The behaviors of co-dependency are learned in childhood as an effort to get your needs met from your caregivers. Oftentimes, your parents are not able to meet some or all of you physical and emotional needs due to some type of chemical dependency, mental illness, abuse or their own co-dependency that is keeping them focused on a disordered partner. As a result, the child learns any or all of the following behaviors to keep them safe. However, when carried into adulthood they can manifest into unhealthy behaviors with romantic partners and is often also present in your interactions with friends, family and coworkers.
- Caretaking – Feeling Responsible for solving others problem
- Offering advice when it is not asked for and then getting upset when they don’t follow it
- People Pleasing to receive love and approval from others instead of giving this love to themselves
- Taking everything personally (lack of boundaries)
- Feeling like a victim
- Using manipulation, shame or guilt to control other’s behaviors
- Making excuses for others bad behavior
- Fear of rejection and being unlovable
Also called Self-Love Deficit Syndrome and co-alcoholic, men and women find themselves in relationships that are often one-sided and result in the person losing their identity and further eroding an already weak sense of self-esteem. Because of their childhood experience, they believe that love is painful. The cure for co-dependency becoming aware of these behaviors and making a choice to stop doing them and to start creating healthy boundaries and focusing on self-care.
Here are some great resources to help you learn more:
- Co-Dependent No More – Melody Beattie
- The Language of Letting Go – Melody Beattie
- Facing Codependence: What it is, Where it Comes from, How it Sabotages Our Lives – Pia Mellody
- Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way you Love – Pia Mellody
- Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change – Robin Norwood
- It Will Never Happen to Me: Growing up with Addiction as Youngsters, Adolescents and Adults – Claudia Black, Ph.D.
- Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist. (How to end the Drama and get on with Life) – Margalis Fjelstad
- Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissist in their Struggle for Self – Elan Golomb
- The HumanMagnet Syndrome – Ross Rosenberg
- Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents – Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD