Do you give too much of your energy to people or value other’s approval more than your own?
Are you really generous and often feel taken advantage of?
You could be codependent.
But what does it mean to be codependent?
Codependent is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days.
The reality is, a lot of relationships are codependent (so let’s just agree to stop pathologising the human need for intimacy and connection!).
And it isn’t all that bad. Being codependent just means that you have extra compassion, insight and qualities.
The only problem is that people who are codependent don’t dignify their qualities so they allow themselves to be taken advantage of by others.
Alternatively, they allow other people to determine their worth so they always look for other people’s approval to make a decision.
As soon as you’re able to dignify your qualities, you honour your value and you don’t stay in unhealthy relationships.
These might be relationships with emotionally unavailable partners who don’t know how to emotionally comfort you and hold space for you.
Ok, so what is codependency?
People use the word codependency to refer to a tendency to let other people’s feelings dictate how we feel.
If we’re codependent, we might use our generosity to purchase love that isn’t naturally there.
This continues the negative cycle of experiencing painful relationships because growing up we learn’t that love equals pain.
Essentially, we end up chasing people and trying to get them to love us when there is no love there.
Unsurprisingly, codependency is rooted in childhood. When growing up we learn’t that in order to be “worthy” of love, we needed to repress our thoughts, feelings, wants and needs. So, we learn’t to compromise what we wanted and needed and we allow ourselves to get engulfed in relationships.
So it’s only to be expected that once we endeavoured our own relationships later on in life, we become paralysed by our own internalised “program” which reminds us to put other’s needs before their own.
Here’s 10 signs that you’re codependent.
You have a sense of responsibility for others
A clear sign of codependency is that you have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for other people’s feelings, wants and needs. Meaning that other people’s thoughts and feelings dictate what you say and do.
For example, you might be in a relationship with someone who is avoidant. They don’t communicate with you and they don’t know how to emotionally comfort you when you need someone to hold space for you. But despite this, you stay in the relationship with them because you don’t want to hurt them and their needs become more important than your own.
You value other people’s approval more than your own
When you value other people’s approval more than your own, your self worth becomes determined by others. This has such a heavy weight on relationships because you can blow up easily by someone’s feedback.
This simply isn’t true. Only you determine your self worth and when you’re able to honour your qualities, you don’t get triggered by people’s thoughts and feelings about you.
For example, when your partner comes to talk to you about their feelings, you become triggered by their thoughts and feelings about you. This is because you don’t know your value and you think other people’s feelings about you determines your self worth.
So, the lesson here is to separate your self worth from other people’s opinions so that you can be present in your relationships.
You have weak boundaries
When you have weak boundaries, you’re laying the foundation of a codependent relationship. This often shows up as not having an ability to stop other people from invading your personal space.
For example, someone might belittle you or ask you questions that you’re not comfortable asking. You want to say no but your internal programming of being “nice” forces you to answer the question when you don’t want to.
So, the key here is to be aware of your boundaries so that you can protect your energy.
You feel guilty
One of the reasons why you find it hard to set boundaries is an underlying feeling of guilt and shame. It’s basically a lack of self love so you end up compromising your own wants and needs in order to please other people.
For example, if you’ve said no to someone and you feel guilty about it, you might feel the need to justify and explain your actions in an attempt to resolve your feelings of guilt.
You struggle to say no
People who are afraid of conflict, struggle to say no so they end up saying yes when they mean no. This is a recipe for disaster and it chips away at your self esteem and fuels the cycle of shame.
You find it difficult making decisions
If you’ve learn’t growing up that to be “nice” or be a “good girl” you have to put other people’s needs before your own, you’ll find it a hard time making decisions. This is because you’re afraid of rejection or being abandoned.
However, when you ignore your own wants and needs you end up abandoning yourself. So, the lesson here is to say how you feel and do what’s right for you, because the people in your life who matter won’t mind and the people who mind, don’t matter.
You find it difficult to receive
When you’re codependent you find it difficult accepting compliments and receiving gifts. This is likely to be because of an underlying feeling of shame and not feeling like you deserve it.
The truth is, giving and receiving is our birthright. We need to give and take just as much as we breathe in and out. So, start practicing receiving. When someone compliments you, say thank you.
Or when someone asks a question about what you, don’t redirect the conversation on them, hold your own space and saviour those moments of receiving.
You find it difficult to ask for what you want
Another sign of codependency is finding it difficult to ask for what you want. For example, in relationships you have difficulty asserting your needs and when you do, you tend to feel guilty afterwards.
I invite you to practice crystal clear communication and start asking for what you want. There’s no shame in having needs. We’re all human with needs for emotional intimacy and connection. We need to ask for what we want so that we can get our needs met.
You have a fear of being abandoned
When you’re in a relationship you have intense fears of losing the relationship and being abandoned. So, you might get anxious between the space between you and your partner or you might stay in unhealthy relationships because you’re afraid of being rejected.
This is separation anxiety and most likely you developed this when you were younger or before you can remember. If this is the case, hypnotherapy can help you to self soothe emotional triggers that cause separation anxiety. Hypnotherapy is amaaazing for this!
You have fake morality
Finally, another sign of codependency is having fake morality. Sometimes you think you might be “doing the right thing” or “being the bigger person” when you’re leading with love.
However, thinking that you can purchase love by being more caring or giving when the love isn’t there is foolish.
If someone is clearly disrespectful, immature or emotionally unavailable then they’re unable to give you the love that you deserve.
So, your challenge is to recognise this and only share your qualities with people who value you and reciprocate with you. All relationships need to have a flow of giving and receiving and if there isn’t, don’t cling on with false hope.
That’s it fokes, I hope you found this helpful and you’re more aware of the signs of codependency so that you can break patterns of behaviour and cultivate more positive behaviours.
Recognising the signs that you’re codependent is the first step towards change.
Remember, you’re infinitely worthy and no one else determines your worth apart from you. Know your value and set the standards for how other people treat you.
Related: How to recover from codependency and raise your value