Original content by Ashley Berges
Co-dependency and being co-dependent are words we hear often. It may make you wonder if you are co-dependent or if your partner is co-dependent? Much of the time we are unaware that we may be co-dependent. We may spend a considerable amount of time worried and concerned about others, while not having the correct boundaries to protect ourselves. This results in losing our identity.
There are many indications to help identify if we or someone we are with is co-dependent.
1. You feel responsible for others’ feelings and actions.
It does not matter what the issue is, the last person you think about is yourself. When manipulated, resulting in hurt feelings, you are still worried about the other person. Believing that you are the reason they are feeling the way they do.
2. You become the savior in the relationship.
You become the caregiver, wanting to save them from whatever the situation is. Very often, this is a role you have been playing your entire life. Furthermore, you find identity in being someone’s savior or caregiver.
3. Your feelings depend on the other person.
If the other person is happy, you are happy. When they are unhappy, you are unhappy. This helps to explain co-dependency. Everyone has their own feelings. We must be able to be ok with our feelings despite how someone else may be feeling. Moreover, it is easy to lose ourselves very quickly by regulating ourselves based on someone else’s feelings.
4. You do not have values, because you do not know what you stand for.
You have been doing so much for others for so long, that you do not know what you want in your life. Value is derived from doing for others. Instead of doing for yourself and having intrinsic value, you get your value extrinsically
You were not taught to value yourself. Often, our parents were co-dependent. They did not see their value, and as a result, you were not able to see your value. On the flip side, you may have been raised in a narcissistic family. The only way to get attention was to do whatever you could for your parents. Hence, these behaviors could lead you into other relationships that give power to unhealthy people. Very few healthy people will enter a relationship with someone who is co-dependent. A healthy person will seek out someone who can see their value.
Co-dependents are people pleasers, they want others to like them no matter what it takes. When we do anything for acceptance, we do not have any boundaries. There is a fear that if we go against what someone else likes, they will not like us. Often, we keep our feelings and opinions to ourselves; we just want the other person to be happy and derive our value through their happiness.
5. You have low self-esteem and low self-worth.
It is crucial to figure out the low self-esteem component when it comes to co-dependency. This needs to be figured out to identify all the other factors that go into being co-dependent. Additionally, self-esteem as a co-dependent is based on helping others and not developing a true sense of self.
When you are co-dependent, you are extremely hard on yourself. This results in feeling poorly about yourself when you do not receive positive feedback.
6. You feel that you can fix others and ignore red flags.
A co-dependent will try to salvage a toxic relationship rather than walk away from it. They do this because they fear being alone even though they see the red flags. Therefore, they feel validated when they can fix a “project”. If the co-dependent helps someone, they feel valued.
Co-dependents have been trying to save others their entire lives. Believing that if they save someone, that person will always love them and never leave them.
If you are dealing with some of these indications, most likely you are co-dependent. Co-dependency will get in the way of you living your true life. It is important to find the love within yourself. Get out of the toxic cycle and learn to love and value yourself, not seek it from others.
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