Recognizing Signs of Codependency
Table of Contents
What Is Codependency?
Codependency is when a person is physically, emotionally, or mentally reliant upon another person. It is commonly seen among romantic partners but can also occur with friends or family members. Individuals with substance use disorders, personality disorders, past trauma, or dysfunctional families are more susceptible to developing signs of codependency.
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Codependency vs. Dependency
What Are the Signs of a Codependent Person?
- Self-esteem is based on what they do for the other person, not who they are
- Don’t know what they want or need
- Tend to lose themselves in friendships and relationships
- Difficulty setting boundaries or saying no
- Often attract difficult or harmful people
- Have a hard time letting go of others
- Tend to expect perfection from themselves
How Do Codependent Relationships Start?
Codependency is a learned behavior, typically from caregivers or other influential people in a person’s life. This often happens due to destructive parental relationships, living with someone who has a physical or mental disorder, or substance abuse. Over time, these adverse life events can lead the individual to a lack of trust, low self-esteem, and fear of abandonment or rejection. These issues are causes and signs of codependency.
What Causes Codependency?
A dysfunctional family can also entail abuse. Childhood trauma and neglect can drastically interfere with developing healthy social skills and behaviors. More than two-thirds of children before the age of sixteen experience at least one traumatic event.1
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma is a significant factor in codependent relationships. Experiencing a traumatic event alters mental and emotional health in ways that adversely affect daily life. For example, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that causes people to relive traumatic events, such as experiencing flashbacks or triggers. Other symptoms include guilt, depression, anxiety, avoidance, and isolation.
Other Causes of Codependency
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Parents or caregivers who ignore their children’s needs in favor of their own
- Caregivers with a personality disorder
- Controlling or overprotective caregivers
- Criticism or bullying from parents, siblings, or peers
- One or both parents leaving the family
How to Overcome Codependency
Couples counseling and family therapy are effective solutions for partners and families experiencing signs of codependency. Couples and family therapists can help improve communication, trust, honesty, and conflict.
Reconnect With Loved Ones
Benefits of Professional Support for Codependency
Working with a professional to help with signs of codependency has many benefits. Mental health professionals can diagnose existing disorders and identify key factors that can induce negative emotions and behaviors. Trauma, mental health disorders, and substance use disorders significantly affect daily life and typically require professional help for lasting recovery and quality of life improvements.
Ways Professional Support Can Improve Wellness
- Recognizing key signs of codependency
- Overcoming people-pleasing tendencies
- Addressing related mental health symptoms, including feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression
- Reconnecting with one’s sense of self
- Setting healthy boundaries
Find Help for Codependency at Profound
If you recognize signs of codependency in your relationship or with your loved ones, Profound Recovery can help. Our medical team is ready to help alleviate your codependent behaviors and improve your quality of life. We also offer many therapies and programs, allowing us to create a treatment plan unique to your needs. Some of our treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, trauma therapy, and medication-assisted treatment.