Codependency is often hard to understand because relationship patterns are deeply rooted and feel so natural. So where does one draw the line between healthy caring and codependency? Here are three indicators:
1) Trying to get someone else to change - this can cost considerable amounts of energy with no real payoff.
2) Being totally "fed up" with a partner, child, friend or colleague but also feeling quite attached to them. This is confusing. Anger, despair and love are not mutually exclusive, and a person can be totally caught up in this drama and not be able to take action.
3) Not knowing what you want or even need while at the same time trying to provide others with what they want and need.
What then is the reward for codependency? Usually it is tied up with avoiding fear, sadness or emptiness.. Also, obsession with another person can be a drug-like escape when one feels trapped in one’s current situation.
The good news is that codependency is a habit, and habits can be broken. If you are wondering if you are codependent, then you have already taken the first step to changing your life. Feel free to contact me, or check out CODA (CODA.org). If a loved one is involved in substance abuse, contact Al-Anon (Alanon.org). Your suffering for someone else can start to end today.