6 Signs of a Codependent Relationship

Posted on March 21, 2018

The traditional definition of codependency has focused on control, nurturing, and maintenance of relationships with individuals who are chemically dependent, or engaging in undesirable behaviors, such as narcissism. Dupont and McGovern (1991) argue that codependent individuals “share the responsibility for the unhealthy behavior, primarily by focusing their lives on the sick or the bad behavior and making their own self-esteem and well-being contingent on the behavior of the unhealthy family member.”

Growing up with an unreliable or unavailable parent means taking on the role of caretaker and/or enabler themselves. When the "parentified" child then becomes an adult, he or she repeats the same dynamic in their adult relationships. A common behavioral tendency is to overreact or lash out when your partner lets you down. Lacking an internal locus of control means searching for external sources of validation and control, creating a situation of codependency.

The following questions are suggested as a guide to determine if the relationship involves codependency:
1. Does your sense of purpose involve making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs?
2. Is it difficult to say no when your partner makes demands on your time and energy?
3. Do you cover your partner’s problems with drugs, alcohol, or the law?
4. Do you constantly worry about others’ opinions of you?
5. Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
6. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?

Now that we have explored the possible roots of the condition and how to identify it, treating it would be the next step. Psychotherapy often involves exploration of early childhood issues and their connection to current dysfunctional behavior patterns. Getting in touch with deep-rooted feelings of hurt, loss, and anger will allow you to reconstruct appropriate relationship dynamics. A successful therapy journey would bring then individual to the understanding that he/ she is not responsible for anyone's happiness except his/her own.

Category(s):Codependency / Dependency

Source material from Psychology Today

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