What is co-dependency?
It is a problem within relationships, where two psychologically dependent people form a relationship. Neither is able to feel or act independently of the other.
How do people become co-dependent?
It usually originates from “stuckness” in your development which occurs in childhood. Two major developmental tasks need to achieve in childhood for continued psychological growth and maturity.
A co-dependent person will get stuck in:
(1) Trying to complete bonding by either becoming very attached or very dependent
(2) Trying to complete separation by very unattached or counter-dependent
(3) Or cycling back and forth between the 2
How do you know if you may have co-dependent patterns?
- Low self esteem or sense of self worth
- Constant need for approval, attention, affirmation from others to make you feel good about yourself
- Rely on others to define your need sand wants
- Need other people to make decisions for you
- Need some outside form of stimulation to distract you from your feelings (alcohol, food, drugs, sex)
- Cannot become close to others without fearing a loss of self
- Cannot maintain a positive self image if criticized by others
- Unable to meet their own needs effectively
- Passive – wait for others to fill their needs
- Master at dominating: controlling, masers at getting their own way
Areas co-dependent people need to grow in and develop
· Strong internal sense of self worth
· Develop a sense of self that enables you to accept responsibility for your actions
· Able to verbalize feelings
· Deal effectively with fear and anxiety
· Learn to share cooperate and handle aggression
· Assertiveness skills
· Learn to communicate needs and wants clearly, honestly and in a direct way
· Learn to separate own needs and feelings from others
· Set clear boundaries
· Strive for interdependence
· Become active rather than passive
I hope that the above is helpful as a starting point.