What are the Symptoms of Codependency?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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The symptoms of codependency and codependent behavior often revolve around an excessive, compulsive need to take care of other people at the expense of oneself. When a codependent person recognizes that another person feels sad or upset, for example, he or she will then feel those same emotions rather than simple empathy, and will attempt to immediately resolve the problem. The main signs of codependency involve sacrificing one's own happiness and well being, and viewing oneself as being a completely selfless person, all in the perceived service of another.

An excessive need to please others is another one of the most common symptoms of codependency. Though codependent behavior is most often associated with romantic relationships, it can occur in any type of relationship, such as friendships, familial relationships, or interactions in the workplace. A person who is codependent will not want to voice a differing opinion due to the need to please other people, and because of a fear of rejection. If two people are deciding on something fun to do, for example, the codependent person will generally just go along with whatever the other person wants to do, refusing to voice displeasure even if he or she is not interested in the activity.


The need to control others can be one of the signs of codependency, which may seem strange when compared with the symptoms above. However, the person who is codependent will often give advice without being asked, or will attempt to tell others how they "should" be behaving or feeling. If the other person does not take the advice, the person who is codependent will often feel angry and rejected; it is important for a codependent person to feel needed in every relationship they are in. In addition, frequently giving gifts or doing things for other people is another one of the symptoms of codependency; people will expect to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts.

Symptoms of codependency may also involve staying in harmful relationships, such as with an abusive person. Codependency is characterized by negatively impacting one's own life, but many people who behave in a codependent manner do not recognize the behavior in themselves. They may not be able to make decisions or recognize how they feel feel in a situation. These are just a few of the many possible symptoms of codependency; anyone who is concerned about this behavior in themselves may be able to find help by visiting a psychologist or attending a support group.


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Post 4

I never realized I was codependent. I thought I was an enabler, but it never crossed my mind that I am also codependent. I help anyone who needs help at the expense of my own happiness being at risk.

I help my son and his family financially without my husband knowing it because I thought that I could just keep peace. In my mind, I am keeping my son from the chaos that he creates on his own so it will seem like he is doing better than he is, and then I won't be ashamed or embarrassed that I have raised him to be a failure, and then I don't have to worry as much because I have fixed

everything. Along with this is that if I make things look as if they are running smoothly, my husband won't be upset. I am enabling him by making things look one way when they are really not so he will not be stressed out about the situation, even though he is anyway.

I enable my son who has autism by giving in to his obsession of buying diecast cars and auto magazines, and instead of trying to help change the situation of him needing to feed his obsession all the time. I also know that I contribute to him not being more independent by helping him do or doing things for him that he can do for himself, and just doesn't want to.

I have hidden the fact that we have less money in the bank than my husband thinks, plus ran up credit card debt in order to carry on like this.

It is so hard to stop once you start something like this because of the fear of destroying the relationships of everyone involved. This is the fourth time I have let this happen and I want the cycle to end. I am just so afraid of telling my husband about it.

Post 3

SurfNturf - I think overcoming codependency can begin with going to support group like Codependency Anonymous.

They offer meetings all over the country and even offer support via phone or email. You can also get help by reading books on codependency like “Dependent No More.”

I think that it is important that you surround yourself with positive people and seek therapy so that you can understand that you do deserve better and you can also learn how to let go of the guilt associated with codependent behavior.

For example, many women that remained in abusive and violent relationships often end of dead. I think that it is important for anyone in this situation to get help immediately because domestic violence only escalates and gets worse.

Post 2

Bhutan - I agree with what you said, but I also think that the symptoms of codependence involve an intense fear of abandonment.

I think that people that are codependent are so afraid of being alone that they will accept any relationship that comes their way.

For example, a women married to an alcoholic might buy the alcoholic his favorite drinks of choice in order for him to remain happy with her.

Although he is abusive and has a problem, the codependent actually prolongs the alcoholic’s problem because until someone with an addiction hits bottom they will not change.

It can also involve a mother that has an adult son that will not work and continue to

live off of her. The codependent person being the mother, feels guilty about giving her son an ultimatum and will continue to support her son despite the fact that she knows that her son will never improve his situation unless she stops helping him.
Post 1

I think that symptoms of a codependent relationship involve accepting abusive behavior in an effort to attempt to change the person.

People in a codependent relationship often give up their current happiness for the possibility of being happy in the future. They are always dreaming that things will get better and stay in relationships that are toxic because they want to help their partner.

They are often attracted to people with a lot of baggage because these are the people that need fixing.

I personally think that overcoming codependency comes from the ability to recognize that the relationship is not balanced or healthy.

It also requires the person to develop enough self esteem to understand that they deserve better and people will only change when they choose to.

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