Wikipedia defines Codependency as unhealthy tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.
Codependency can be a way for the codependent person to gain a sense of control over their life situation. By making an effort to solve other people’s problems, the codependent feels a sense of accomplishment and control. Sometimes, a codependent solves other’s problems since they feel that they are unable to solve their own problems. A codependent may consistently place another person’s needs in front of their own needs due to a belief that they are not worthy. Codependency can develop as a coping mechanism to address a hectic upbringing. The codependent may have learned to anticipate and take care of the needs of volatile personalities in the home to reduce the chance of the volatile personality from exploding. Codependents can view it as their “moral obligation” to serve others and see this obligation. Although someone with codependent tendencies sees themselves as a giving person, codependent actions can hurt ourselves and frustrate others.

Today, some co-workers were moving from one office to another office. I started helping out, even though I was working on a deadline. I prioritized their need to move heavy furniture versus making sure my own work was complete. I also hurt my lower back by doing too much. 

Another codependent situation occurred when a co-worker tried to help out my office by delivering a desk. Unfortunately, the desk was heavy and did not fit the work space. This person was trying to solve a problem without asking. If that person had asked about the need for a desk, the desk would not have been moved needlessly. 

Yes, I know that this are small examples. 

Next time you are doing something from someone else consider:
– did they ask for help?
– will this harm me in any way?
– I am doing this with a true generous spirit?
I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

7 Responses to “Codependency”

  1. The examples you have here are great as I can relate them to when I was active duty military. I was very much the codependent/caretaker type and it ultimately played a role in my nervous breakdown! “Am I doing this with a true generous spirit? – these are other questions too – “am I doing this because I feel like I should, because I’m afraid they’ll fire me, because I want something in return, because I’m not happy doing what I’m doing and want a distraction, because if I don’t do it they’ll screw it up?” Sometimes it’s ok to be spontaneous and help but as my husband is learning – you need “raid” awareness (he’s in training to become a welder). We use to play World of Warcraft and do raids in dungeons a lot. Raid awareness consisted of: Do I have the right gear for the battle? Do I need special equipment/skills/food/drink for the battle? Is my party strong enough and have the right skill sets to beat this boss(accomplish this battle?) Do we have enough time and resources left to fight this battle and win?

  2. I enjoyed reading this blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I have several codependent people in my life so I can relate to your stories.

  3. Change happens in the small stuff and eventually, recovery happens and you see yourself doing things differently without thinking about it. It’s so great that you’re conscious of thee “little” things. Codependents need to control others because their self-esteem depends upon others thoughts and actions. Good suggestions above. In general, I’d always ask, “Will I feel resentful if I help, and how will it affect me? How will I feel if I don’t? Guilt or fear aren’t good reasons to help. I go into this in depth in “Codependency for Dummies,” available online.


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