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How Do I Know If I Suffer from Codependency?

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Codependency has so many different definitions that it is difficult for people to really understand what types of behavior are associated with the condition. It is a very common and very treatable condition that impacts many women and families struggling with substance abuse or mental illness. Understanding the basics of the symptoms makes it that much easier for people to address and manage the condition. Codependency is difficult to recognize unless one is familiar with the symptoms.

Self-esteem and Codependency

People struggling with loved ones that suffer from mental illness or substance abuse are more likely to show symptoms of the condition.  Watching loved ones deal with these diseases can reduce one’s self esteem, especially if the person is a parent. Adults with codependency often feel a strong sense of responsibility for the family dynamic, a sense of being in control. They typically internalize the problems of their parents or children, and as a result, may begin to feel inadequate and helpless in their inability to solve problems out of their control like alcoholism or substance abuse. An individual’s family dynamic and strong sense of responsibility for fixing the problems of their parents or children creates the recipe for low self-esteem. Codependent individuals usually place the needs of others ahead of their own, and this behavior carries onto into other aspects of their lives.

Codependency in Adulthood

In a relationship, people who suffer from codependency tend to feel more responsible for those around them. They tend to ignore their own needs and put the needs of their partner or loved one before their own. The condition makes people stay in relationships that are not fulfilling, often with the motivation of fixing, saving, or helping the other person reach their full potential. Some codependent individuals find it difficult to set and maintain healthy boundaries with their partners and loved ones. After time has passed, the codependent person may start to recognize the imbalance and may become resentful. Others feel a reluctance to leave the relationship out of a fear of disappointing the other person. These people are chronic sufferers of anxiety and stress. In their failure to recognize the toxicity of a relationship, they tend to gravitate toward other unsuitable partners or loved ones. The needs of the partner of the codependent person will always be put first.

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Could you be suffering from codependency?  How many of these can you say “yes” to?

• Often feel a need to rescue the other person
• Fail to consider personal needs and desires
• Have problems establishing healthy boundaries and saying “no” to partners
• Put most of the work into the relationship while the other contributes little
• Desire to fix the other person
• Neglects personal and professional growth
• May stay in a relationship because they are “needed” or feel guilty leaving
• Constantly seeks the approval of the other person
• Struggles regularly with feelings of guilt
• Avoids dealing with the reality of the unhealthy relationship
• Have a fear of being rejected or abandoned

The first step to dealing with codependency is to recognize the signs, symptoms, and behaviors associated with the disorder.  Some women find themselves with codependency without recognizing the symptoms, while others recognize that their behavior is unhealthy and dangerous but are unable to break the behavior pattern.  If you or a woman you love is suffering from codependency, please call us today.  Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service addiction and women’s health treatment facility in Florida for women who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

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