Are You Codependent or just Care too Much?

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

Many of us deal with codependency in our lives. We tend to be codependent in our relationships. Often it is difficult to identify whether it is codependence or just caring. 

One thought we may have when we have codependency finds us wondering what we are going to do next in our life. What are we going to do, what are we going to achieve? We often have questions about how someone else will respond if we make a particular choice, or take a job offer. We are concerned about how the boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse will respond.

There tends to be a lot of guilt, shame, and fear about what we need to be doing but, we seem to put ourselves last. As a codependent, it is not about what we want to do, it’s more about how everyone else will respond if we choose a particular direction. 

Another thought the codependent often has is, what about them? What about their dreams, pursuits, and desires? While thinking about this, the guilt has already begun to hit because you are thinking about it. When we become more codependent, we tend to put others first. We also tend not to do what we want because we feel guilty about doing what we want. Sometimes we can feel neglected. It seems as though we are doing all these things for others and it does not feel like they are doing the same for us. This leads us to feel disgruntled and resentful for not following our dreams or thinking clearly about what we want to do in our lives. 

We may feel that in our main relationship, we feel unheard. It feels like they do not see us or understand us. We try to understand them and be there for them emotionally but it seems that they are not there for us. Sometimes we may make light of this, or make excuses for them. We might say that they had a bad day or they are tired.

A lot of folks who are dealing with codependency have to find other people to share their ideas with instead of having these conversations with their spouse or significant other where they do not feel heard. This can be scary for the codependent, or they may feel guilty about bringing up the things that they need. 

Some of the thoughts we may have are about things that we want in our lives. Perhaps we want to go back to school, take a job offer, or move to a new location. Thinking about these things brings us joy, but in the moment of joy, we have that moment of guilt or fear. We worry about how everyone else will respond to our decision. We may even wonder if we deserve it.

A lot of codependents tend to not do what they want in life out of fear of hurting other people’s feelings. They fear that the other person does not want them to do something. Also, feeling that they are self-centered or narcissistic in doing something that not everyone agrees with. If we are putting what we want on the back burner we need to analyze why we are doing that. 

Do you feel overwhelmed, like you are judging other people’s emotions, almost as if it is a responsibility? It seems that our needs, thoughts, and desires are so low on the list we rarely get to them. Because of this, we are not even able to think about how it would feel to be able to be successful and achieve the things we want.

Codependents need to overcome the guilt, which is so difficult for the codependent to overcome. We need to be able to walk through this and think about what it would feel like to do something we want to do. How would it feel if we put our feelings first, how would it impact or change our lives? 

It does not make us a bad person to think about these things. Codependency is not a horrible thing; it just takes us off-target from doing the things that we need to do. We can recover and slow down the codependent tendencies, by identifying and seeing them more clearly.

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