Codependency is a relational dynamic in which one person puts the needs of others ahead of his or her needs in an attempt to compensate for low self-esteem and/or feelings of guilt or shame. At heart, then, codependency is a dysfunctional relationship with yourself. Codependent relationships are imbalanced, with one person trying to ‘earn’ validation by pleasing the other. Signs of codependency can include anything from unhealthy self-doubt to the aggressive manipulation or control of others.
Boundaries & Codependent Relationships
People who struggle with codependency struggle to form healthy boundaries in their relationships. Codependent persons find it difficult to differentiate—that is, to separate their sense of self from the person with whom they share a relationship. This can make true intimacy extremely difficult, because the codependent person will fear losing him or herself if the relationship fails. By setting up boundaries, you can form a healthy sense of personal identity apart from others, and with those boundaries securely in place, you can discover what it means to be in true relationship.
Freedom & Recovery from Codependent Relationships
Breaking the cycle of codependency is difficult but not impossible. Healing from codependency begins with developing a stronger sense of yourself and learning to love yourself as intrinsically valuable, apart from your relationships. This means letting go of people and things you can’t control, and learning to listen to your own inner voice. As you come to love and trust yourself, you will discover a greater sense of freedom and peace in your relationships.
Addictions & Codependent Relationships
The term ‘codependency’ was first used to describe persons in a relationship with an addict. Very often, people who have codependent tendencies will seek relationships with substance abusers or persons suffering from other forms of addiction. Addiction and codependency fuel one another because the addict relies on the codependent for help and validation, and the codependent becomes ‘addicted’ to caring for the addict. This is obviously a very unstable foundation for a relationship, and, unfortunately, both people suffer consequences.
Common Signs of Codependency: What Should You Look For?
By Maryann Stigen,
Posted March 27th, 2019
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Typically, the first sign that indicates a need for me to investigate possible codependency with a client, is when they introduce themselves to me and describe themselves as “a people pleaser.”
As we continue, I tend to find out that these people have very poor boundaries within their interpersonal relationships.
One of the most prominent researchers into codependency, Melody Beattie, describes codependency like this:
“A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” – Codependent No More, 1992 ed.
Have I lost you with that definition? Stick around and we will elaborate on it later within this article.
Another well known researcher in the area of codependency, Pia Mellody, states that codependents have difficulty in the following areas:
Experiencing inappropriate levels of self-esteem
Setting functional boundaries
Owning and expressing their own reality
Taking care of their adult needs and wants
Experiencing and expressing their reality moderately
Concerning number one above, Mellody goes on to say that “if codependents have any kind of esteem, it is not self-esteem but other-esteem; which is based on external things such as how one looks, how much money they make, who they know, what kind of car they drive, what kind of job they have, how well their children perform, how powerful and important or attractive their spouse is, the degrees they have earned, how well they perform at activities in which others value, etc” (Facing Codependence, p.
By Maryann Stigen,
Posted November 14th, 2018
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As a counselor, the vast majority of clients I see have either endured or perpetrated some type of emotional abuse throughout their lifetime. Emotional abuse is quite pervasive, and it is a fairly new topic to be discussed as generations prior would not have even considered the effects of their words or actions qualifying as abusive.
I do want to differentiate right away between someone being an emotional abuser, and someone saying or doing emotionally abusive things. An abuser will perpetually hurt, undermine, or seek to gain a manipulative upper hand over others – whereas the majority of people will have the capacity to say or do something that is emotionally abusive in an isolated situation or circumstance without being a habitual abuser.
We have all at some point or another sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but repenting and seeking reparation for the wrong we have done is key. However, there are types of people who will continually hurt others and destroy intimate connections with people – whether intentional or unintentional – and their behaviors rarely change for the better.
Emotional abuse may take place in a romantic relationship, a parental relationship, among siblings, on the playground at school, in the office at work, in the pews at church, etc. Because humans reside within all of these occupations, dynamics, and settings – the ability to abuse or be abused is not limited to a specific demographic or location.
Setting Boundaries: Codependency and Your Loved Ones
By Missy Neill,
Posted October 31st, 2017
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Codependency is an unhealthy, excessive reliance on another person. It is a learned behavior and can stem from many factors such as low self-esteem, poor boundaries, addiction, illness of a partner, or insecurity.
Codependency prevents a person from having a healthy, balanced, satisfying relationship with another person. Codependents don’t realize that there needs to be ‘space’ in a relationship. Instead, they become so enmeshed in another person that they lose their own identity.
Cоdереndеnсу сhаrасtеrіѕtісѕ аbоund, but соmmоn ones include:
hаvіng low ѕеlf-wоrth
difficulty setting аnd kееріng bоundаrіеѕ
It’ѕ nоt easy tо lооk at уоurѕеlf іn thе mіrrоr аnd admit thаt уоu’vе bееn harboring such аttіtudеѕ аnd behaviors.
Every аrеа of hеаlіng within соdереndеnсу ѕtаrtѕ with аwаrеnеѕѕ. Acknowledge thаt people аrе not асtіng in a wау thаt is ассерtаblе tо you. You nееd tо оwn уоur fееlіngѕ and learn hоw tо be emotionally honest wіth уоurѕеlf. Onlу when уоu аrе able to be honest with уоurѕеlf, wіll оthеrѕ start tо react tо уоu in a wау that rеflесtѕ hоw they vіеw уоur truth.
Boundaries are a good antidote for codependency. No one is born with healthy boundaries, but through good parental role modeling in our upbringing, educating ourselves, and with practice we can learn to have healthy relationships with good boundaries.
Think of boundaries as your bottom lines and a set of principles by which to live by. Boundaries are an important part of establishing a healthy, non-codependent relationship but setting boundaries with loved ones can be difficult.