Understanding Codependency

(From Codependent No More by Melody Beattie)

Definition of Codependency – A Codependent is a person who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her in such a way that they become obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.

Characteristics of Codependents

  1. Reactionaries – overreact or under-react to situations rather than taking action.
  2. Controlling – try to control everyone and everything rather than taking control of own life and happiness.
  3. Givers / Not Receivers – constantly give to others (often resenting it), but don’t know how to give to themselves or to accept gifts from others.
  4. Indirect – may become manipulative and controlling rather than asking for needs to be met directly.
  5. Hide True Feelings – often have difficulty dealing with anger or expressing anger in appropriate ways. Codependents frequently keep people guessing about their true feelings and thoughts, but then blame others for not guessing their correctly.
  6. Caretakers – try to anticipate others’ needs and may feel responsible when others aren’t happy.
  7. Feel Like Victims – often criticize themselves, but may feel angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indignant when other criticize them or blame them for problems. (i.e. “How can you say that after all that I have done for you.”)
  8. Lots of “Shoulds” – think they know best how people should behave and how things should turn out.
  9. Dependency – tolerate abuse and pain to keep people “loving” them.
  10. Denial – deny own feelings and needs. Codependents deny that they feel angry. They may deny that they are part of the problem or even deny that that there is a problem.