What Are The Signs Of Codependency, And How To End It

Last updated by Katie M.

Codependency is a relationship disorder characterized by a strong subservience to a partner who experiences frequent difficulties, for example, they could be addicted to alcohol or gambling. Here, the co-dependent person is prepared to help their partner at any cost, even if it means sacrificing their own needs for the benefit of their partner. However, their sacrifices inevitably cause them great frustration, which they never really deal with. In fact, they never really acknowledge the plight of their annoyance and regularly find themselves in a state of denial, surrounded by tons of unspoken and unexpressed points of view. Yet, in spite of the suffering experienced, the co-dependent person is unable to free themselves from this enabling behavior pattern and dysfunctional relationship. Here are signs you are co-dependent and how you can break the cycle.

What Are The Signs Of Codependency, And How To End It

Am I co-dependent? Here are 6 signs you are

Here are the main symptoms you need to look out for.

1) You never express your needs

A co-dependent person has learned to keep their needs to themselves and does everything to satisfy others. Indeed, this is a learned behavior and here, their sense of well-being depends on the acceptance of others, meaning they are afraid to displease. They have low self-esteem and are always comparing themselves with others. This cognitive behavior no doubt stems from a dysfunctional family background and chaotic childhood.

>>> Read the 10 signs you grew up in a toxic family

2) You feel responsible for others

Medical reviewers agree that people who are co-dependent always feel responsible for their partner or even their family members, whilst, in return, they show little to no interest in the co-dependent person. Furthermore, this addictive behavior means that you try, without fail, to control situations, in order to ensure they do not deteriorate further, as a means of protecting your loved ones.

3) You regularly put yourself at risk

Someone with a dependent personality disorder is ready to do anything, including acting against their own interest, to safeguard their partner's love. That's right, essentially they are desperate to be loved and can even display a relationship addiction too. In this context, these folks may pretend to be happy and feign positive well-being, despite being truly unhappy and unsatisfied with their situation.

4) You ignore your own problems

The co-dependent's attention is utterly focused on the needs of their troubled partner, to the point where they actually ignore their own. No matter what they are going through, the relationship dynamic will always ensure that their partner's problems outweigh their own.

5) You begin to rebel

Certain signs of this behavior appear when the co-dependent's suffering becomes so intense that they can no longer stand the state of submission or the attitude of their loved one. Here, they will act out and do anything necessary to break the cycle and escape.

6) The roles reverse

This type of relationship has alternating phases of dependence and counter-dependence, meaning a complete reversal can also occur, and the power balance between the two parties shifts and therefore establishes a new form of hierarchy.

>>> Discover 8 reasons why malignant narcissists are so dangerous

How to stop being co-dependent - 3 Important phases to breaking the cycle

Here's how you can overcome co-dependency.

1) Identify the origins of your emotional dependency

To break the cycle, it is essential to understand where this need comes from and how it governs your relationships. Identifying the origins of your disorder is the first step in overcoming this psychological difficulty. Here, you must look back at your childhood, paying special attention to the relationship you may have had with your parents, and all the little humiliations you suffered at school. Sometimes a very small trigger can lead to a severe emotional dependency in adulthood. You may also remember the emotional shocks that you experienced, in particular traumatic events.

2) Understand how this behavior impacts your relationships

Taking stock of your relationships is important because this is often where emotional dependence does the most damage. In particular, it will help you answer the question: why do my relationships keep repeating? Performing this level of introspection will also shed light on why your relationships are so unbalanced, to the point of being toxic.

3) Set boundaries in all realms of your life

Our third tip for overcoming emotional dependency is to set boundaries in your relationships. To continue the example of co-dependency in a relationship, it's safe to bet that you tend to completely erase yourself in your relationships. It is possible that often self-deprecation is the only way you can keep a toxic partner around. To help you in this stage of emotional withdrawal, you can, for example, make a list of all the events or elements that hurt you in a relationship and ask yourself why you forgave that person. Verbalizing the origin of your forgiveness will allow you to take a step back in your tolerance threshold and to identify more easily the elements for which it is possible to forgive and those for which you should not forgive.

Co-dependent narcissist: Why are these personalities attracted to each other?

Even if their behaviors are opposite, their objective remains the same, the co-dependent and the narcissist want to be loved. Now, their relationship is not always pleasant, yet it remains very difficult to stop. For the narcissist, this relationship means they’ve found someone who compliments them, meets their needs, indulges them, and takes care of them, all while inflating their ego and sense of entitlement. As for the co-dependents, it's the charm, excessive attention, and love bombing that narcissists give them at the beginning of their relationship. 

The two play roles where they satisfy each other's needs at first until the traits of their conditions start to show and problems start to creep in. When this happens, the relationship can end up being extremely toxic. Once the narcissist is sure of the co-dependent's love and attachment, they lose their charm and focus more on themselves and their own selfish needs. For the emotional addict, this can be devastating. In turn, the addict increases their need for approval and sacrifices more to regain the attention of the narcissist.

>>> Read; Are narcissists attracted to each other?

Editor's opinion - Healing takes time

Moving on and truly healing from a toxic relationship takes time, which is why recovering victims shouldn't pressure themselves into feeling better by a certain date. Everyone has their own timeline, just like everyone experiences their own trauma and heartache. The most important thing is to get better and to view things in a new and more positive light.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, and be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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How to detect a narcissist?

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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde