Codependency is a pattern of learned, self-defeating behaviors and attitudes which cause pain in one’s relationships with self and others. The result of these learned erroneous behaviors and attitudes is that many other life skills are NOT learned. In other words, these tools are utilized repeatedly, becoming increasingly ingrained and rigid to the point that people don’t consider other, perhaps more effective ways of behaving.


Common Characteristics of Co-dependency:

*  Exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others

*  Confusing pity with love 

*  Pity and rescue of others

* Doing more than one’s share

* Feeling hurt when efforts aren’t recognized

Unhealthy dependence on relationships- willing to do anything to hold onto  

    relationships to avoid feelings of abandonment

*  Extreme need for approval and recognition

*  Sense of guilt when asserting ones’ self

* Need to control others

*  Lack of trust in self and others

*  Fear of being abandoned or alone

Difficulty identifying feelings

*  Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change

*  Problems with intimacy/boundaries

Chronic anger

*  Lying/dishonesty

*  Poor communication

*  Difficulties making decisions


Common Identifying Signs of Co-Dependency

  1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
  2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
  3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
  4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
  5. Are the opinions of others more important to you than your own?
  6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?
  7. Do you feel rejected when significant other spends time with their friends?
  8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
  9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings with others?
  10. Have you ever felt inadequate?
  11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
  12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
  13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?
  14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
  15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?
  16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?
  17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going in your life?
  18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?
  19. Do you have trouble asking for help?
  20. Do you have so many things going on at once that you can’t do justice to any of them?


If you find that you have answered “yes” to several of the items listed above, or are concerned about your use of some of the characteristics noted here; you might consider contacting someone at the St. Louis Wellness Center to help you explore your own behavioral patterns and make helpful changes.

St. Louis Website Development by Cybermill Interactive