Codependency For Dummies Cheat Sheet
From Codependency For Dummies, 2nd Edition
By Darlene Lancer
If you wonder whether you may be codependent, you’re not alone. Different types of people may behave in a codependent manner, and codependence manifests in varying degrees of severity. Not all codependents are unhappy, while others live in pain or quiet desperation. Codependency is not something you heal from and are forever done with, but you can enjoy yourself, your life, and your relationships. Should you choose to embark on recovery, you’re beginning an exciting and empowering journey.
Determining If You’re Codependent
If you’re wondering if you’re codependent, take a look at the following list of symptoms. You don’t have to have all of them to be codependent, and there are degrees of severity of codependence. If untreated, codependency gets worse over time, but with help you can recover and be much more effective in your work and relationships. Here are some common traits:
Not liking or accepting yourself
Feeling you’re inadequate in some way
Thinking you’re not quite enough
Worrying you are or could be a failure
Concerned with what other people think about you
Pleasing others and giving up yourself
Boundaries that are too weak and there’s not enough separateness between you and your partner
Boundaries that are too rigid and keep you from being close
Boundaries that flip back and forth between too close and too rigid
Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
Difficulty setting boundaries — saying “No” or stopping abuse
Lack of assertiveness about your needs
Afraid of being alone or out of a relationship
Feeling trapped in a bad relationship and unable to leave
Relying too much on others opinions
Avoidance of closeness
Trying to control or manipulate others
Feeling trapped in a dysfunctional relationship
Denial of codependency
Denial about a painful reality in your relationship
Denial of your feelings
Denial of your needs
Controlling your own feelings
Managing and controlling people in your life; telling them what to do
Manipulating others to feel or behave like you want (people pleasing is a manipulation)
Addiction to a substance or process
Reducing Stress through Relaxation
The key to overcoming codependency is relaxing and building a loving relationship with yourself. At Harvard Medical School, Dr. Herbert Benson developed a type of relaxation that doesn’t require any spiritual beliefs, but was very effective to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and anger. It’s called the Relaxation Response. Try it and if you like it do it every day.
Sit in a relaxed position, and close your eyes.
Starting at your toes and progressing to your face, relax each muscle, and keep them relaxed.
Breathe normally through your nose, and repeat “one” silently with each inhale and again with each exhale. Do not control your breath.
Do this daily for 10 to 20 minutes, and take a few minutes before returning to normal activities.
Turning the Focus onto Yourself
Focusing on someone else is a real problem for codependents. Letting go isn’t easy. Turning that around so that your focus is on you doesn’t make you selfish; in fact, it’s showing respect for someone else’s autonomy and boundaries. Here are some practical things you can do to:
When you’re together, remember not to watch the other person.
Don’t obsess or worry about him or her. Imagine putting the person in God’s hands or surrounded by healing light. Send them love.
Don’t judge others, just as you don’t want to be judged.
Don’t have expectations of others; instead, meet expectations of yourself.
You didn’t cause someone else’s behavior. Others are responsible for their behavior, and you’re only responsible for yours.
Write about your feelings in a journal. Read it to someone close to you or a therapist.
Practice mediation or spirituality.
Pursue your own interests and have fun.
Remember you cannot change or “fix” someone else. Only he or she has the power to do so.
Take a time out. If you’re starting to react to someone or are in an argument, it’s a good idea to step away and take some time to think things over. A good idea is to write in your journal.
Write positive things about yourself in your journal every day. Look for things you did well or like about yourself, and write them down.
Take the labels off. Sometimes, you can have expectations and make assumptions about someone very close to you which you wouldn’t of a friend. Ask yourself how you would treat the other person if he or she wasn’t your partner or parent.
Getting Help for Your Codependency
If you think you may be codependent, you need help to change your behavior. Here are some sources of help for those suffering from codependency:
Read all you can about codependency (but reading alone is insufficient to change).
