I googled “how to tell if you’re codependent” since I keep seeing that word all over this site. Sure enough, I am guilty of every single one of these symptoms.
“Low self-esteem.Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others are signs of low self-esteem.” That’s an obvious one.
“People-pleasing.It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes them anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.” I have always had a hard time saying no to people, family, friends, even strangers. I feel bad. I don’t want them to be upset with me.
“Poor boundaries.Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That’s especially where codependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else.Some codependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones.” Well that’s obvious one too unfortunately. I have poor and rigid boundaries. Coworkers have always told me that they were intimidated by me at first. They thought I was a mean cold bitch who didn’t want to join in on things. Then once they actually got to know me, they realized they were wrong. A big part of that is because of where we live. Everyone is very religious here, and we most certainly are not. I do not agree with bringing religion into work, so when they start talking about it, I bow out or keep my mouth shut. I never joined in on their prayer circles or bible studies. I also don’t have a filter on my mouth and say things how they really are. Put that all together and I am an intimidating bitch I guess. After being called that several times, I have eased up on my usual ways. I got really tired of people thinking that about me. I still don’t partake in religious things, but I have watched my filter around my new coworkers. Maybe I’ll find out one day that they had the same thoughts, but for now I have noticed a difference.
“Reactivity.A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive.” I take everything anyone says to me to heart. You can ask my BH. He will make a comment about an actress he thinks is perfect, and I will immediately start thinking “well shit, I look nothing like her so he must not think I’m attractive so what the hell is he doing with me?” Every single thing all of you and those on his thread have said about me has made me feel like absolute shit about myself. Granted I deserved it all, but we all know how I reacted. Hello defensive LD it’s nice to meet you. Now can you please go take a seat and shut the hell up?
“Caretaking. Another effect of poor boundaries is that if someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents start putting other people ahead of themselves.” I wouldn’t really say that I give up myself, but I definitely do want to help someone when they have a problem.
“Control.Control helps codependents feel safe and secure. Everyone needs some control over events in their life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos, but for codependents, control limits their ability to take risks and share their feelings. Codependents also need to control those close to them, because they need other people to behave in a certain way to feel okay. In fact, people-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate people. Alternatively, codependents are bossy and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. This is a violation of someone else’s boundary.” I am bossy, and I do not like to share my feelings because then people may think poorly of me.
“Dysfunctional communication.Codependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs. Of course, if you don’t know what you think, feel or need, this becomes a problem. Other times, you know, but you won’t own up to your truth. You’re afraid to be truthful, because you don’t want to upset someone else. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend that it’s okay or tell someone what to do. Communication becomes dishonest and confusing when you try to manipulate the other person out of fear.” Again, extremely obvious for me! I am a conflict avoider to the max.
“Obsessions.Codependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears. They can also become obsessed when they think they’ve made or might make a “mistake.” Sometimes you can lapse into fantasy about how you’d like things to be or about someone you love as a way to avoid the pain of the present. This is one way to stay in denial, discussed below, but it keeps you from living your life.” This was definitely me anytime we had a rough patch in our marriage. When he told me he was no longer in love with me and said those hurtful things to me, I went into a fantasy world where we were all good. I didn’t want to acknowledge what was going on. I also didn’t want to upset him anymore than he already was with me.
“Dependency.Codependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own.” I do not like rejection from anyone.
“Denial. One of the problems people face in getting help for codependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually they think the problem is someone else or the situation. They either keep complaining or trying to fix the other person, or go from one relationship or job to another and never own up the fact that they have a problem.Codependents also deny their feelings and needs. Often, they don’t know what they’re feeling and are instead focused on what others are feeling. The same thing goes for their needs. They pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some codependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving. They are in denial of their vulnerability and need for love and intimacy.” I don’t think I really need to say anymore on this one. I don’t like to depend on others because then I feel like they may think that I can’t do it. I have been guilty of that with my BH.
“Problems with intimacy.By this I’m not referring to sex, although sexual dysfunction often is a reflection of an intimacy problem. I’m talking about being open and close with someone in an intimate relationship. Because of the shame and weak boundaries, you might fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left.” I felt like I couldn’t go to him with my problems that I was feeling/having with our daughter. I didn’t want him to think that I was a shitty mother, because I already thought that about myself.
“Painful emotions.Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.”
I can check off all of those emotions.
I guess I have some new reading to do now to figure out how I change this and this may have played a part in me letting myself do all of this.
[This message edited by LifeDestroyer at 8:03 PM, October 16th (Wednesday)]