Co-dependency is a term that’s thrown about a lot but it’s also one that a lot of us don’t fully understand. The simplest way to explain what it means is as an addiction to feeling needed. Girls, we all like to feel we’re important to the people in our lives, but co-dependency goes a lot further than that – in fact it’s at the root of many dysfunctional relationships. Personalities are co-dependent to varying degrees. The condition can manifest simply as a desire to play ‘Miss Fix-it’ in the lives of all your friends or it can be far more serious and cause people to enable the problems of others just so they continue to feel needed. Here’s a list of seven classic symptoms of co-dependency; if you think you have a few of them yourselves, ladies, it might be time to pay that urge to be needed a little more attention …
1. Compulsive Caretaking
Co-dependent personalities have a tendency to engage in behaviour that, from the outside, seems motherly. They tend to look after their partners in a way that is sometimes called stifling or smothering, and they constantly put themselves in the position of the shoulder to cry on with their friends. Now girls, there’s nothing wrong with treating the people in your life to a little TLC, but when taking on the role of care taker begins to affect your relationships in a bad way, you might want to reconsider your behaviour.
2. Rejection Complex
In situations where people don’t need their help, the co-dependent personality feels and exaggerated sense of hurt. Co-dependency revolves around the longing to be needed in the lives of others, and an outright declaration of independence from a loved one will come across as a profound rejection.
3. The “Where Would You Be without Me?’ Factor
If you ever finding yourself asking this question, you know it’s probably time to take a moment and rethink the way you’re approaching your relationship. Sensations of frustration and irritation caused by a feeling that you are undervalued may, in some cases, be valid. But, girls, in a relationship, you should do things for the other person because you want to help, not because you want to be needed!
4. Getting off on Responsibility
Co-dependent people put themselves in situations where they sacrifice conventional happiness for an exaggerated feeling of responsibility. Often, they will form relationships out of pity, in an attempt to ‘save’ or ‘rescue’ other people. Co-dependent girls will date guys with a drug problem, for example, because they feel that they can play a part in ‘fixing’ their boyfriends.
5. Agony Aunt Syndrome
Co-dependent people tend to be very liberal with their advice. Even if their opinion hasn’t been asked for, they’re likely to give it anyway, and in great detail. This is particularly true of girls, I think, and especially in difficult situations like break ups. If you feel drawn to a friend who’s going through a rough patch, not primarily because you want to support her, but because you love the feeling of being needed, chances are your co-dependency is getting a little out of hand.
6. Fear of Being Alone
Co-dependent people tend to be serial monogamists. They swing from one relationship to the next, and are sometimes willing to date guys that are obviously totally wrong for them. If you’re the kind of person who would rather be in a bad relationship that no relationship at all, then chances are, you have an issue with co-dependence.
7. Approval Junkies
Co-dependents thrive on the approval of others. At the very heart of all co-dependent relationships, is the longing to be thought of as important, even indispensable. The co-dependent personality relies totally on other people’s opinion for it’s sense of self-worth and this is perhaps the crux of the problem.
If you think you might have a problem with co-dependency girls, it’s probably best to have a chat with a professional about your approach to the relationships in your life. But, ladies, I suspect we’re all at least a little bit prone to this kind of behaviour; What do you think? Let me know; I’d love to hear from you!
Top Photo Credit: seanmcgrath