Codependency has also been called “relationship addiction,” as people with codependency tend to form relationships that are unhealthy, one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive. At its core, codependency refers to an emotional and psychological reliance on another person. It can manifest in various ways, but the common thread is an excessive need for approval, validation, and a sense of identity tied to others. Codependents often neglect their own needs and well-being while prioritizing the needs of others to an unhealthy extent.
Recognizing codependency within oneself can be challenging, but certain signs may indicate its presence. You might be codependent if you exhibit some or most of these behaviors:
Individuals struggling with codependency often have low self-esteem and rely on external sources for comfort and validation. They feel a deep desire to help others so they can feel needed, but this caregiving can become all-consuming and self-defeating, causing them to take on the role of a martyr. Often, they become trapped in a compulsive caregiving pattern and can feel helpless and without choice in the relationship. They perceive themselves as victims and are drawn to individuals with similar vulnerabilities in their relationships. Codependent dynamics can also strain relationships, causing the other person to distance themselves or end the relationship entirely - which is exactly what the codependent person fears most.
(Do you suspect you might be codependent? Try this free online self-screening tool for codependency from Mind Help. Please note: This is not intended to be a diagnostic tool. It is a self-screening survey intended to help you become more aware of and curious about any codependent tendencies you may exhibit.)
Understanding where codependency originates is crucial to addressing it effectively. It often stems from early life experiences, such as:
If you suspect you may be struggling with codependency, know that healing is possible. Begin with cultivating self-awareness by recognizing and acknowledging your codependent behaviors and thought patterns. Work on setting healthy boundaries and practicing the art of saying "no" when necessary. Prioritize self-care activities that nurture your physical and emotional well-being. Focus on developing your own interests and identity separate from others, and surround yourself with non-codependent individuals who encourage your growth and independence.
Seeking guidance through therapy is the most powerful step you can take to change unhealthy relationship patterns. If you are struggling with codependency and seeking support, reach out to Medens Health for assistance on your path to healing. Our compassionate and experienced mental health professionals provide a judgment-free space for you to delve into the root causes of your codependency and form new, healthier patterns. Reach out to us by phone or text at (833) 624-5400, send us a message using our online contact form, or to register as a new patient get started here.
Remember: you deserve to live a life free from the constraints of codependency. The journey toward self-discovery and independence begins with the first step!
The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.
If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.