7 Common Characteristics of Codependent People
To find out whether someone is codependent or not, a person’s attitude and behavior along with the nature of their relationship will be scrutinized. Codependent people always exhibit some common characteristics including the following ones:
1. Savior Complex
This happens when a person feels responsible for the actions of the abusive person in their life. Even when it is clear to see that the abusive person has done something wrong, instead of letting them deal with the consequences, the codependent person usually takes it upon themselves to fix the situation or to “save” them.
This also makes it more likely for them to become enablers since the abuser does not learn accountability for their actions.
2. Poor or No Boundaries
Most codependent people are unable to say no, vocalize their needs or put their foot down because they are so afraid of displeasing the other person. They will even go so far as to lie or hide their true feelings as they feel that their opinion will upset or anger someone.
This is a quality which translates into all their relationships and friendships, leading to shallow, one-sided relationships and making the person feel used and grow resentful.
3. Low Self Esteem
Codependency is most known for damaging a healthy sense of self in a person. A codependent person will usually feel shame or worthlessness, unless they are looking after someone else.
They also tend to connect their worth with a feeling of “being needed” by the other person. This is why their life revolves around that person and they require validation and approval from others at all times.
Most codependent people live with abusers or narcissistic family members. For them the smallest provocation can be an issue so codependent people often have an extreme need to be perfectionists in order to keep the peace.
There is also a desire to stay or appear normal in the eyes of others. They also take on more responsibility than others that leaves them with little time to themselves and are unable to take criticism or negative feedback without growing insecure.
5. Extreme Need for Approval
Due to the fact that their self-worth and happiness is often linked with a person, codependent people are huge people pleasers and will actively seek for approval all the time. They are unable to deal with the fact that they cannot make everyone happy.
For them, having the approval of others is necessary because if they are needed, they are wanted. Self-sacrificing their own needs is also considered the right thing to do here.
6. Fear of Abandonment
Fear of abandonment develops in codependent individuals from childhood when they experience the following:
- Parent leaves the family – divorce or death.
- Neglect from parents.
- Abandonment is used as a threat to discipline them.
In this case, the person will do all they can to appease the remaining parent or individuals in their life so that they don’t leave them. As adults, this can turn into a fear of intimacy or a person engaging in a one-sided relationship and staying in it because they cannot bear to be alone.
7. Difficulties in Trusting Themselves
Codependent people also face difficulty in trusting themselves to make decisions for their own lives. They’re so enmeshed with another person that the other person’s opinion matters more to them than their own.
This can lead to anxiety or guilt when codependent individuals acknowledge or try to assert their own needs first.
While everyone does experience and exhibit these feelings from time to time, codependent people showcase these characteristics more than most people. Codependency will stunt your ability to have any healthy, genuine relationships, so if you want to grow emotionally and spiritually, you will need to address this issue. Tomorrow we will talk about action steps in dealing with this debilitating behavior pattern.
BH/ Source: Anivda – Adapted