Am I Codependent?
Codependency is when someone (spouse, parent, sibling, coworker, or friend) allows another person’s behavior to control his/her thoughts, feelings, or actions. Codependents tend to live their lives in response or reaction to the other person’s behavior or attitudes, and measure their own worth by the value given to them by the other. The codependent person no longer has life of their own, and may find themselves unable to relate to others in a healthy way, but not know why.
Codependency can lead to various long-term problems, such as low self-esteem (sense of failure and inadequacy), depression (feeling hopeless and helpless), numbing of emotions, health problems (such as headaches, asthma, ulcers and high blood pressure), or persistent relationship difficulties.
There is hope and healing for codependents, however. Codependents can become actors, rather than reactors. It takes time, courage and determination to begin the recovery journey, but it’s worth it. You can get started today by honestly asking the question, “Am I codependent?”
Circle the number below of any statement that seems to describe you in relationships. Take your time. This is an exercise in curiosity not in self-criticism. Codependency makes it difficult to see your own thoughts, feelings and actions clearly because your focus is primarily on others. In codependency, value comes from the opinions of others and safety comes from feeling needed. The following list is intended to help you to identify those areas of codependent response that are your particular areas of struggle in relationships. Be curious. The beginning of recovery is getting to know yourself more clearly.
1. My relationships often involve people who need my help or are somehow dependent on me.
2. When I can’t help someone, I feel guilty and responsible for their upset feelings.
3. In the last year, significant others have resorted to arguing, begging or raising their voice to get me to stop trying to help them.
4. I spend a lot of time thinking through or projecting outcomes, trying to figure out what I can do to get the outcome I want.
5. It’s difficult for me to receive praise or thanks from others.
6. I do not like to let myself get angry. When I do, I often lose control and feel ashamed.
7. It’s difficult for me to say “No” or to ask for things that I need at home, at work, or with friends.
8. I often over-commit my time and measure my self-esteem by how much someone depends on me
9. It is hard for me have fun or relax; if I’m not productive, I feel worthless.
10. It’s difficult to believe that someone could truly love me.
11. I am afraid of being hurt or abandoned if I allow myself to be loved.
12. I find it easy to criticize and blame others, although I don’t like to admit it.
13. I seem to justify or make excuses for others’ actions when they have hurt me.
14. When I know a relationship is about to end, I will stay in it until I can begin another relationship.
15. It is easy to make me feel guilty because I take responsibility for others and blame myself for their upset.
16. I am not sure what normal is.
17. I often take a stand in a relationship and then go back on what I said if it causes tension.
18. I am not aware of what I want. I ask others what they want.
19. I tend to be sick a lot. I can’t seem to fight off infection, but it doesn’t stop me.
20. There never seems to be enough time to do things I enjoy doing.
If you answered “Yes” to less than 6 questions you are a person who goes out of the way to be helpful but is not codependent because you do not feel driven to be needed and your value does not depend on the approval of significant others.
If you answered “Yes” to more than 6 questions, then codependency is clearly part of your relationships. You are known to be helpful, self-sacrificing, hard working, trustworthy and self-sufficient. What turns these strengths into codependency is when you “need to be needed” in order to feel that you have any value. If this test indicates that codependency is a struggle for you, therapy services can be of great benefit.
If you want to learn more about codependency or schedule a session with a therapist to learn more about breaking the cycle of codependency, contact Amanda Spriggs today to schedule an appointment.