Many of us with addictions and mental and emotional health issues often find ourselves in codependent relationships. They are sometimes also referred to as addictive relationships, but codependence is not limited to romantic relationships. We can be codependent with family and friends as well, and more generally we can be codependent with the people in our lives. How do we know if we are codependent?
Do you feel emotionally reliant on other people, or another person in particular? More specifically, do you feel like you are not emotionally independent and rely too much on other people’s validation, acceptance, or approval? When you are at odds with someone, do you feel like your world has been turned upside down? When you’re arguing or not speaking, do you feel like you can’t function without them? Codependence is known for being excessively dependent emotionally and psychologically on other people.
When we are in a codependent relationship, we often prioritize the other person’s needs over our own. The relationship takes precedence over our own wellbeing. We may even put ourselves in harm’s way for other people, stay in toxic relationships, and allow ourselves to be emotionally, mentally and/or physically abused. Do you do things you regret, stay in situations you know are unhealthy, because you can’t let this person go? Do you feel afraid or unable to speak up for yourself, advocate for or defend yourself? Do you feel unable to leave them even when you know your wellbeing or safety depends on it? Do you feel like you can’t live without them? Do you feel like you don’t know who you are without them, like you’ve lost your sense of self? Do you have a hard time being alone? Are you afraid of being alone?
Sometimes when we are co-dependent, we allow ourselves to be controlled, manipulated and pushed – often to do things we instinctively feel aren’t right for us. We have a hard time saying no to people’s requests and demands, and the thought of disappointing people makes us too afraid to act in our own best interest. We feel overly anxious, sad or ashamed when people are angry with us. We have difficulty setting boundaries for ourselves, and when we do, we don’t maintain or enforce them. We have a tendency to let people walk all over us, dominate and coerce us. We bend to other people’s whims, and we don’t stand up for ourselves.
Learning about codependence is one step in healing ourselves and having healthier relationships.
The community at Vista Taos has years of experience helping people with their codependent and addictive behaviors. Call (575) 586-5078.