Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence

These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. They may be particularly helpful to newcomers.

Denial Patterns:

  • I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
  • I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

  • I have difficulty making decisions.
  • I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never “good enough.”
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
  • I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.

Compliance Patterns:

  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger.
  • I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
  • I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
  • I accept sex when I want love.

Control Patterns:

  • I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • I attempt to convince others of what they “should” think and how they “truly” feel.
  • I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
  • I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
  • I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
  • I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
  • I have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others.

Characteristics of Codependency

Following is a commonly used list of characteristics of codependency.

  • My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you
  • My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you
  • Your struggle affects my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving your problems/relieving your pain
  • My mental attention is focused on you
  • My mental attention is focused on protecting you
  • My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to do it my way
  • My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems
  • My self-esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain
  • My own hobbies/interests are put to one side. My time is spent sharing your hobbies/interests
  • Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me
  • Your behaviour is dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me
  • I am not aware of how I feel. I am aware of how you feel.
  • I am not aware of what I want – I ask what you want. I am not aware – I assume
  • The dreams I have for my future are linked to you
  • My fear of rejection determines what I say or do
  • My fear of your anger determines what I say or do
  • I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship
  • My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you
  • I put my values aside in order to connect with you
  • I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own
  • The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours