What Is Codependency?

Someone who is codependent is one who has let another person's behavior or feelings affect them in a way that interferes with their work, creativity, other relationships and/or personal growth. Alternately, the word codependency also refers to people who are preoccupied with controlling other people's behaviors and feelings. Contrary to what many people think, codependency does not only refer to dependent relationships that involve substance abuse. Its connotations are far broader. Codependents tend to be overly concerned with other people's problems while ignoring or neglecting their own needs and wants, resulting in an inability to feel balanced, whole, and empowered. Codependency is one of our most destructive psychological habits, and, unfortunately, one of the most prevalent. Distorted and damaged self-esteem is often the root of codependency. When we feel healthy and whole, we understand that we cannot control other people's feelings, ideas, or behaviors. We make decisions that are best for us, and others are afforded this same right and responsibility.

Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence (as defined by Codependents Anonymous - CODA)

Denial Patterns:

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

Compliance Patterns:

Control Patterns:

Codependency is a learned pattern of intra- and inter- personal relating; and therefore, can be "unlearned" and replaced with healthier patterns of loving oneself and loving and relating to others.

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