Six Signs You May Be Codependent

Hi, I’m Sundi Jo and I’m a recovering codependent. It feels good to get that off my chest.

I’m not sure if there are different levels of codependency, but if there are, I was at the highest level possible – probably president of the club.

I like things to be fixed. To find a quick solution to the problem so we can move on. It’s easy for me to say, “Move over and let me fix your problem for you. I know how to do it better than you.” I feel important when I “fix you.”

What is Co-Dependency? 

Here’s the SJ definition:

Relying on the approval of, or being dependent on others for your self-worth.

We could dig deeper, but that’s the gist of it.

Why Co-Dependency? 

It’s important to get to the why behind the what. Many times it’s passed onto us from the generations before us. For me, it was a learned behavior. My mom was co-dependent. My grandma. Probably her mother.

We can also create it ourselves, without influence, especially when our self-esteem is rocked and we have the desire just to be loved by someone, anyone. We put blinders on to unhealthy relationships because we need relationships.

I was raised by a single mother, so we became each other’s support team as we got older. Not that supporting each other is wrong, but ours turned into an unhealthy relationship. There were times we switched roles and I seemed to play the “mother.” We didn’t know any better until other healthy people showed us. It’s what we knew.

I chose to be in a lesbian relationship for five years because I had someone I could fix and that made me feel important. It was safe. It took the spotlight off my own issues and allowed me to “help” my partner. We were both miserable and continued in an unhealthy circle of poor communication and the need to feel loved.

Before my dad died, I let him move in, convincing myself his addiction wasn’t that bad, because I longed for the relationship with my daddy I’d never had. I could fix him. I could spend time with him and he wouldn’t want to use. Oh… the blinders. It wasn’t long before our relationship was once again severed because of my codpendency, denial, and his addiction.

Codependency is a horrible addiction, just like the others. It can destroy you if you let it.

Are you Codependent? 

Are you struggling with codependency right now? Here are six signs you may be codependent:

  1. You’re enabling unhealthy behaviors in your relationships, and they’re doing the same for you.
  2. You’re sick all the time because you’re stressed out from helping everyone else except yourself.
  3. You have low self-worth, despite making others feel good about themselves.
  4. You feel devalued by those in relationships with you.
  5. Your mood is dictated by the mood of those closest to you.
  6. You’re angry about the way you are treated but keep your feelings to yourself, causing bitterness to rise up.

This is just a short list, but some key signs to pay attention to.

Dr. Henry Cloud, Christian Psychologist, says: “You know you’re codependent when, right before you die, somebody else’s life flashes before your eyes.”

There’s more truth to that statement than you realize.

Now What? 

You realize this post describes your perfectly. Your sitting smack dab in the middle of codependency. How do you get out?

Find a counselor. I don’t say that lightly. If you’re a person of faith, I recommend finding a Christian counselor who can walk through the healing process with you.

Find a Celebrate Recovery close to you. It’s not just for drug addicts and alcoholics. CR is for anyone struggling with hurts, habits, and hangups. I promise your codependency is all of the above, even if you don’t see it yet.

Study who you are in Christ. Find out what Jesus says about you. Your self-worth is not found in people, it’s found in Jesus.

Here’s the thing: you can’t recover from codependency on your own. You need healthy people to walk through it with you. It wasn’t until I saw  healthy relationships firsthand I realized how unhealthy mine were.

You may also need to be prepared to sever some of those unhealthy relationships. You may have to do it for your own sanity.

I don’t get it right all the time. I’m still a “fixer.” But I recognize the signs of where I’m heading much quicker than I used to.

Bye bye codependency.

Question: Can you recognize codependency in yourself, or have you struggled in the past? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’m sorry Sundi Jo, but I believe I was the queen of codependency. At least, that’s what my husband Mike used to say. This is one area I share with you. In fact, I wrote a piece on it that is tongue in cheek. Thanks for the reminder of what unhealthy looks like. GREAT post.

    • Well – I guess I’ll let you have the crown, Anne. 🙂

  • Vicky Lightner Cox

    I love Celebrate Recovery! I joined this year because I couldn’t live anymore being angry and trying to change my kids (or husband). I can’t say things are all better at home, but I’m better.

    • So glad you’re going, Vicky, and that things are better with you, even if the circumstances aren’t.

  • Right there with you friend. So thankful that our Wonderful Counselor moves in our lives to bring truth and healing.

  • Kevin

    Peg Roberts, a Christian Counselor in Minneapolis runs Spirit of Hope Counseling and is the author of a new book called “Reclaiming a Lost Soul.” This is a great read for anyone struggling with codependency! All the Best! Here is the link: http://www.spiritofhopecc.com/Reclaiming_A_Lost_Soul.html