Am I Codependent?
At its core, codependency is a dysfunctional relationship with oneself. It is not knowing how to love self in healthy ways often because our parents did not know how to love themselves.
It is living the myth that I can make myself happy by trying to control people and events outside myself. Codependency is a generational and cultural epidemic. In their book “Love is a Choice” the authors state that ‘no less than tens of millions of American across two generations suffer the symptoms of codependency’.
I do not like being labeled and the term codependent is not a label or a stigma of shame. It signifies that I may demonstrate some common patterns and traits. In her book, “Facing Codependency”, Pia Melody describes the Five Core Symptoms of this dysfunctional relationship with self. Some of these are also outlined by Co-Dependents Anonymous and are described below:
Low self esteem: may be evidenced by difficulty making decisions, judging what I do as “never good enough”, needing approval of others, difficulty in receiving approval, not asking for others to meet my needs or desires and sometimes procrastinating projects, often come from troubled, repressed or dysfunctional families, blame self for everything
Excessive Behaviours: some of these may be addictions to drugs or alcohol, misuse of sex to gain approval, physical abuse of others, eating disorders, work related over functioning, and the need to keep an immaculate house; try to control through helplessness, guilt, coercion, manipulation; look for happiness outside self because they don’t feel content or peaceful within themselves.
Difficulty Setting Boundaries: difficulty choosing what I want to do apart from what others want me to do, inability to say no because I feel obligated and compelled to serve others, sense of responsibility for other people rather than being responsible for my life, a lack of limits leading to chaos, resentment, panic or depression and physical and emotional abuse as a result of my lack of boundaries
Struggling to take care of my adult needs and wants because I am bound and tormented by the way things were in my dysfunctional family of origin: this could look like someone in my family demonstrated excessive, compulsive or abusive behaviours. Because of these I would have a tendency to develop some compulsions now in reaction to my unmet emotional needs as a child
Difficulty knowing self and what I want: When a child does not receive the messages of worth and dignity there is an empty space and in despair it could lead to me looking outside self to find meaning and purpose. It can sometimes look like I have an unhealthy balance between dependence and independence in my relationships.
Does this mean that I am bad or a problem? Not at all!
Children blame themselves for the problems that happen in their families. “If only I had been a better little girl…” or “If I had done… or hadn’t done…” this wouldn’t have happened. Children are not responsible for their parents’ actions. They are to be loved, nurtured and protected.
Counselling therapy can be the answer you are looking for!
Counselling therapy is a good setting for learning that you are not the problem. It can be a good environment for learning how you developed some of these behaviours and then how to put yourself first. I learned how to meet and identify my own needs, how to take care of myself by setting healthy boundaries, how to communicate in healthy ways, to honour and respect self and the needs and wants of others.
Do you want to discover your self-worth and self-esteem? Do you know that you are lovable? If you recognize some of the behaviours in this article as yours, feel free to call me at 604-312-6674 and begin your journey to freedom and discovery.