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Co-Dependency Patterns and Characteristics

Jonathan Riley

“Codependency is driven by the agreement that I will work harder on your problem and your life than you do.” – Danny Silk

Co‐Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) has put together this list of patterns to help you evaluate whether you display symptoms of codependency. You don’t need to have them all to qualify as codependent. These personality characteristics are cognitive, emotional, and behavioural patterns that impact an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationships with yourself and other people.

Denial patterns:

  • I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
  • I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well‐being of others.
  • I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
  • I label others with my negative traits.
  • I can take care of myself without any help from others.
  • I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humour, or isolation.
  • I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
  • I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

Low self‐esteem patterns:

  • I have difficulty making decisions.
  • I judge what I think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings, and behaviour over my own.
  • I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
  • I constantly seek the recognition that I think I deserve.
  • I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
  • I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
  • I am unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires.
  • I perceive myself as superior to others.
  • I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
  • I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
  • I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

Compliance patterns:

  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
  • I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
  • I am hyper-vigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
  • I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those . of others.
  • I accept sexual attention when I want love.
  • I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
  • I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.

Control patterns:

  • I believe most people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
  • I freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked.
  • I become resentful when others decline my help or reject my advice.
  • I lavish gifts and favours on those I want to influence.
  • I use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
  • I have to be needed in order to have a relationship with others.
  • I demand that my needs be met by others.
  • I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and . compassionate.
  • I use blame and shame to emotionally exploit others.
  • I refuse to cooperate, compromise or negotiate.
  • I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate . outcomes
  • I use terms of recovery in an attempt to control the behaviour of others.
  • I pretend to agree with others to get what I want.

Avoidance patterns:

  • I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward me.
  • I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
  • I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
  • I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
  • I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
  • I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
  • I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
  • I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
  • I withhold expressions of appreciation.

If you recognize these codependency patterns in your life, it’s time to take action. My Practice Counselling Melbourne specialises in helping individuals break free from codependent behaviors and build healthier, happier relationships. Don’t let codependency hold you back any longer. Take the first step towards self-discovery and healing today. Reach out to us for support and transformation.

In part 3, we will look at how codependency affects relationships