Turn Insight Into Action: Proactive-Coach - Communication & Relationships

symptoms of codependent behavior

Psychologist Sondra Smalley observed the following characteristics of codependency - of course, not all of them are present in every codependent relationship.

1. One or both people feel "owed".
2. There are intense, exaggerated involvements.
3. The choice of improbable partners.
4. Little spontaneous playfulness.
5. Too many fixed requirements or objectives imposed from within or without.
6. Non-valuing or awareness of individual differences.
7. Lack of conflict resolution.
8. A shortage of time for the relationship, or too much non-productive time.
9. Unrealistic relationship expectations.
10. Self-control; censored feelings.
11. Nurturance is a substitute for intimacy.
12. Many substitutes are used to avoid intimacy (drugs, work, consumption, collecting, fatigue).
13. Lack of experimentation.
14. Fearing to explore, to deviate, to do it different.
15. One or both people have the myth of their own perfection or imperfection.
16. Other outside things are sacrificed for the relationship.
17. Non-awareness of "self-wants" in one or both people ("I don't care").
18. Tumultuous relationship history.
19. Psychosomatic complaints or exhaustion contrasted by "fitness fits".
20. Tense inner reservation or caution in commitment.
21. The "no talk" rule in some areas.
22. One or both people preoccupied with the other.
23. One or both people believing they are defined by the other.

Source: Indications of co-dependent relationships
Copyright 1985 by Sondra Smalley, CCDP, Licensed Psychologist

Now, what do you do if you see in your relationship many of the toxic characteristics of the codependent profile?

A typical codependent reaction is to believe that nothing can be done unless both partners in the relationship work at it.

Of course, it's wonderful if you both work at it. But, if your partner doesn't want to, you can still do something very productive (for yourself, and for the relationship) by doing your best to stop being a codependent.

See also: codependency definition


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