18 Signs Your Ex Is Co-Dependent – Or Maybe You’re Co-Dependent

Co-dependency is a learned behaviour that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioural condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.

Co-dependent behaviour is learned by watching and imitating other family members who repress emotions and disregard their own needs. From this dysfunctional family dynamics, a co-dependent person develops:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship to avoid
  • the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or 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
  • Difficulty making decisions

How do you know you are co-dependent?

Co-dependency appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms is on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of co-dependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from co-dependency but if you experience a number of them, chances are that you may actually be co-depended.

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

Also see: Moving Beyond Co-Dependency – Learning A New Way

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