking for help
  • I try to anticipate other’s needs and meet them
  • I feel guilty much of the time for no good reason
  • I feel responsible for almost everybody and everything
  • I can’t say “no” without feeling guilty - I often say “yes” when I really mean “no”
  • I feel I have to protect people even if they are addicted or severely irresponsible
  • I vacillate between suppressing my anger and letting it explode
  • I feel overly frightened by angry people
  • I seldom stand up to offensive behaviors or people who disagree with me
  • Though I try to please people, I often feel isolated and alone.
  • I trust people too much or not at all
  • I often try to fix, regulate, change or improve people without their permission
  • I want to believe promises, even if the person has broken them countless times before
  • I have a lot of energy to help other people but feel drained or depressed privately
  • I tend to confuse love with pity, and tend to love those who need me to rescue them from their problems I often feel I have no power in my life
  • I become defensive when someone points out my faults
  • I feel wonderful when I can fix other’s problems, but terrible when I can’t
  • I try hard to please others but I seldom feel/think I measure up
  • I am terribly hurt by personal criticism
  • I find it hard to identify my feelings, and feel guilty for feeling certain feelings
  • I deny or trivialize or try to hide how I feel
  • I find it hard to make my own decisions, but always try to make them for everyone else
  • I often judge what I do, think and feel as “not good enough” or “inadequate”
  •  I am often uncomfortable when acknowledged, praised or receiving gifts
  • I have difficulty expressing my need and wishes to others
  • I choose other’s opinions over mine
  • I adapt to other’s opinions out of fear of rejection
  • I take on what others are feeling
  • I am loyal when loyalty is not deserved
  • I think other’s opinions are more important than mine
  • I have difficulty expressing my opinion if it differs from others
  • I disregard my interests and needs for other’s interests and needs
  • I accept sex when I am seeking love
  • I get hurt or angry when others don’t allow me to help them
  • I offer advice that is not asked for
  • I give a lot of favors and presents to people I care for
  • I use (or have used) sex to fix problems in my relationship
  • I have to be in a relationship to feel whole or fix loneliness
  • I am either controlled by others or trying to control others
  • I feel responsible for the behavior of others
  • I rescue others from painful consequences of their choices
  • I need praise from others to feel good about myself
  • I am lonely much of the time
  • I often feel hurt or angry
  • I have an overwhelming need for others to like and approve of me
  • I need to be needed in order to have self worth

~Extracted from a variety of nameless papers including Faith House, Phoenix, AZ

Typical Codependency Traits: 

  • Low Self-esteem
  • Self-worth/self-esteem is dependent on being needed and having few needs
  • Excessively compliant to suggestions, requests or inappropriate orders
  • Preoccupied with the problems, struggles and needs of others, while neglecting their own
  • In an attempt to be everything to everybody, loses ability to take care of their own needs
  • A champion and avid supporter of the needs, goals and dreams of others while ignoring and devaluing their own
  • Don’t expect other people to help you, listen to you or care about you.
  • Adept at solving the problems of others while not being able or motivated to solve their own
  • perpetual people pleasers, always looking to help or “lend a hand”
  • Struggles at declining a request for help - may feel guilty or needy
  • Over-commitment in many important relationships
  • Cannot say no to requests for help
  • Creates excessive/immpossible work and personal schedule
  • Unable to ask for what they want or need
  • Feels “selfish” or “needy” when asking for help
  • Feels bad or guilty when saying no to a request for help
  • Difficulty identifying and communicating emotions
  • Willingly conforms to unrealistic and unreasonable relationships expectations
  • Fearful and avoidant of disagreements and conflict
  • Feels powerless to protect themselves from harm; easily manipulated and exploited by self-werving individuals
  • Does not set firm boundaries (consequences) when mistreated or abused
  • Attempts to control or manipulate others who typically neglect them
  • In an attempt to be helpful, pushes their “help” onto others
  • Confuses work and personal relationships.
  • Believing that “What I think and feel doesn’t matter.”
  • I can’t trust my perception, discretion, feelings, ideas or reality.
  • What other people think is more important than what I think.
  • Taking care of others is more important than taking care of myself.
  • Worry about other people’s feelings more than their own.

 "The human Magnet Syndrome," by Ross Rosenberg

~ Lisa A. Romano Breakthrough Life Coach Inc.

 Compiled by Helen Bair 

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