Thursday, March 29, 2012

Codependency and You

Finally let’s check out a brief list of things you can ask yourself or contemplate about yourself:

Characteristics of Codependency: Are you Codependent?

1. My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you

Actually no. You can hurt me, but feeling good about myself is determined by what I think of myself.

2. My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.

Nope. I generally believe I’m a bad person regardless of how much you approve of me. When I think I’m a good person it’s for my own reasons.

3. Your struggle affects my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving your problems/relieving your pain. I feel compelled to help you solve your problems or try to take care of your feelings.

Yes, this often happens. It distresses me to see people I care about struggling.
4. My mental attention is focused on you.


5. My mental attention is focused on protecting you.

Depends on the person.
6. My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to do it my way.

Nope. I don’t need other people to do things my way. I just need other people to accept that I will be doing things my way.
7. My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems.

Sure. It feels good knowing that I was able to help out someone that I care about.
8. My self-esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain.

Again, **see above**.
9. My own hobbies/interests are put to one side. My time is spent sharing your hobbies/interests.

10. Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me.

Nope, not even a little.
11. Your behavior is dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me.

12. Do you feel empty, bored and worthless if you don’t have someone else to take care of, a problem to solve, or a crisis to deal with?

Hm. I never really thought about it this way. I feel empty and bored often, whether I’m in a relationship or not, but these feelings are lessened when I’m with someone. That could simply be because I’m not alone and actually doing engaging things though. Hm.

13. I am not aware of what I want - I ask what you want. I am not aware - I assume.

This is often true in terms of what I want. I rarely know what I want but this has more to do with my dissociation and not being able to attach myself to my emotions. I am aware, I rarely assume. If I don’t know, I ask.
14. The dreams I have for my future are linked to you.

Don’t people often envision their future with a partner? For instance, if you’re married you probably should have your spouse linked to your dreams.  
15. My fear of rejection determines what I say or do.

16. My fear of your anger determines what I say or do.

Hm. Sometimes. I’ll give this a 7 out of 10. This is often a response to abuse though and not codependency.  When I was with Evil-Ex this was approximately 100% true. When I disagree with say, Tech Boy, it’s only true if it’s a very important issue to me.
17. I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship.

True. Definitely true.
18. My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you.

The only time this happened was with Evil-Ex and that was due to the abusive nature of the relationship and the fact that I had just moved to a new state and didn’t have many friends while he limited my ability to make new ones.
19. I put my values aside in order to connect with you .

This might happen at first when I’m just starting to get to know someone and I think it will cause a rejection due to it being a “major” issue but not usually. I’m very opinionated and I don’t care who knows it.
20. I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own.

Only if it is actually a more efficient way of doing things. *Hint* It’s probably not. I’m an engineer, being efficient is what I do.

21. The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours

Nope. But if you’re miserable and don’t want to do anything, then I may be more miserable because you don’t want to do anything and I don’t like to see the people I care about being unhappy. Pretty sure that’s called empathy.  

22. Do you find it easier to express anger about injustices done to others than about injustices done to you?

Yes. My ability to tolerate and deal with my own problems is very high and I don’t like to complain or allow other people to see that things effect me in a negative way that could make them perceive me as “weak”.

23. Do you stay in relationships that don’t work and tolerate abuse in order to keep people loving you?

::sigh:: I have before.

24. Do you lose interest in your own life when you are in love?

Nope. I have much more interest in my own life when I am in love. To be true though this also includes being much more interested in the person I’m wish and “making” them happy.

25. Do you have a hard time saying no to others, even when you are very busy, financially broke, or completely exhausted?

Oh yeah.

26. Does it seem as if many of your friends have particularly chaotic lives, with one crisis after another?

Traditionally yes. Currently I’m in a place where my friends seem to be very stable, and as a result I seem to be more stable. I feel the energy of those around me and I know I often pick up on and react to that. I love being able to help my friends, but honestly I can’t deal with them relying on me excessively. It becomes too much pressure for me and I need time to escape.

And here are a couple Questions to ask yourself about your current or past relationships:

Question 1: Is this relationship more important to me than I am?

I know this has definitely been a problem for me in the past. Definitely and unquestioningly. The majority of my relationships have not been though.

Question 2: What price am I paying for being with this person?

This is a question I constantly asked myself with Evil-Ex and what finally got me in the end. There was just no denying the cost I was paying.

Question 3: Am I the only one putting energy into this relationship?

