Codependency is an emotional and behavioral pattern of relating where an individual prioritizes others’ needs and wants over their own – to the detriment of their own wellbeing. The individual may sometimes mistake some of these behaviors as helpful and see themself as completely unselfish or committed to others. Though generally coming from a place of caring, the behaviors are often not beneficial to either person or the relationship.
Some characteristics of codependency involve:
- difficulty identifying feelings
- difficulty making decisions
- difficulty establishing healthy boundaries
- a sense of guilt when asking for one’s own needs (or wants)
- continually doing more than one’s share
- extreme loyalty and staying in harmful situations too long
Codependency is learned behavior, and working with a mental health professional will assist in learning new strategies to support a stronger connection with oneself and more balanced relationships with others.