Go to a Twelve Step meeting for codependents, such as Codependents Anonymous, called CoDA, or Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics. There are other Twelve Step groups for relatives of other addicts, such as for relatives of gamblers, narcotic addicts, and sex addicts. You can look on the Internet or in your phone book to find out where there’s a meeting near you.
Get counseling from someone familiar with codependency. It’s preferable that they are licensed in your state. They may be marriage and family counselors, social workers, addiction specialists, psychologists, or psychiatrists.
You will probably find it hard to focus on and discipline yourself to make changes without the support of a group or therapist. If you’re practicing an addiction, stopping that should be your first priority before tackling codependency. Here’s a list of things you can do on your own to get started:
When you’re tempted to think or worry about someone else, turn your attention back to you.
Pay attention to how you talk to and treat yourself. Much of low self-esteem is self-inflicted. Train yourself to speak gently and encouraging rather than telling yourself what you should or shouldn’t be doing or what’s wrong with you.
Have some fun and pursue hobbies and interests of your own.
Start a spiritual practice where you spend time alone with yourself. Meditation is an ideal way to help you become more calm and self-aware.
Start looking for the positive in your life and what you do. Make a grateful list each day and read it to someone.
Stand-up for yourself if someone criticizes, undermines, or tries to control you.
Don’t worry! That’s not easy, but most worries never come to pass. You lose precious moments in the present. Mediation and talking things out with someone who knows about recovering from codependency can help you.
Let go of control and the need to manage other people. Remember the saying, “Live and let live.”
Accept yourself, so you don’t have to be perfect.
Get in touch with your feelings. Don’t judge them. Feelings just are. They’re not logical or right or wrong.
Express yourself honestly with everyone. Say what you think and what you feel. Ask for what you need.
Reach out for help when you feel bad. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re self-sufficient and can manage alone. That’s a symptom of codependency, too.
Sometimes a support group isn’t enough. We may come to a season in our life where we require help at a level that our church or recovery community cannot offer. New Life Spirit Recovery offer a codependence program track that is set up to give the codependent the opportunity to say “it’s time I take care of me.” Through an intensive counseling and educational approach, the codependent is asked to do a fearless self-confrontation process to press deeply into the healing principles of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will spend time not just assessing what’s wrong in your life today, but deal specifically with the deeper roots that have driven you to this point. Through a Christ-centered clinical approach, this journey can move you through your past not to dwell on it, but to identify false belief systems and shame messages acquired. This will help you to capture the lies you’ve been told and replace them with the truth of who God says you are. While it sounds so simple, it’s an intensive process of peeling back the various layers of your codependence and coping mechanisms to get at the heart of why your life hasn’t been working. As you agree to step into truth, you will find what you’ve been looking – true, authentic freedom. And not just that, you will have the opportunity to acquire new tools to bring into your relationships – tools that are empowered with the truth of God and His redemptive grace, that also allow you to form godly boundaries.
Professional Program Contents:
The assessment is the first thing we must do in order to understand how to best help you. It occurs after a variety of paperwork and a personal life story has been written. The goal of the assessment is for the counselor to understand, identify and provide a treatment plan within your chosen timeframe that sets specific goals relevant to your particular needs and circumstances. On occasion, the counselor may find additional outside services that are necessary and will coordinate with you accordingly.
While it may not be the case for everyone, often, the person suffering from codependence is attempting to balance a relationship that is imbalanced physically, financially, emotionally or spiritually. By the time a person seeks help, this relationship is often so painful and consuming, that specific resources and homework assignments need to be offered to address it immediately. However, at the same time, once that situation can be stabilized, we believe it is absolutely important for the codependent to take the time to assess and understand their own emotional pain and issues that led up to the current circumstances. We have two weekly classes that address the nature of crisis and breakdown in the family system, focusing on critical ways to overcome those unhealthy dynamics.