 Again this is something that I recognize in my longer abusive relationships. When I date normal, healthy people this is certainly far from the truth. I am often the one pursued more than I seek to spend time with them (because while I do hate to be alone, I also need a lot of time to myself).

I recognize that I do have some codependent traits, but overall I am not codependent. Two main reasons really jump out at me.

One. My self-worth isn’t actually dependent on someone else. Someone I am attached to can certainly wound my self-worth but just the act of being with someone, feeling wanted by someone, does not increase how I value myself. My self-worth may be low at times but it’s not dependent on anyone else to be lifted. 

Two. While I do prefer to be with someone, even in the terror of abandonment, I know that I’ll survive just fine on my own. My survival is not dependent on anyone else. I’ve never believed that without someone I wouldn’t be able to go on.

It’s funny. My self-worth is often higher and more stable when I’m single. With no one else to worry about. With no one else to accommodate I can focus entirely on what I need to do which makes me feel more stable. Accommodation? Isn’t that a codependent thing? When I’m with someone else my compulsive routines are often disrupted because I don’t attempt to control all our interactions. It does spin me out of sorts but normal people don’t have the rigid structure I design into my life and I don’t expect it of anyone else.  It’s just considerate. Accommodation, cooperation, taking the other person into consideration, these things should be a part of a relationships sometimes.

For me, personally I think my codependent traits are amplified when I am in an abusive relationship. In a relationship where my self-worth is actually being threatened and destroyed, not just if I were to perceive it might be. I think my problem has more to do with becoming engulfed in these relationships, but there is a difference between codependency and engulfment. This also makes me wonder about the kind of people that I am drawn to and the relationship between Borderline Personality Disorder and abusive relationships.  

A dear Reader brought up this point: "{Codependency is} about control. One is attempting to control the people around them. It usually stems from attempts to control the emotional states of the parents on the part of the child. The desire that if I could have just been this or that, they would have been happy so I would have been happy."

This sentiment strikes me. I don't think there is ever a 'good enough'. There is always 'could be better'. I never doubted that my parents loved me, I always recognized that they were pushing me to succeed and be the best that I could be. “Good enough” is just something I accepted as being not achievable. I've always been dependent, wanting love, but strong willed and therefore incapable of being controlled, even at the expense of losing {my parents} love. I was never worried about that. I think a lot of my issues may stem from my parents pushing me to be independent too early. I had so many lessons of "you need to learn how to take care of yourself", "you need to learn to deal with your {whatever}", "I won't always be around so you have to learn to do it". I don't know how to rely on other people, even when I want to.

This may contribute to why I have such a hard time asking directly and my emotions and reactions would manifest in more manipulative ways. I couldn't rely on anyone consciously even when my subconscious knew I needed help. So I went about it destructively. In a way that was very unhelpful to anyone.

So those are my thoughts. How about you? Has codependency affected your life? How so?


  1. i am a parent that encourages my young adult children towards independence.Part of that is asking for help when you need it.But only from those those that you want it.It has meaning then.As a woman I have learnt that being open to what I need will only hit my core,,from specific people,,if I receive help on any level,,it will usually be from those that I can "let myself bleed out with" and not be judged.Does that make me borderline too? It only makes me human.Boring human.Its more mysterious and charged to be BPD.Lets all succumb to chaos.Its easier.

    1. Yes, what you describe is reasonable human dependency. Being able to rely or depend on someone when the situation is reasonable is a normal, healthy thing to do.

      With codependency it's a constant need to have someone else provide reassurance and be emotionally attached to. It's an order of magnitude more intense.

      I have a terrible time doing anything normal or healthy. I simply don't know how to rely on, depend on, or even ask for help from people usually.

  2. Hi Haven,
    I liked reading your blog. I am very co-dependent to the point where I will ring my boyfriend at five minute intervals and will go round to his house to see him even when he wants to be by himself. Every time we have a fight I feel like we have broken up and I must speak to him straight away to make sure we are still together. By myself I am empty and have no self-identity. I only exist when I am with him. I see him every day and if I don't I feel anxious. I don't know what to is bad for our relationship : (

    1. ::hugs:: Yes, that's definitely not going to do your relationship any favors. Have you tried therapy at all? Have you discussed with your boyfriend exactly how you feel and told him why you feel this need to always be around? Perhaps you can work on some way for him to have the space he needs while providing you with the reassurance you need to reduce your anxiety.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Hi. Can u please put my name as anonymous or delete my comment. (Amber)


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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