CoDA Australia

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What is Co-dependency?

What is Co-dependency?


Co-Dependence could be described as a condition born of losing connection with our authentic self, thereby losing the ability to share our true self with others and be in healthy intimate relationships.  Somewhere along the line we may have learned to doubt our perceptions, discount our feelings, and overlook our needs.  Subsequently, we may have learned to look to others to tell us what to think, what to feel and how to behave, thus becoming overly dependent on others.


We may also have rebelled, trapping ourselves in our reactions to others.  Or childhood experience of abuse may have left us with habits of being overly independent, controlling, unable to trust anyone or allow anyone close. 


We may also alternate between these patterns.  In any case, hiding our true selves, real thoughts, feelings and needs is painful and exhausting.


These patterns and characteristics below are offered as a tool to aid self-evaluation;


Denial Patterns

  • I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
  • I minimise, 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, praise or gifts.
  • I do not ask others to meet my needs and desires.
  • I value others approval of my thinking, feelings and behaviour over my own.
  • I do not perceive myself as a loveable or worthwhile human being.


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 am often afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
  • I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
  • I accept sex when I want love. 


Control Patterns

  • I believe most other people are incapable of caring for 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. 


For a More Detailed list of Characteristics  CLICK HERE