These are some signs of codependent behavior:
- Excessive Care-taking: Codependents feel responsible for others’ actions, feelings, choices and emotional well-being. They try to anticipate loved one’s needs and feel obligated to meet them while often wondering why others do not do the same for them. They also often try to solve someone else’s problems, or try to change - or rescue - someone. Relationships are often based on need rather than mutual respect.
- Low self-esteem: Codependents are people who need to be needed. They will only feel important and valuable when they are helping others, and blame themselves for anything that goes wrong. They also frequently don't feel "worthy" of being loved and will be "suspicious" of receiving love.
- Denial: Codependents typically ignore, minimize or rationalize problems in the relationship, believing that “things will get better when….” They stay busy to avoid thinking about their feelings. They cover up to "protect others" from reaping the consquences of poor choices.
- Fear of anger: Codependents are afraid of both their own and their loved one’s anger, because they fear it will destroy the relationship.
I was (am) CODA, incredibly so. Recognizing this and reconditioning my responses to life was an essential part of healing after my A, because my CODA behaviors were a large part of the "brokenness" inside me that allowed me to make the asinine choice to have an A.
As I read in the Wayward forum, I see/hear many of the same thought processes I had years ago when I was new to the site. So many of them rooted in CODA thought processes. From struggling with NC (I recall feeling bad for the AP and wondering how he was doing... could I help him in any way... shouldn't I just ask him? See CODA tendancy #1)... to deciding whether or not to tell BS (I did confess - but not before letting each of the tendancies outlined above nearly change that decision)... to later forgiving myself (Self-esteem issues really played a role here... I simply was not worthy of being forgiven in my mind. But forgiving onself is a HUGE part of the healing process and something that took a LOOONG time for me to get to).
Heck, I always thought you had to have an alcoholic or some other sort of addict in your life to become a CODA... I had none of that. Very normal, loving, middle class upbringing with happily married parents. And a husband who is kind, respectful, nuturing and not at all needy. So how could I possibly be so co-dependent? But, in fact, I was.
Anyway, I am nowhere near as eloquent as others in this forum, but I just wanted to encourage waywards to consider if CODA plays a role in their brokenness. Looking at this aspect of myself helped me understand my interactions with other people - and my perceptions of myself - much better.
[This message edited by stroppy_wanadoo at 1:37 PM, January 13th (Monday)]