Codependent individuals experienced a traumatically empty childhood. Their present-day relationships are empty. They attempt to use others, their mates, friends, and children, as their source of identity, self-esteem, value and well being in an attempt to restore childhood emotional losses. Most codependent individuals are unaware that they are doing so. Having constructed a more idyllic existence, many codependent individuals are completely unaware that their childhood was troubled!
The following are statements portray relationally addictive people:
1.We come from a dysfunctional home in which our emotional needs were not met.
2.Having received little real nurturing ourselves, we try to vicariously fill this unmet need by becoming a caregiver, especially toward people who appear needy.
3.Because we were never able to change our parents into the warm, loving care takers we longed for, we respond deeply to the emotionally unavailable person whom we find familiar and whom we try to change (to give us what we need) through our love.
4.Terrified of abandonment, we will do anything to hold on to a relationship and avoid painful abandonment feelings. We first experienced these feelings while living with people who were never there emotionally for us. Most often, we were not aware that we were not getting what we needed!
5.Almost nothing is too much trouble, takes too much time, or is too expensive if it will "help" the person we are involved with. Our thoughts are other-oriented rather than self-oriented.
6.Accustomed to lack of love in personal relationships, we are willing to wait, hope and try harder to please.
7.We are willing to take far more than 50 percent of the responsibility, guilt and blame in any relationship.
8.Our self-esteem is critically low. Deep inside we do not believe we deserve to be happy. Rather, we believe we must earn the right to enjoy life. We forget that we were all created equal and by the same maker.
9.Having experienced little security in childhood, we have a desperate need to control people, outcomes, and relationships. We mask our efforts to control people and situations as "being helpful."
10.In a relationship we are more in touch with our dream of how it could be rather than with the reality of how it is. We don't want to hear the little voice inside that tells us what is!
11.We are addicted to a person, people, and/or to emotional pain. This is not because we enjoy pain, but it is familiar; we understand it; it is all we know.
12.We may be emotionally and/or biochemically predisposed to addictions to substances, food, gambling, sex, etc.
13.Drawn to people with problems or to chaotic, uncertain, or emotionally painful situations, we avoid focusing on our responsibility to ourselves: to become all of the potential we were given!
14.Since we have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, it is easier to be concerned with others rather than with ourselves. This prevents us from looking at our ourselves. We give away our personal power!
15.We may tend toward episodes of depression and/or anxiety. We try to forestall these episodes through the excitement of an emotionally unstable relationship or through addictive behaviors.
16.We are not attracted to a person who is kind, stable, reliable, and interested in us. We find "nice" people boring or unattractive.
17.We "stuff" our feelings and have lost the ability to identify or express what we feel.
18.We tend to become isolated from people and become afraid of authority figures.
19.We become approval seekers and lose our identity in the process.
20.We can't stand it when people are angry at us. We hate criticism! We get defensive and "explain" ourselves in an attempt to show the other person how they are wrong.
21.Our world view is that of the victim. We sense and gravitate towards people whom we will allow ourselves to be victimized by.
22.We judge ourselves harshly. We use a more lenient yardstick to judge others.
23.We experience guilt when we stand up for ourselves. To avoid guilt, we give in to others.
24.We confuse love and empathy/pity and tend to think we "love" people we can pity and rescue.
25.We are reactors to life rather than creators of life.
Codependency: A Family Perspective