This brief article looks to explain what codependency is and how you can recognize it by understanding the various codependency symptoms. As a starting point, it is helpful to define codependency, which is understood to be a nuanced and multifaceted emotional and behavioral condition that makes it more difficult to have a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship.
Whenever the dependent party has a relationship, the effects of codependency can affect it. The symptoms of codependency are not limited to romantic relationships but may be seen in the dependent party’s relationships with their co-workers, children, siblings, parents, friends, and significant others. Research finds that while it is not frequent, it is a regular finding that the dependent party also suffers from addiction or a chronic mental illness.
Codependency symptoms are not fun.
Abusive, one-sided, and emotionally destructive are descriptions given to a codependent relationship. For this reason, should you suspect that you or perhaps someone you love is in a codependent relationship it will be beneficial to browse the contact details of the trained Christian Counselors in our directory and receive helpful resources.
General background on codependency.
Codependency symptoms will often not be found in isolation. As codependency is a behavior that is normally learned during childhood, codependency symptoms will also be seen in the relationship style of at least one other family member. Growing up in a dysfunctional family is a typical route a dependent party takes before displaying the same relationship style they have been taught.
The term codependency was initially used after long studies of the relationships held by people who were addicted to alcohol, and then a codependent personality was limited in its use to only describe the friends, family members, or partnership of an addict. Currently, the term describes a codependent person from any dysfunctional family.
A dysfunctional family is understood to be any family whose members suffer from emotions such as shame, anger, fear, or pain that are denied or ignored because of underlying psychological barriers. The problems may originate with a mentally or physically ill family member, an abusive family member, or a damaging parental relationship.
Dysfunction is the failure to show the characteristics or fulfill the purposes accepted as normal or beneficial to the family unit. And so, the dysfunction here is that the emotions of shame, anger, fear, pain, or others are not addressed or confronted, and are therefore not processed. Instead, the emotions are stifled and the needs arising from them are ignored.
A typical codependency symptom is that those suffering from it commonly believe their needs do not matter, or that they are the source of the issues in the family. Similarly, the affected party focuses their attention on the person who is an addict or ill.
The treatment of emotions and needs is taught to those around them and, if not dealt with, the relationship dynamics continue into adulthood. These adults are often then in relationships that bring out repeated intimidating, unsatisfying, and confusing feelings.
These various behaviors and thought patterns are typical signs of codependent behavior:
- A need for control.
- An abnormally strong need for the approval or recognition of others.
- Fearful of being rejected, judged, or abandoned.
- Issues with intimacy or relationships.
- Looking after the feelings of others.
- Low self-esteem.
- Poor boundaries with others.
- Strong emotional reactions, an anger that seems ever-present.
- Struggle to make decisions.
- Struggle to properly identify or communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs.
Get help to diagnose and treat codependency.
If you are looking for help to deal with codependency symptoms or diagnose codependency, then why not browse our online Christian Counselor directory or contact our office to schedule an appointment? We would be honored to walk with you on this journey.
“On the Beach”, Courtesy of Kobby Mendez, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Loving Couple”, Courtesy of Candice Picard, Unsplash.com, CC0 License