Codependency: Signs and How to Overcome It

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional relationship wherein one person enables or supports a partner who is under-functioning, addicted, immature, or struggles with their own mental health challenges.  It involves a compulsive need from the codependent person to care take of others to an unhealthy degree.

Here are some signs of codependency


Denial Patterns:

I minimize, alter, or deny how I am feeling, or may not know how I feel.

I see myself as dedicated to others and am unselfish.

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

I have difficulty making decisions.

I judge everything I think, say, or do as never “good enough.”
I don’t ask others to meet my needs.
I value other’s approval of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors more than my
I do not perceive myself as a lovable person.
Compliance Patterns:
I compromise my own values to avoid rejection or someone’s anger.
I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
I am loyal to the extent that I remain in harmful situations too long.
I am often afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
I engage in sex when I don’t want to.

Control Patterns:

I become resentful when others will not let me help them.

I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.

I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.

I have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others.


Codependency is a common trait and may people seek out mental health supports to overcome it. Beginning the process of healing from codependent patterns, it is best to stat with working on yourself-the only person you can truly affect and change. It helps to start by supporting healthy boundaries for yourself. If you think of boundaries on a spectrum, there are porous boundaries on one end and rigid boundaries on the other. Someone with codependent traits will often bounce from one end of the spectrum to the other. i.e. from having almost no boundaries, to being very closed off. Healthy boundaries are in the middle. The middle path is illustrated by someone who has equal respect for themselves and those they interact with every day. This might look like someone who is in touch with their feelings, practices self awareness, and communicates needs clearly and respectfully. Try focusing on this middle path of boundaries and notice what changes take place.


Lisa Wilmore, LPC

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