Several of our Therapists that are seeing clients in person have now been vaccinated. In addition to offering in person appointments we are also seeing clients for online sessions via video call.
Sunday, 22 Dec 2019

7 Eye-Opening Signs You're in a Co-Dependent Relationship

By Dr Becky Spelman
7 Signs You're in a Co-Dependent Relationship | Private Therapy Clinic

A co-dependent relationship is a relationship dynamic in which two people are unable to function without the input of the other. You could view this as a state of unconditional love. But there is a difference. The type of unwavering romantic love you may be thinking of is balanced. There are boundaries. Each half of the couple are capable of equipping themselves without the support of their partner.

Co-dependency, on the other hand, it hyper-realised version of love, that inhibits the capacity for growth on the personal level. It was a term typically used to describe relationships in which there were substance abuse issues in the past. One person would be the dysfunctional addict, while the other would provide the means to support them and their habit. However, it has become increasingly relevant as standards we measure ourselves by continue to shift.

Here are seven sign you may be in a co-dependent relationship:

You Have No Sense of Self-Worth

The fact you’re reliant on someone else to meet your needs is usually indicative that you’re incapable of doing so yourself. This is often due to a lack of self-esteem. People with low self-worth are unable to feel good about themselves without the validation of others.

You’re a People Pleaser

One of the hallmarks of a co-dependent is the want – and need – to please everyone around them. They don’t feel that they could be liked for their character, as they view themselves as being fundamentally flawed. They will continually go out of their way to do things for others, overcompensating for their perceived lack of worth.

You Have Poor Personal Boundaries

Co-dependents often feel an innate responsibility for the wellbeing of others that goes beyond the natural extension of empathy. They will readily take on other’s problems and have no issue in shifting the blame for their own elsewhere. It’s not unusual for co-dependents to flip from having very open boundaries to becoming extremely defensive

You Have a Poor Temperament and Discernment Filter

If you can’t be consistent with your boundaries, you may also find it difficult communicating with others when you feel you’ve been emotionally triggered. You can take things very personally. But conversely, your loose boundaries may also cause you to believe much of what you hear from others with little to no discernment.

You have Difficulty Identifying the Way You Feel

Because of the tendency to merge your thoughts and overly empathise with others, the dissociation that results from that can make it very hard to identify your own needs. It can lead to confusion, missteps in judgment and further reinforce your co-dependency on the subconscious level.

You Have Little or Few Interests Outside of Your Relationship

There can be a honeymoon period for many fledgeling relationships where both halves may want to spend frequent time together. But if this occurs more often than not, it can create an imbalance. If you’re spending all your time together, you have no new perspectives that allow you to develop. You need to allow each other space to experience life independently to grow more effectively both with and without each other.

You’ll Constantly Be Comparing Your Relationships to Others

You will, at some point, have compared your relationship to others and possibly even raised the issue with your partner. There is a tendency sometimes of questing after the perfect relationship. And this idea of self-improvement is admirable. But the desire to emulate others can be the source of unnecessary tension. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection stand in the way of what you have right now.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman PhD is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you’re struggling with co-dependency and think you might benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.


Medical News Today (2018). What’s to know about codependentrelationships?.Retrieved on 18th November, 2019 from,

Psychology Today. (27thApr 2016). Anorexia Nervosa. Retrieved on 18th November, 2019 from,

Psych Central. (8th Jul 2018). 10 Warning Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship. Retrieved on 18th November, 2019 from,

Check out other related articles

  • 26 Oct 2019

    Relationship Tools: 4 Steps You Take to Repair the Damage

    Relationships are the easiest thing in the world to get right – until they’re not. And things can quickly do a 180-degree turn overnight, and even in the blink of an eye in some cases. There are many reasons why this might happen. It could be the result of a misstep in the form of infidelity o.....

  • 19 Aug 2019

    7 Clear-Cut Signs Your Relationships Are Rooted in Co-Dependency

    Co-dependency is an emotional and behavioural condition that is often learned and passed down from one generation to the next. It's a dynamic that can take root in any form of relationship, from the romantic to companionships and friendships as well as being observed in caregiving situations......

  • 15 Jul 2019

    How Couples Therapy Can Help Eliminate The Stress From Your Relationship?

    Attending couples therapy doesn't mean that your relationship has failed. In fact, those who are willing to go through the process stand a much better chance of resolving their issues than those who don't. It's entirely normal to experience moments of stress in any kind of relationship – romantic .....

  • 10 Jun 2021

    How to Recognise If You Have Relationship OCD

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a relatively common mental health issue in the UK, with around 1.2% of the population experiencing some form of it. People often tend to characterise the condition in finite terms, with the classic example of ritualistic behaviours used as the quintessential ca.....