Codependent relationships are defined with an unhealthy over attachment and dependency on another individual; that individual can be a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent, a friend or even a co-worker. It is identified when one person does not have self-sufficiency or any autonomy in their own life. Codependents often shield the other individual from feeling any natural consequences of unhealthy actions or behaviors. Codependency is very common in relationships struggling with addiction, mental health, eating disorders, and other self-harming behaviors. The codependent feels an almost compulsive need to protect the other person from negative thoughts, feelings, situations or events. Anyone can become a codependent, and it affects men and women in equal numbers.
Warning signs of a codependent relationship
- All of your satisfaction and self-esteem are wrapped up in another person
- You are unable to recognize unhealthy behaviors in yourself in regards to someone else
- You recognize unhealthy behaviors in your partner/son/daughter/lover, but remain in the relationship despite these issues
- You provide unconditional support to your partner/lover/son/daughter/spouse at the expense of your own health and well-being
- Anxiety is the leading feeling in the relationship
You can also consider if those around you family, friends, therapist, etc. have given you feedback that you are too dependent on someone else, or the thought of healthy separation causes increased anxiety or distress.