Individual Counseling Sessions
Our private counseling sessions offer you the opportunity to work through unique needs and challenges you face both in your current circumstances and throughout your lifetime. With your professional, Master-level counselor, you’ll also look at overall patterns and events from childhood through adulthood. The goal of counseling isn’t just to deal with the current situations, but to also identify and understand driving roots. The goal of treatment is to deal with any trauma, emotional difficulties or other life events that have not yet been fully addressed
The core curriculum used in the New Life Spirit Recovery codependence program is based on the nationally recognized book “The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook: from Surviving to Significance” written by our Director, Stephanie Tucker. This book is a 12-module approach to understanding and properly dealing with codependence. Some concepts from A House that Grace Built will also be introduced including bonding, intimacy and important relationships such as marriage and close family.
Self-paced Spiritual Workshop
The spiritual workshop is designed to lay the foundation of God’s truth. It is intended to get people into the Word, to minister to their spirits and to recall the many promises of God.
Homework and Self Evaluation
We don’t believe homework assignments are a minor thing, we believe that through written homework, most breakthroughs will transpire. It gives you the opportunity to connect personally with those thoughts, feelings and behaviors that need to be dealt with.
We use prayer throughout the program. We know that interaction with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is foundational to all true change. Prayer occurs inside the counseling room, and through a more intensive approach prior to exiting program. We deal with generational issues, strongholds, bondage and other forms of spiritual crisis.
What are the Program Options Costs?
Our desire is to package the best, most comprehensive and most affordable option available on the Christian treatment market. We have a variety of different options available that are based on your needs and financial situation. Please call us to learn more.
How Do I Know if I’m codependent?
Everyone is codependent to a degree, but understanding if codependence is so severe that it requires intervention is helpful. For most people, partaking of recovery is sufficient, but for those that have extreme codependency, counseling and/or treatment might be considered.
On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least and 5 being the most, answer the following:
- I have difficulty saying “no” when people ask me to do something, even when I know I should not do it.
- I feel I need cover up for irresponsible people in my life because I don’t want them to suffer. I’d rather “fill in and help them” then see them get consequences. It’s my job to assist them.
- I understand that it is my job to fix, manage and hold my family/relationship together.
- I work hard to be thoughtful and nice to others and get angry when they don’t respond or reciprocate my efforts.
- I like to be around people that need my help. I avoid situations where I would not have a task or a “duty” to perform for others.
- I worry about how I make people feel. It directly affects my own feelings.
- When I get in close relationships, I change to try that please that person. I often “read” people to figure out how I should act.
- I don’t like being alone. I need to be around others all the time.
- I am afraid of people. I need to isolate.
- Being “good to myself” is equivalent to selfishness
- Other people’s needs always come before mine, even if it I have urgent needs and they do not
- In the areas of my life where I experience approval, I often become over-involved. In the areas of failure, I detach and withdraw.
- If something is not perfect I see it as a failure
- I become defensive when others point out my imperfections
- I often measure myself in accordance with other people. It leaves me feeling as if I’m “better” then others sometimes, and “worse” then others at other times.
- I’d rather hang out with people that I perceive as “less” then myself so I can be in a role of helping, solving or fixing their problems.
- I feel very inadequate when people seem to “have it all together.” I tend to avoid friendships with those type of people.
- Deep down inside, I don’t really like myself and don’t want people to know the “real me”
- I tend to blame and criticize people and circumstances for my feelings.
- I have a hard time leaving relationshps, even if they are unhealthy
- I have a difficult time asking people for help, even when it’s necessary.
- I feel sometimes that if I don’t do it myself, it will never get done right
- I find it difficult to speak what I truly feel or ask for what I need.
- I have secret sins in my life that I cannot not let others know about because it would ruin my image of being the “strong one” (i.e., alcohol, drugs, food addiction, sex, pornography, etc.)
If you have answered two or more of these with a “5”, you most likely have codependence roots in your life. If you consistenly scored “4’s and 5’s” it is also an indication of severe codepedence tendencies that may require a deeper level of recovery. Learn here about codependent resources.
VISIT OUR CODEPENDENCE RESOURCE AFFILIATE WEBSITE AT WWW.CHRISTIANCODEPENDENCE. ORG