Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive
A formal definition of codependency has escaped psychology as a field for some time. It was originally a term proposed to describe the behavioral traits of partners of the chemically dependent (addicts). To date, there are no official, defined medical diagnostic criteria for the phenomenon we call “codependency”. It has come to mean, among other things, extreme devotion, sacrifice, and attachment to another person, object or even company in an unhealthy manner.
The term codependency has been around for almost four decades. Although it originally applied to spouses of alcoholics, first called co-alcoholics, researchers revealed that the characteristics of codependents were much more prevalent in the general population than had been imagined. In fact, they found that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill parent, you’re likely codependent. Researchers also found that codependent symptoms got worse if left untreated. The good news is that they’re reversible.
Indicate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements:
1. I am in a significant relationship with someone who is addicted to a substance or behavior, is depressed or is very needy.
2. I often feel the weight of responsibility for others’ happiness and well being.
3. I can’t say “no” without feeling guilty.
4. I can accurately “read” other people by analyzing their facial expressions and tone of voice.
5. When I am able to fix others’ problems, I feel strong and valuable.
6. I feel that I have to protect people, especially the addicted, out-of-control, or depressed person in my life.
7. I live in such a way that no one can ever say I’m selfish.
8. I vacillate between defending the irresponsible person and blowing up in anger at him or her .
9. I often relive situations and conversations to see if I could have done more to relieve stress and solve problems .
10. I feel very frightened of angry people.
11. I am quite offended by personal criticism.
12. To avoid feeling guilt and shame, I seldom stand up to people who disagree with me.
13. I tend to see people and situations as “all good” or “all bad.”
14. Though I try to please people, I often feel isolated and alone.
15. I trust people too much or not at all.
16 . My thoughts are often consumed with the troubles and needs of the addicted or depressed person in my life ?
17. I feel wonderful when I can fix others’ problems, but I feel terrible when I can’t ?
Total: Yes___ No___
—If you answered “yes” to 4 or fewer statements, you probably have relatively healthy boundaries, confidence, and wisdom in relationships. You can care about people without feeling responsible for their choices.
—If you answered “yes” to 5-12 statements, your life is shaped to a significant degree by the demands of needy people in your life. You often feel responsible for the choices others make, and you try too hard to help them make the right ones. You would benefit from the input of a competent counselor or support group.
—If you answered “yes” to 13 or more statements, you have lost your sense of identity, and you are consumed by the problems of addicted or depressed people in your life. You can’t be happy unless you are rescuing irresponsible people from their destructive decisions. In reality, however, your hope for sanity and emotional health is not in that person getting well. You have to take steps to get well whether that person does or not.