Am I Being Codependent? 4 Surprising Signs You Are & How to Heal

When you wonder, “Am I being codependent,” it’s natural to be uncertain. It can be hard to understand the signs of codependency. This is especially…

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When you wonder, “Am I being codependent,” it’s natural to be uncertain. It can be hard to understand the signs of codependency. This is especially true because it’s a human need to be close to others – not codependent.

Related: Understanding the Theory of Attachment for Better Relationships

In this article, you will learn 4 surprising signs you are acting in a codependent way – and what to do about it if you are.

Am I Being Codependent?

Before diving into these signs of codependency, it’s helpful to define what it is.

Very simply, codependency is the pattern of prioritizing others over yourself. This people pleasing stems from a fear of being abandoned or rejected by others. Therefore, you will sacrifice yourself just to maintain some closeness in your life.

am i being codependent

You Can Stop Being Codependent

If you find that you are being codependent, please know there is no shame in this pattern. Often, this stems from trauma which led you to believe that you must compromise yourself to keep others around.

Related: How Trauma Can Lead to Being a People Pleaser: Understanding the Cause to Heal

Also, once you know that you are being codependent, try not to be hard on yourself. Practice self-compassion. This pattern makes sense and you can recover.

Codependency Sign #1: You’re Tired All the Time

A clear sign you may have codependency is if you’re exhausted all the time. Being tired constantly indicates you probably aren’t setting the boundaries you need around your time.

This happens typically in codependency due to people pleasing. It’s hard to get enough rest and sleep when you have difficulty saying “no.” This may show up with your family, friends and/or work. Being unable to take the time you need for yourself to keep others happy is seriously exhausting.

Healing Your Exhaustion

The best way to overcome the exhaustion common in codependency is to set boundaries.

Setting boundaries is one of 5 of the key steps to recover from codependency. And when you set boundaries around your time, you give yourself a chance to self-care and rest. These things are necessary to reclaim your energy levels.

am i being codependent

An example of this boundary setting may look like no longer responding to work emails after dinner. Or another example may be to set boundaries on yourself to go to bed at a good time. Your body needs this – and prioritizing self-care is another step of codependency recovery.

Related: Is Self Care Important? 4 Reasons Why It Is

Codependency Sign #2: You Often Feel Resentful

Another key sign that you are acting in a codependent way is feeling resentful consistently.

Resentment is always a sign that you have been overlooking your own personal needs, wants, or boundaries. Here you give and sacrifice to others often without even being asked to do this to the detriment of your own wellbeing.

Related: How to Know Your Boundaries in a Relationship: 3 Essential Tips from a Couples Therapist

The natural byproduct of ignoring your emotions including those of anger, not setting boundaries, and neglecting to self-care is resentment. This is a highly common sign of codependency.

From: Break the Good Girl Myth: How to Dismantle Outdated Rules, Unleash Your Power, and Design a More Purposeful Life 

Overcoming Resentment

Resentment is always a sign you are ignoring your own needs while minimizing your anger. The gift of anger is self-protection and it reveals your needs and boundaries. On the other hand, resentment is something you do to yourself by ignoring these needs, wants, and limits.

The first step to overcoming resentment is being honest with yourself about what you do and don’t want to do for others. Here you will both need to set boundaries by not doing the things you don’t want to do. For instance, not attending every event you’re invited to or doing your partner’s laundry. At the same time, you can consider what you authentically want to give.

For support in identifying – and setting boundaries – please check out the book, Setting Boundaries: 100 Ways to Protect Yourself, Strengthen Your Relationships and Build the Life You Want…Starting Now!

Cultivating Interdependency

The healthy alternative to codependency is interdependency.

Related: Interdependence vs Codependency: 3 Clear Ways to Know the Difference

Here you are responsible to honor your own needs, desires and boundaries. This means taking time to self-care, having some fun, and saying “no” to others sometimes.

At the same time, you will still want to do some things for your loved ones. Here you can be honest with yourself and give from a truthful place. This authentic generosity is the antidote to building resentment. Rather than giving from an automatic fearful people pleasing place, you are giving from your authentic self.

