Essential Symptoms of Codependency
- compiled by Philip St. Romain; all rights reserved.
Three types of codependents
- Caretakers: relate to others primarily through roles that put them in a position of the giver, helper, supporter, nurturer, etc.
“Everyone’s needs are more important than my own.”
- Romance/relationship addiction: must be in a “relationship” and be “special” to someone in order to be OK with oneself; may use caretaking and sexuality to gain approval/acceptance; goes from relationship to relationship.
“You’re nobody unless you're in a special relationship with someone else.”
- Messiah complex: savior of the family, church, world; over-responsible, doesn’t ask for help, tries to make self indispensable.
“If I don’t do it. it won’t get done.”
Symptoms of codependency
- External-referenced on another person (or people).
- Tries to control behavior of others through approval-seeking and people-pleasing behavior.
- Experiences intimacy by discounting own feelings, and empathizing with feelings of others.
- Loss of healthy boundaries, generally resulting from doing things for others that violate one’s values, and from accepting unacceptable behavior from others.
- Frozen feelings, numbness with regard to one’s own feelings. Depression may also result from repressed anger.
- Low self-esteem. Self is valued according to others’ opinions. Uses martyr, victim, and messiah role to bolster self-esteem.
- Generalized anxiety, related to lack of control of one’s life.
- Mental preoccupation. Racing thoughts. Inability to enjoy mental silence and serenity.
- Lack of assertiveness.: inability to ask directly for one’s true needs. Inability to confront unhealthy behavior in others.
- Narcissism. In the absence of healthy, legitimate boundaries, others are seen as for or against self.
Problems often related to codependency
- Other addictions--codependents use drugs, shopping, food, TV to cope with feelings. The majority of addicts--even alcoholics-- are codependents. Recovery from other addictions is jeopardized if codependency is ignored. As long as one is codependent, one is in the addictive process.
- Neuroses and psychoses--mental health problems with their own specific symptomology and dynamics may develop out of codep.
- Physical health problems--stress reduces effectiveness of Immune system to fight off diseases.
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