Characteristics of Codependency (Externally-centered people)

Dysfunction lies in extremes, so you may be the extreme opposite of some listed below or vacilate between the two.

Examples: 1. Overly responsible or irresponsible 2. Selfish or self-depriving 3. Control over other or allowing others to control you

Functional is balance

Examples of balanced living: 1. Responsible 2. Self-care 3. Controlling self and others controlling themselves.

Identify any of the following charactaristics that apply to you.

  • Give your power away then may resent others for making you act against you will (explain in layman’s terms what it is to give your power away, such as “allow others to make decisions for you and then resenting them”) 
  • The opposite is also true, some codependents also try to take others power away (same, except “make decisions or speak for others)
  • Hard on self, self-critical
  • Perfectionistic, overly responsible, hyper vigilant (one word) — may vacilate to extreme opposite or find themselves in relationships with people who are the extreme opposite
  • Approval-seeker, car people-pleaser
  • Use meeting other’s (others’) need to make oneself feel whole
  • Afraid of angry people and personal criticism
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Give up my values to maintain a relationship
  • Terrified of abandonment—will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order to avoid abandonment.
  • Experience guilt when standing up for self
  • Caretakers—attracted to people we can fix and rescue
  • Without a relationship, feel like a nobody
  • Value other’s opinion more than your own
  • Automatically assume everything is your fault—always apologizing for self
  • Have a hard time setting firm boundaries and carrying through with them
  • All energy is focused on other people and their happiness
  • Am unable to determine what you want and need in life
  • Assume God doesn’t want anything to do with you
  • Assume your presence is a bother to others
  • Try finding ways to run from or numb down feelings
  • Make excuses for the irresponsible behaviors of people you love
  • May be mad at God because you are so miserable
  • Lose sleep worrying about others
  • Live life by a list of should’s and oughts someone else determined for you
  • Over-commit then feel resentful later
  • Let others take advantage of your goodness
  • May obsessively perform (clean house, do laundry, do projects, etc.) to please others
  • May take on more than is your fair share
  • Sometimes feel crazy or off-balance
  • Feel guilty for self-care
  • Stress-related health problems
  • Health problems because lack of self care
  • Find other people with worse problems to focus on to distract self from own problems
  • May have difficulty having fun
  • Need to be needed
  • Cannot be happy unless others are what you need them to be
  • Believe that if you are good or loving enough you can change another’s behavior
  • May play the role of a martyr (sacrifice myself for others), to get love & approval
  • Hurt and resentful that after all efforts to help others, they do not return the same
  • I can’t say no without feeling guilty—I often say yes when I really mean no
  • Vacillate between suppressing anger and letting it explode
  • Though you try to please people, you often feel isolated and alone
  • Much energy to help other people but feel drained or depressed privately
  • Find it hard to identify own feelings but try to manage other’s feelings
  • Deny, trivialize or hide how you feel
  • Find it hard to make own decisions but try to make them for everyone else
  • Judge your ideas/opinions as not good enough or inadequate
  • Uncomfortable when acknowledged, praised or receiving gifts
  • Difficulty expressing needs, wants and wishes to others
  • Take on others feelings
  • Loyal when loyalty is not deserved
  • Accept sex when seeking love
  • Get hurt or angry when others don’t accept or appreciate your help
  • Offer advice that is not asked for
  • Give a lot of favors and presents to people you care for
  • Use (or have used) sex to fix problems in a relationship
  • I feel responsible for the behaviors of others
  • I rescue others from the painful consequences of their choices
  • I need praise from others to feel good about myself
  • Adept at solving the problems of others while not being able or motivated to solve their own
  • Willingly conforms to unrealistic/unreasonable relationship expectations
  • Fearful and avoidant of disagreements and conflicts
  • Feels powerless to protect themselves
  • Easily manipulated and exploited by self-serving individuals
  • Often afraid of authority figures

Suggested Reading material:

“The Human Magnet Syndrome,” by Ross Rosenberg

“Breakthrough” Life Coach Inc., by Lisa A. Roman

~Author unknown