Codependency - What is it?
Codependency is when a person has a strong desire to control people around them, including their spouse, children or co-workers. Codependents believe they are somehow more capable than others, who need their direction or suggestions to fulfill tasks they are responsible to complete. They feel compassion for people who may be hurting and feel they should be the one to help them. Codependent people give of their time, emotions, finances, and other resources. They have a very difficult time saying "no" to any requests made of them.
Codependency - A Matter of Control
Codependency, for others, doesn't express itself in a desire to control, but instead, in the need to be controlled by others. Because it is nearly impossible for Codependents to say "no" to people, they may find themselves the victims in physically and emotionally abusive relationships. They believe that if they can be good enough, or loving enough, they can change the other person's behavior. They sometimes blame themselves for the abusive behavior: "If only I had not forgotten to do the dishes, he would not have had to hit me."
Codependency causes internal struggles with the opinions of others. Codependents may make decisions based on what they think other people want them to do. While they may believe that their motive for helping people is compassion, in reality they are doing it because they want love or approval. They may come to recognize the underlying nature of their behavior when they become hurt or angry at people they have helped who didn't return the same amount of help, love, or appreciation when they themselves were in need. They have difficulty understanding that instead of helping others by providing things they need, they may actually be hurting them by creating a dependent relationship.
Codependency can also cause struggles in the area of time management. Codependents may feel they never have enough time to fulfill all of their commitments because they have made too many. The most important commitments and relationships are often neglected because they are too busy helping other people, participating in multiple activities, and running from one event to another throughout the week. This also relates to their inability to say "no" when asked to volunteer, attend a function, or help a friend. The idea of not volunteering, not helping or not attending is unthinkable. They may believe they are not being responsible, not being a good friend, or not being a good person if they refuse any requests. However, many of those situations and relationships leave them feeling hurt, angry, or resentful.
Codependency - The Questions
- Do you find yourself making decisions based on other people's opinions?
- Is it important to you that people like you and want to be your friend?
- Do you have a strong desire to help others, but deep down you know you do it so that they will like or love you?
- Do you seem to notice everyone else's problems and have a need to tell them what you think they should do to solve them?
- Do you feel anxious, angry or upset when people don't do things you want them to do, or do things the way you want them to do them?
- Do you find yourself in relationships where you do all the giving and the other person does all the taking?
- Are you involved in activities that demand all of your time and energy and you are neglecting your family or yourself?
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