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My good feelings about me come from being liked by you.
Receiving approval from you.

My serenity is affected by my focus on solving your problems, relieving your pain, pleasing you, protecting you, or manipulating you to "do it my way."

I am not aware of what I want, so instead I ask what you want.
I am not aware of how I feel, but I believe I am aware of how you feel and if I am not aware, I assume.

My fear of your anger and/or rejection determines what I say or do.
My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you.
I put my values aside in order to connect with you.

What is this called


Codependent individuals look outside of themselves to determine who they are. In other words, they do not have a sense of themselves internally. They difficulty making decision, is scared of doing anything wrong, depend on other people's opinions about beliefs, values, behaviors, have difficulty running their own lives and generally rely on others for many things about living.

They often have a lot of difficulty with relationships. Since they don't have a sense of who they are, they have relationships with dysfunctional people. Examples are:

* someone who stays in an abusive or painful relationship, but is unable to make decision to leave.

* An men or women who have relationships with people who dominate them.

They often stay in jobs, homes, relationships and other types of situations they hate because of their fears about doing the wrong thing. Consequently dependent people do a lot of complaining but take little, if any, action. The payoff for the dependent person is they don't have to control their own life, make any decisions, etc.

Dependent people often have drug problems. Since they are unable to manage stress, have difficulty socializing, finding a new job or whatever, they use drugs to medicate fears, insecurities, anxiety and other feelings associated with uncomfortable experiences. As the drugs take over their life, they are less able to function.

Dependent people are developed in a variety of family types.

* One is the religious, controlling family which relies on external, rigid rules which are obeyed blindly rather than flexibly. The key factor is the rigidity and the controlling.

* Another type of family is one which sets few, if any, guidelines. The child doesn't learn how to tell when they have done an adequate job because an adequate job hasn't been defined. These families are often obviously abusive, neglectful and/or chemically dependent.

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Co-dependency is so common that it is sometimes difficult to sort out co-dependent relationship patterns from the functional patterns of relationship.

The following are some of the key indicators of a co-dependent relationship:

* Even though you have lots of objective evidence that the relationship as it stands is not good for you, you take no steps to change it or break the co-dependent patterns.

* You find yourself making excuses for you or your partner that are designed to hide the truth from others.

* When you think about changing or leaving the relationship, you feel afraid and cling to it even harder.

* When you take some beginning steps to change the relationship, you suffer acute anxiety and physical symptoms that can only be relieved by reestablishing the old co-dependent patterns.

* When you do begin to make changes, you experience an intense longing for the old patterns, or you feel scared, all alone or empty.


* has ill-defined boundaries; he/she is not aware of where he/she and another begins (enmeshment).

* has not learned to set limits.

* has learned to meet their needs through being concerned about other people.

* perceives him/herself as a victim and from that may become martyr-like or an overachiever.

* confuses intimacy with dependency.

* gets addicted to destructive relationships (the person they are involved with may or may not be chemical dependent).

* keeps someone "sick", weak, or chemically dependent by not letting them accept responsibility which is truly their (enabling).

* lives from crisis to crisis/does emotional bingeing in a compulsive way.

* reacts instead of acts.

* has low self-esteem.

* is other-directive as opposed to self-directive/focuses in on what others want instead of what he/she wants for him/herself.

* blocks what he/she doesn't want to see and picks up on what they want to perceive.

* experiences anxiety with accompanying physical symptoms.

* may feel rejected because of another person Is choice to have drugs by their primary relationship in life.

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Helpful Links

Books on the subject at

Online Reading Page

"Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." -M Scott Peck - author of "The Road Less Traveled.

Samuel Simmons Consulting * PO Box 6120 * Minneapolis, MN * 55406-0120