Are You Codependent or Just Caring?

Posted on May 26, 2017

Codependence refers to the tendency to deny our own wants in order to serve others. The key idea of codependency is ignoring our own inner life to respond to others' real or imagined needs.

Here are some signposts of codependency:

1. Fear that your partner might get upset or leave you if you don’t comply with what they want, which leaves you feeling trapped.

2. Difficulty in setting boundaries — noticing, honoring, and expressing views and needs that may differ from others. You allow others’ needs to quickly overtake yours.

3. Difficultly in pausing to consider your own feelings and desires before responding to others.

4. Feeling resentful and depleted from responding to what others want from you without considering what you need.

If you do identify with any of the above, you may be inclined to minimize your own needs and put others ahead of yourself as a way to deal with your need for connection, belonging, or self-worth. However, be careful not to be too quick to label yourself as codependent. There’s a fine line between being loving and being codependent. Using the codependent label too loosely may overlook that we are complex creatures driven by multiple motivations. The impulse to be kind and responsive may be coming from a humanistic and spiritual place inside us.

If we neglect ourselves in favor of attending to others’ needs, we disserve ourselves. But clinging too tightly to our independence — being overly vigilant about steering clear of codependence — we may avoid the interdependence that allows for healthy intimacy and connection. Psychotherapy can be a useful way to explore theses issues and find a helpful balance between caring about ourselves and being there for others.

Category(s):Codependency / Dependency

Source material from PsychCentral

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