The term Codependent originated in the 1970’s and has been in use for over 40 years. While countless of individuals might have heard and used the word codependent many times in their lifespan, many still do not know the exact truth about what it means. To start, it should be understood that codependence may not entirely be a vice as individuals with this behavior tend to put the need of others above their own which, however, can become very problematic if it is not kept in check. As humans, we will always reach out to others to fill some our emotional needs such as companionship, love, and acceptance. The need becomes a vice when one grows to be overly reliant on another person to meet his/her own emotional needs. It creates a one sided, emotionally taxing, and mentally draining, codependent relationship.
Occurrences of Codependency
One can describe codependency as “relationship addiction” because individuals with this behavioral pattern continuously look towards others, especially their spouses/significant others, to fulfill their needs. Just as other behavioral problems codependency does not show its from immediately. Instead, it only appear in flashes and only after a while will you realize that you are in a codependent relationship. These flashes can be mistaken as a sign of vulnerability at first but as time goes on, the repeated occurrence of these behaviors should raise questions.
Symptoms of Codependency
- The need to always be with someone
- Struggling with low self esteem
- Expecting others to be how you want them to be
- Blaming other for changes in your mood
- Having the tendency to be bossy
- Having a problem communicating with others
- Always worried about feeling abandoned or being alone
- Getting emotional or angry frequently and unexpectedly
- Doing anything to hold on to the relationship
You do not need to have all of these signs to be considered as having a codependent personality. However, if you or someone that you know is exhibiting a majority of these symptoms, it is best to step in and intervene.
Because codependency develops over time, it is important to understand that it will take time to change. The process is akin to resetting your lifestyle and learning a new set of behaviors. Thus it is important that you learn to be patient with yourself.
- Create a self-care regimen with the focus of loving yourself and fulfilling your needs on your own
- You deliberately set time aside for yourself to be alone. Doing this allow you to learn that being on your own is liberating and will help you heal
- Learn to forgive yourself
- Learn to be honest with yourself. Accept your flaws and embrace it
- Seek expert advice. Therapy sessions allow you to learn even more about yourself without having your judgement clouded by your biases
Although it does take time, it is worth going through these steps. Your future and your healing is worth the hard work it takes to obtain them. So begin today and do not let up.