According to Love is a Choice by Dr’s Hemfelt, Minirth, and Meieir, there are 10 distinct characteristics of Codependency:
“1. The individual is driven by one or more compulsions.
2. The codependent is bound and often tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family or origin.
3. The codependent’s self-esteem (and, frequently, maturity) is very low.
4. A codependent is certain his or her happiness hinges on others.
5. Conversely, a codependent feels inordinately responsible for others.
6. The codependent’s relationship with a spouse or Significant Other Person (SOP) is marred by a damaging, unstable lack of balance between dependence and independence.
7. The codependent is master of denial and repression
8. The codependent worries about things he or she can’t change and may well try to change them.
9. A codependent’s life is punctuated by extremes
10. A codependent is constantly looking for the something that is missing or lacking in life. “
Particularly, numbers 4, 5 and 8 resonate with me strongly. I have a tendency to take responsibility for other people’s feelings, actions, and circumstances even when they have absolutely nothing to do with me. Plus, I have difficulty in drawing boundary lines that keep me from becoming too involved in another person’s life. This then leads me to believe that I have more control than I really do, and my happiness becomes dependent on that idea.
After reading through this list a second time, I discovered there is even more the Codependency that I initially understood. It’s effects range farther and more intricately than I think most people realize. That is why it goes so undetected, and why I believe spreading the word is so crucial.
Do any of these traits seem to describe you? If so, know that you are not alone, and that awareness is the first step to a more peaceful, more joyous life. Keep digging!