The Realization That You May Have Co-Dependent Patterns
I will share here with you as, unfortunately there are many adults in our days, whom are sons and daughters of narcissistic parents and themselves transform into adults, partners and parents with narcissistic and co-dependent patterns that pass to their own kids. This goes in chain, generation after generation and never stops, Until we decide to look a this with the proper eyes and be willing to really research about that, get as much informed as possible, become aware and start on the Path of Healing, taking out all of this “coat of shit” that our parents (or caregivers) had put on us, and may God save us from us to do the same with our kids.
WHAT IS CO-DEPENDENCY
Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral 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. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.
Who Does Co-dependency Affect?
Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence. Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. Similar patterns have been seen in people in relationships with chronically or mentally ill individuals. Today, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.
What is a Dysfunctional Family and How Does it Lead to Co-dependency?
A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following:
- An addiction by a family member to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, or gambling.
- The existence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
- The presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.
Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors.” They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust. The identity and emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family are often inhibited
Attention and energy focus on the family member who is ill or addicted. The co-dependent person typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.
How Do Co-dependent People Behave?
Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine – and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.
They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.
The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy care taking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the care taking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships.
Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:
- 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
- Poor communications
- Difficulty making decisions
Codependent Personality Patterns
As a result of living in addicted or dysfunctional families, codependents adopt certain personality patterns that hinder their ability to maintain healthy and nurturing relationships with themselves or others. This article describes the predominate personality patterns and some of the signs and symptoms exhibited by codependents.
Signs & Symptoms
The Fellowship of Codependents Anonymous, has characterized the codependent personality patterns to the following 4 categories:
1- Denial Patterns
Codependents have difficulty identifying what they are feeling.
They minimize, distort, or deny how they truly feel.
They perceive themselves as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.
They believe that their fulfillment and happiness is dependent on others.
2- Low Self-Esteem Patterns
Codependents have difficulty making decisions.
Their decisions are based on what suits others.
They judge everything they think, say, or do harshly, and as never good enough.
They rarely request that others meet their needs or satisfy their desires.
They seek other people’s approval for how to think, feel, and behave.
They perceive themselves as unlovable and not worthwhile.
They are embarrassed when receiving recognition or praise or gifts.
3- Compliance Patterns
Codependents compromise their own values and integrity to avoid rejection or other people’s anger.
They are extremely sensitive, often feeling other people’s feelings.
They are loyal to an extreme degree, remaining in harmful situations or abusive relationships.
They value the opinions and feelings of others more than their own, and are often afraid to express opinions and feelings that differ from others.
They put aside their own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
They accept sex when they want love.
4- Control Patterns
Codependents believe others are incapable of solving their own problems.
They believe it is their responsibility to help and rescue other people.
They attempt to tell others what they “should” think and how they “truly” feel.
They become resentful when others reject their help.
They are in the habit of offering others unsolicited advice and directions.
They lavish gifts and favors on people in order to be liked or loved.
They use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
They have to feel needed in order to have a relationship with others.
Signs & Symptoms
Those affected by codependency can exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
1. Difficulty developing or sustaining meaningful relationships.
2. Excessive dependence on things or people outside themselves.
3. Low self-esteem that is often projected onto others.
4. Inability to recognize what “normal” is.
5. Accepting responsibility for others’ feelings or actions.
6. Neglecting their own needs and wants.
7. Constantly trying to please others and seeking approval and affirmation.
8. Judging self and others without mercy.
9. Letting others dominate or abuse them.
10. Belief that others cause or are responsible for the quality of their lives.
11. Reacting in extreme ways.
12. Inability to see alternatives to situations and responding impulsively.
13. Feelings of being different, either worse or better than others.
14. A weak sense of personal identity and loss of touch with one’s real self.
15. Difficulty knowing their own feelings and wishes.
16. Being overly responsible.
17. Difficulty setting realistic personal boundaries.
18. Lack of self-confidence in making decisions, while being unaware they have choices.
19. Feelings of fear, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, hurt, and shame, which are denied.
20. Isolation and fear of people.
21. Resentment of authority figures.
22. Fear of expressing feelings, especially anger.
23. Addicted to drama and excitement.
24. Dependency upon others and fear of abandonment.
25. Avoidance of relationships to guard against abandonment fears.
26. Tendency to look for “victims” to help.
27. Frequently feeling resentful and victimized.
28. Excessive efforts to control or change their environment or the people in it.
29. Rigidity and need to control.
30. Dishonest and manipulative.