Codependency can undermine your ability to have healthy, satisfying, and emotionally mature relationships. But before you can escape the chains of codependency, you need to realize that these chains exist. Taking the “Am I Codependent” quiz that’s included below can help you recognize if you actually have a problem.
What Does it Mean to Be Codependent?
Codependent relationships are characterized by imbalance and abuse. In a codependent relationship, one person (the enabler) bases their self-worth on the sacrifices they make on behalf of the other person. The beneficiary of these efforts – who may be a spouse, partner, relative, or friend – takes advantage of their loved one’s largesse without responding in kind.
Codependency is often discussed in the context of addiction. The codependent partner will go to great lengths to excuse or hide their partner’s behaviors. This allows the addicted person to continue abusing substances and making other destructive decisions, secure in the knowledge that their friend, relative, or partner will continue to cover for them.
Codependent relationships are toxic for both people. The codependent partner’s compulsive need to be needed prevents them from living a healthy life. With no motivation or reason to change their behaviors, the addicted partner may simply sink deeper into the depths of unchecked substance abuse.
What Causes Codependency?
There is no sole cause to codependency. However, many people who habitually enter into codependent relationships have a history of trauma or other adverse childhood experiences.
For example, a person who grows up in a dysfunctional family may develop codependent tendencies as survival skills. This may include making excuses for a parent’s actions, blaming themselves when their mother or father becomes enraged, suppressing their own emotions, and neglecting their own needs.
When a child who lives this way progresses into adulthood, they may unconsciously seek out relationships that feel “comfortable” to them because they replicate the experiences they had when they were growing up.
Am I Codependent Quiz
The codependency quiz below can help you assess your capacity for becoming involved in unbalanced and unhealthy relationships.
For this quiz to have any value for you, you need to be completely honest with yourself – even if that honesty brings up difficult emotions.
The 15 questions in the “Am I Codependent” quiz are brief, and they are designed to be answered with a simple yes or no. But please don’t mistake simplicity for superficiality. Take a moment to really think about each of these questions, and then answer them as truthfully as possible:
- Do you often worry about other people’s problems?
- Do you find it difficult or impossible to say no when someone asks you for help?
- Does the approval of other people mean a great deal to you?
- Do you often put others’ needs ahead of your own?
- Do you often fear that friends or partners are going to abandon you?
- When you are in a relationship, does your partner’s life take priority over your own life?
- Do you often feel like you are being used or taken advantage of?
- Have you made unhealthy decisions (such as buying drugs for a person who is addicted) to maintain a relationship?
- When a friend or partner is in a bad mood, do you think it’s your fault?
- Do you define your self-worth by your ability to help other people?
- Have you lied or made excuses to cover up for a someone’s unacceptable behaviors?
- Have you remained in friendships or relationships even after it’s clear they are unhealthy for you?
- Do you ever accept blame for a problem you didn’t cause, merely to end an argument or make someone else happy?
- Do you think you are completely or partially responsible for how a friend, relative, or partner acts?
- Do you feel guilty when someone gives you a gift or does something nice for you?
With each “yes” answer, the likelihood that you are codependent increases.
So Am I Codependent?
Our codependent quiz can help you realize that you need professional assistance – but this quiz alone is not a diagnostic tool. The best way to determine if you are codependent is to consult with a therapist, counselor, or other qualified healthcare provider.
How to Overcome Codependency
As we discussed earlier on this page, codependent relationships are characterized by imbalance. One person invests the majority of the emotional labor (and often the physical labor, too) while the other person reaps the benefits.
Given this definition, you might think that any effort to overcome codependency would focus primarily on developing healthier relationship skills. And while this is one part of overcoming codependency, the relationship isn’t the main focus here. You are the main focus.
If you have a history of codependent relationships, this means that you have been neglecting or at the very least subordinating your own wants and needs. To participate in healthier future relationships with other people, you need to first repair your relationship with yourself.
Here are some areas to focus on:
- Acknowledging that a problem exists
- Identifying your needs, hopes, and values
- Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries
- Understanding the importance of self-care
- Learning how (and when) to say no
- Developing and using healthy communication skills
- Giving up the illusion of control
- Getting help
The final point above can be the key to all the other ones. Don’t try to do this on your own. Find a therapist, a counselor, or another professional. You need (and deserve) informed guidance and support to make the changes that can significantly improve your life.
Contact Our Los Angeles Drug Rehab Center at Renewal Health Group
If you are in a codependent relationship with someone who is addicted to alcohol or another drug, please know this: Your loved one needs professional help. Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease. It is not a response to your behaviors or a challenge that you need to (or can) solve on your own. To learn more about effective treatment for addiction, or to get advice about how to convince someone you care about to enter a treatment program, please contact Renewal Health Group today.