Codependency means different things to different people, however, my definition is simple: When you put other people’s needs before your own on a regular basis, when you’re a people pleaser, and you’ll go to any lengths to avoid conflict, you’re codependent ~ and codependents get hurt.
Does this sound like you?
All families have spoken and unspoken rules. But when the rules include: 'feelings should be kept to oneself', 'be strong, be good, be the best', 'make us proud of you', 'do as I say, not as I do', 'don't talk about your problems', 'keep your feelings to yourself', 'don't make waves'. This is incorporated into a style of living and a system of beliefs.
So generally speaking, if you are indirect when communicating with others, if you're not assertive when it's appropriate, if you don't seem to have as much fun and you're unfilled in your relationships, this is typical of codependent behavior.
You are tired of giving into other people’s needs and desires, without getting much in return.
You are upset about the pain and/or abuse that you are experiencing in your relationships, with partners, family & friends.
You feel sorry for yourself, confused about why you’re treated they way, because you’ve only been ‘nice’ and you feel powerless about what to do.
You rationalize that your problems are ‘not that bad’.
Characteristics of Codependency:
Feeling responsible for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, choices well-being, lack of well-being, ultimate destiny.
Feeling anxiety pity, guilt when others have a problem.
Saying ‘yes,’ when you mean ‘no’.
Over commit yourself to others.
Feeling angry, victimized, unappreciated, used.
Low Self Worth
Blame yourself for everything.
Reject compliments and praise.
Afraid of making mistakes.
Feeling different from the rest of the world.
Worry about the silliest things.
Lose sleep over problems or other people's behavior.
Focus all your energy on other people and problems.
Staying busy so you don’t have to think.
Getting depressed or sick.
Spending money compulsively, or over work or over eat.
Believe lies or lie to yourself.
Have sex when you'd rather be held, nurtured and loved.
Try to have sex when you're angry or hurt.
Have strong sexual fantasies about others.
Consider or have extra-marital affairs.
When you say ‘yes’ (and you want to say ‘no’), you are protecting yourself from the consequences that someone will be angry or disappointed with you.
Codependents don't express their feelings, don't have boundaries and lose their identity as a result.
Codependents mistakenly believe that by being ‘nice’ to everyone means that others will be ‘nice’ to them ~ not true. You have no control over how others treat you. Some may be fair to you, others may abuse your good nature and take you for granted.
If you’re saying ‘yes’ and meaning ‘no’ and secretly hoping
that they will ‘understand’ and not pressure you, you’re not being honest.
If you express your feelings, you’re still a ‘nice’ person, but you’re also being honest. You are setting personal boundaries and not protecting yourself from the perceived negative consequences of a confrontation. You are simply being assertive and when you express yourself appropriately, not only will you feel better about yourself, but you’ll also gain respect.
In a codependent relationship, the other person expects that the people pleaser will not say ‘no’. And if you do, they’ll press harder. If you don’t set boundaries, you’re teaching them indirectly to persist until you give them what they want, take you for granted and disrespect you.
You mistakenly feel that by being ‘nice’ you’ll be rewarded, however that doesn’t always happen. When you’re a codependent, you’re frequently hurt and abused.
However, no one can treat you without respect
unless you allow it!
The pain of codependency does not have to be a life sentence!
You can’t change other people, so don’t even try. The key to changing codependency or a codependent relationship with your partner, your parents, your children and others, lies within you.
Think about it. People are accustomed to the way you act, so as your behavior changes, they have to change their behavior to get the result their looking for. It’s not by accident that some people command respect and others are ‘door-mats’.
When you’re a people pleaser, you unknowingly
give others permission to take advantage of you, and you're subject to abuse.
An assertive person does not have to be aggressive or do anything to demonstrate self-confidence. They are authentic in all their relationships. They are honest about their feeling, and know how to deal with potentially unpleasant consequences.
When you are confident, you are not fearful. You don’t shower others with gifts, or demonstrate other people-pleasing patterns, hoping you will be treated fairly. You expect that you will be. You don’t have guilt, shame or resentment. You are confident and are free to be yourself.
When you learn to change codependent behavior, you open yourself up to a world of confidence, self-respect and authentic loving relationships.
Learn to unleash that confident person ~ YOU!
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