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Signs and Symptoms of Codependency

Codependency involves a habitual system of thinking, feeling, and behaving toward ourselves and others that can cause pain. Codependent behaviors or habits are self-destructive.

We frequently react to people who are destroying themselves; we react by learning to destroy ourselves. These habits can lead us into, or keep us in, destructive relationships that don't work. These behaviors can sabotage relationships that may otherwise have worked. These behaviors can prevent us from finding peace and happiness with the most important person in our lives... ourselves. These behaviors belong to the only person we can change.. ourselves. These are our problems.

The following are characteristics of codependent persons: (We started to do these things out of necessity to protect ourselves and meet our needs.)


Codependents may:

  1. Think and feel responsible for other people---for other people's feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being, lack of well-being, and ultimate destiny.
  2. Feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem.
  3. Feel compelled - almost forced - to help that person solve the problem, such as offering unwanted advice, giving a rapid-fire series of suggestions, or fixing feelings.
  4. Feel angry when their help isn't effective.
  5. Anticipate other people's needs.
  6. Wonder why others don't do the same for them.
  7. Don't really want to be doing, doing more than their fair share of the work, and doing things other people are capable of doing for themselves.
  8. Not knowing what they want and need, or if they do, tell themselves what they want and need is not important.
  9. Try to please others instead of themselves.
  10. Find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others rather than injustices done to themselves.
  11. Feel safest when giving.
  12. Feel insecure and guilty when somebody gives to them.
  13. Feel sad because they spend their whole lives giving to other people and nobody gives to them.
  14. Find themselves attracted to needy people.
  15. Find needy people attracted to them.
  16. Feel bored, empty, and worthless if they don't have a crisis in their lives, a problem to solve, or someone to help.
  17. Abandon their routine to respond to or do something for somebody else.
  18. Overcommit themselves.
  19. Feel harried and pressured.
  20. Believe deep inside other people are somehow responsible for them.
  21. Blame others for the spot the codependents are in.
  22. Say other people make the codependents feel the way they do.
  23. Believe other people are making them crazy.
  24. Feel angry, victimized, unappreciated, and used.
  25. Find other people become impatient or angry with them for all of the preceding characteristics.

Low Self Worth

Codependents tend to:

  1. Come from troubled, repressed, or dysfunctional families.
  2. Deny their family was troubled, repressed or dysfunctional.
  3. Blame themselves for everything.
  4. Pick on themselves for everything, including the way they think, feel, look, act, and behave.
  5. Get angry, defensive, self-righteous, and indigent when others blame and criticize the codependents -- something codependents regularly do to themselves.
  6. Reject compliments or praise.
  7. Get depressed from a lack of compliments and praise (stroke deprivation).
  8. Feel different from the rest of the world.
  9. Think they're not quite good enough.
  10. Feel guilty about spending money on themselves or doing unnecessary or fun things for themselves.
  11. Fear rejection.
  12. Take things personally.
  13. Have been victims of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse,neglect, abandonment, or alcoholism.
  14. Feel like victims.
  15. Tell themselves they can't do anything right.
  16. Be afraid of making mistakes.
  17. Wonder why they have a tough time making decisions.
  18. Have a lot of "shoulds".
  19. Feel a lot of guilt.
  20. Feel ashamed of who they are.
  21. Think their lives are not worth living.
  22. Try to help other people live their lives instead.
  23. Get artificial feelings of self-worth from helping others.
  24. Get strong feelings of low self-worth - embarrassment, failure, etc...from other people's failures and problems.
  25. Wish good things would happen to them.
  26. Believe good things never will happen.
  27. Believe they don't deserve good things and happiness.
  28. Wish others would like and love them.
  29. Believe other people couldn't possibly like and love them.
  30. Try to prove they're good enough for other people.
  31. Settle for being needed.
Parent Category: Topics
Category: Codependency