Codependency can be defined as any relationship in which two people
become so invested in each other that
they can’t function independently anymore.
Your mood, happiness, and identity are defined by the other person.
In a codependent relationship, there is usually one person who is more passive and can’t make decisions for themselves, and a more dominant personality
who gets some reward and satisfaction from controlling the other person
and making decisions about how they will live.
Codependency becomes problematic when one person is taking
advantage of the other financially or emotionally.
Enabling is a sign of an unhealthy codependence.
Mary-Catherine Segota, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at Counseling Resource Services in Winter Garden, Florida, describes enabling as a behavior that's used to
ease relationship tension caused by one partner’s problematic habits.
Enabling behavior, which is rarely seen in healthy relationships, includes bailing your partner out, repeatedly giving him or her another chance, ignoring the problem, accepting excuses, always being the one trying to fix the problem,
or constantly coming to the rescue.
Codependent personalities usually follow a pattern of behaviors that are consistent, problematic, and directly interfere with the individual’s emotional health and ability to find fulfillment in a relationship.
“Signs of codependency include excessive caretaking,
controlling, and preoccupation with people and things outside of ourselves,”
says Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, a consultant, educator,
and author of numerous books, including Understanding Codependency.
Signs of codependency include:
- Having difficulty making decisions in a relationship
- Having difficulty identifying your feelings
- Having difficulty communicating in a relationship
- Valuing the approval of others more than valuing yourself
- Lacking trust in yourself and having poor self-esteem
- Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need for approval
- Having an unhealthy dependence on relationships, even at your own cost
- Having an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others