Codependency is a behavioral disorder that affects a person’s ability to have and maintain a healthy and mutually satisfying relationship. A codependent person will look for anything outside of themselves to feel good about themselves. They might also have a pattern of forming relationships that are abusive or one-sided. Do you think you’re in a codependent relationship? Here are some warning signs you might want to look out for if you think you are.
1. You feel like you always have to please your partner
It’s normal to want to please your partner. However, once you start feeling like you’re obligated to always please them, it’s a warning sign of codependency. Even if you don’t want to do something or feel uncomfortable doing something, you’ll sacrifice your wants just to make your significant other happy. In other words, saying “no” is very hard for you. If this sounds familiar, you might be in a codependent relationship.
2. You never feel like you’re good enough for your partner
Often, people who are in codependent relationships have low self-esteem and feel like they are never good enough for their partners. You might constantly be comparing yourself to others and get insanely jealous when your significant other wants to hang out with other people besides you. People who struggle with codependency get their self-esteem from helping or pleasing others. They’ll go above and beyond to try to meet their partner’s needs, and when they can’t, it destroys them.
3. Your partner’s mood affects your day
This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Obviously, you’ll be happy for your partner when they’re feeling excited, and you’ll feel sad for them when they’re feeling disappointed. That’s called empathy, and that’s completely normal. If the way your significant other is feeling affects your mood for the entire day, then that’s a sign that you might be codependent. You’re allowing someone else to dictate how you feel when you’re allowed to have your own emotions.
4. You ignore your own feelings and needs
This goes back to always feeling the need to please your partner. If you are codependent, you always tend to want to put other people before yourself despite how you’re feeling. Wanting to be there for your significant other isn’t a bad thing. It only becomes a problem when you’re killing yourself trying to satisfy them when you’re not getting what you need or want in return. Which brings us to our next point.
5. You are always giving without receiving, and then you feel resentful
After a while, codependents will start to feel resentment towards their significant others. This is because they feel like they’ve given so much and haven’t received anything. You let your partner always have their way, and your needs aren’t getting met in return. That’s enough to make anybody feel like they’ve been taken advantage of. However, with someone who is codependent, they’ll have a much harder time leaving the relationship or asking for what they want.
6. You have trouble setting boundaries
Boundaries don’t exist (or are very poor) when you’re in a codependent relationship. Because your life revolves around making your partner happy, you’ve likely allowed them to get away with disrespecting or abusing you. It’s hard for you to leave because you have a lot of compassion for your significant other, and you feel like you need to stay and help them. Sometimes codependents can switch from having weaker boundaries to stricter ones.
7. You’re extremely sensitive to criticism
Since codependent people get their self-esteem from other people’s approval, they are highly sensitive when it comes to criticism. You might be a perfectionist if you are codependent and set your expectations for yourself way too high. When you don’t live up to those expectations, you’ll end up feeling worse about yourself. You might also tend to overreact to situations that are out of your control.
8. You have trouble communicating your thoughts and feelings
It will be hard to communicate your thoughts and feelings because you don’t put yourself first. As a codependent, you’re so used to caring for others that you don’t know how to care for yourself. In fact, you might even feel a little guilty for taking the time to care for yourself. You’d much rather put your partner’s needs in front of your own, so it’ll be difficult for you to express your feelings. Since you also allow your significant other’s mood to control your own, you might not understand how to think for yourself.
9. You can’t say “no” without feeling guilty
If you’re a codependent person, the word “no” might not exist in your vocabulary. No matter how something might make you feel, you’re going to feel obligated to do it if your partner asks you to. Telling your significant other “no” might make you feel anxious, even if it’s something that you know you can’t do or don’t want to do. You’ll go above and beyond to accommodate their needs because it will make you feel a sense of worth.
10. You care too much about what your partner thinks
You might not want to go somewhere or wear something simply because of what your partner thinks about it. Even if it’s something that you liked, when your significant other thinks otherwise, you’ll change your mind. A codependent person might also always ask their partner for validation before making a decision about something. You might not know how to decide anything on your own because you care too much about what your significant other thinks.
If you noticed that you related to all or most of these points, you don’t need to be too hard on yourself. Fortunately, there are ways for you to fix these issues and finally have a healthy relationship that you deserve. In the same way that codependency is learned, you can very much unlearn these traits. All it takes is some time and patience.
If you believe that you’re in a codependent relationship, how are you planning to work through it? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Hi, I'm Latasha! I was born and raised in sunny South Florida and graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2018. I have my bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in writing and rhetoric. I'm also planning to go back to school to get my MFA in creative writing in the near future. I consider myself to be a storyteller, and I love writing and blogging about lifestyle-related topics. My ultimate goal is to become a published author.