Co-dependent Personalities & Raising Co-Dependent Children

Co-dependent personalities usually refer to life as black, or white. There is no in between. It is harder for them to see others view points, and they tend to create their own reality. A co-dependent person may often value other’s opinions over their own, compromising their own values and integrity to avoid rejection. They sometimes dress sloppy, or in baggy clothes, and even in tighter skimpy clothes, displaying their issues with self-image.

The problem with co-dependent relationship within a family, is that we adapt our feelings and boundaries as theirs. We do not like to see them making bad choices, in pain etc., so we try to control it. It can become something that eventually controls where they work, live, who they marry, meaning all major decisions are dominated, by us.

People with co-dependent personalities:

•Need to be needed

• Are  people pleasers

• Are controlling

• Afraid To Be Alone

• Mistrust others

• Are Perfectionists

• Avoid their feelings

• Excessive caretakers

• Hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat or danger)

• Often they attract needy dependent people

• Downplay their own feelings, to the point that they may not even know how they feel

• Have trouble making decisions

• Do not feel they’re lovable

• Put their own interests and hobbies aside to please others

• Are excessively loyal (even staying in abusive relationships)

• Do not ask others to meet their needs

Do You Have A Co-Dependent Relationship With Your Child?

As parents, we need to say “no” to doing tasks that foster immaturity and dependence in adult children; such as, doing their laundry, cleaning up after them, helping them with their bills, providing them with shelter (as adults), etc. It is important to learn to be separate individuals and teach them to take care of their own needs.

We need to teach our children how to tackle problems in relationships or in life, not take care of the problems for them. They need to grow up and be able to have healthy, mature, adult love relationships.  If we do things for our grown children beyond what is age appropriate, we lower their self-esteem and actually stop them from growing up.

When you are co-dependent you are enmeshed with family members’ emotional boundaries and you treat them as extensions of yourself. Therefore, you do not want to see them in pain, uncomfortable, making unwise choices, or unhappy. You try to be the one in control. You aim to fix them or their situations to be what you think is right, and good for them. You fail to see the long-term damage you are causing, you think you are only helping them.

Extreme co-dependency involves subtle control over your adult children’s choices of colleges, career, place of residency, religion, and choice of marriage partners. Over all, you dominate their decision-making abilities. Secretly you feel safe, secure, and loved when others need you and depend on you. It makes you feel important and gives your life meaning because you do not have your own life fully understood and integrated.

Co-dependency use to only be talked about in families where there was alcoholism, or drug addictions. Now, they are linking it to dysfunctional families in general. And lets face it, all families are dysfunctional. Some are just better at admitting it than others.

Co-dependent Personality Disorder is a dysfunctional relationship with the self characterized by living through or for another, attempts to control others, blaming others, a sense of victimization, attempts to “fix” others, and intense anxiety around intimacy. It is very common in people raised in dysfunctional families, and in the partners and children of alcoholics and addicts.  Most chemical dependency treatment centers now also offer treatment for Co-dependency. (definition extracted from                                                                                                                                                                                  


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