From: Break the Good Girl Myth: How to Dismantle Outdated Rules, Unleash Your Power, and Design a More Purposeful Life 

Codependency Sign #3: You Prioritize Words Over Actions

When you prioritize words over actions this is another sign of acting codependent.

Commonly, in codependency, people overlook reality to instead prioritize their fantasy of someone. They will spend a lot of time minimizing how a person really treats them. Instead they will think about their “potential” and the kind words this person may say to them.

Often this looks like a person believing there is a “good” version of their partner and a “bad” one. The good version is the “real” person in the codependent’s mind. Whereas, when they mistreat them, this isn’t “really” their partner – it’s their trauma for instance acting out.

This is part of the “reality” issues common in codependency.

From: The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle

Seeing Reality Clearly

To overcome this tendency to pick fantasy over reality, it’s important to really take note of what is true.

For example, if you believe that there is a “good” version of your partner and a “bad” inauthentic version, it’s important to accept both parts are real. Instead of wondering, “How do I get my partner to act as their true and good self, more often?” it’s important to honor reality.

Both versions of your partner are true. The partner who treats you kindly, promising you a beautiful future and the partner who is cruel or unkind are both real. Instead of just wishing your partner (or friend, parent, etc.) would act like their sweet self more often, it’s important to accept the truth that they choose to treat you poorly.

To help overcome fantasy thinking, it’s helpful to take notes of how they treat you – the good, bad, and the ugly. Then when you feel “crazy” when this person mistreats you again, you can go back to your list and notice the truth that this is how they always act.

Then also remember that words are cheap – you can’t take them to the bank. The most important thing for a good relationship is a person’s actions.

Codependency Sign #4: You Spend A Lot of Time Trying to Figure Your Partner (or Someone) Out

Related to the fantasy thinking common in codependency is the amount of time you may invest trying to “figure” someone out.

Here you may spend much of your time trying to figure out what your partner really thinks or feels. This is instead of taking their actions at face level. For instance, if your partner refuses to talk about problems, you may think “They are just really embarrassed.” In reality, your partner could be doing this for many other reasons including a desire to manipulate the situation.

Related: The Cycle of a Codependency Narcissistic Relationship

Or you may think that someone has a hard time being consistent with you because of their “trauma.”

In reality, empathy is a good thing but it becomes a problem when you focus more on mind reading the other person rather than honoring your own feelings and needs too.

Stop Mindreading

To overcome this tendency to mind read what others’ may be thinking or feeling, it’s important to pay attention to your thoughts.

Developing a mindfulness practice to interrupt this type of thinking is helpful. You can learn more about this practice by reading, 4 Practical Tips to Learn How to Be Nice to Yourself.

Any time you are fixating on what someone else may be thinking or feeling as a way of dismissing their unkind treatment, you want to interrupt this.

It’s important to not give others a “pass” to hurt you even if they are feeling bad or have a trauma history. To recover from codependency, you must start caring about your own emotions and pain as well.

You Can Recover from Codependency

If you notice that you being codependent, please know there is no shame in this.

The most important thing is you name this problem, understand you developed codependency for a reason, and then focus on healing.

This blog is filled with articles to help you heal from codependency.

Other recommended reading includes the books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence.

Boundary setting is also crucial to recover from codependency. To do this, Setting Boundaries: 100 Ways to Protect Yourself, Strengthen Your Relationships and Build the Life You Want…Starting Now! is an invaluable resource.

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About The Author

Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist and author with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to find their voice, deepen their ability to self-love, and improve their relationships.

Her newest book, Setting Boundaries: 100 Ways to Protect Yourself, Strengthen Your Relationships and Build the Life You Want…Starting Now! (Therapy Within Reach), gives you the tools necessary to identify, set, and stay firm with your boundaries.

Her other books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many overcome people pleasing, self-neglect, and resentment to have a healthier relationship with themselves and others.

If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to krystal@confidentlyauthentic.com or DM her on Instagram. We will always keep your name and other identifying information confidential.

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