A wife puts on a smile and covers up for her husband when he drinks too much--again.
A mother makes excuses when her daughter acts up at school--again.
A father pulls some strings to keep his son out of trouble with the law--again.
What’s the common link between these three scenarios? Each one displays classic signs of codependency.
While the term “codependent” often refers to a relationship, it can also apply to dysfunctional families or toxic friendships. The end result is always the same--one person gives, and the other takes.
How do you know if you or someone you love is codependent? In this post, we’ll examine eight key signs of a codependent relationship.
1. Your Life Revolves Around Your Partner
Do you feel as if you’ve given up control of your life? Do your days and nights revolve around trying to care for your partner--or conform yourself to their wishes?
One of the biggest signs of codependency is sacrificing for others while ignoring your own needs. Worse still, people with codependent personalities tend to attract partners that are emotionally needy or unstable.
Thus begins a vicious cycle of you always giving while your partner always takes. You may even feel that your life has no purpose or meaning outside of trying to make your partner happy.
2. You Find It Difficult To Say “No”
The inability to say “no” is another common sign of codependency.
Codependents are people-pleasers. They often have little self-worth and are constantly seeking the approval of others.
If the codependent relationship is with an addict or abuser, this inability to say “no” could be based on genuine fear. You may worry about how your partner will react--verbally, physically, or emotionally.
For this reason, you may find yourself simply agreeing or keeping quiet to avoid confrontation.
3. You Suffer From Low Self-Esteem
Do you always feel like nothing you do is good enough? Do you constantly put yourself down or compare yourself to others?
If so, you’re a prime candidate for entering a codependent relationship. In fact, one study found that low self-confidence was the strongest predictor of codependent behavior.