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Monday, 19 Aug 2019

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

By Dr Becky Spelman
7 Signs of Relationships Based on Co-Dependency | Private Therapy Clinic

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. Co-dependency can broadly be described as “any relationship in which two people become so invested in each other that they can’t function independently anymore.” In essence, it is the inability for the person(s) involved to engage in any form mutually beneficial and/or satisfying relationship, which can often result in one-sided and emotionally abusive confrontations. Here are some signs that might indicate you’re in a co-dependent relationship.

A Tendency Towards Wanting to Rescue Others

One of the main facets that define a co-dependent relationship is the drive to serve others in a manner of fixing them or performing a need which they may be capable of – and want to fulfil themselves. It often involves the overstepping of personal boundaries and is done to demonstrate value to that person to ‘strengthen’ your relationship.

A Lack of Your Own Proper Boundaries

The co-dependent individual by nature is always fearful of the status and health of any relationship they’re involved in. This leads to the willingness to either regularly agree with requests that are not in their best interest, or else offer themselves – and their time – at the expense of something they would rather do themselves — this lack of having proper boundaries is above all a problem with saying ‘no.’

A Fear of Abandonment

As the co-dependent individual is rooted in the mindset their relationship could end at any time, the thought of abandonment is a very real fear. This often feeds into increased instances of behaviour that seek to make up for the perceived shortfalls in their character.  Over time, these overcompensating behaviours lead to the further dissolution of boundaries.

Difficulty in Identifying Your Own Needs

In being so preoccupied with what they feel they should be doing for others, it can be very hard for the co-dependent individual to recognise and respond to their own needs. This weighting of responsibility towards their partner makes it difficult for them to become aware of their own emotions and provide themselves with appropriate levels of self-care.

The Need for Control

Since the fear of abandonment is a constant that hangs over the relationship of a co-dependent, the need to control the outcome of all interactions is one that informs much of their intent. The hope is that by avoiding any form of conflict, their relationship(s) will remain on a sure footing, and thus their ‘value’ to the other person will be maintained.

Experiencing Difficulty in Making your Own Decisions

Because of the tendency towards putting other’s needs before their own, the co-codependent will often experience bouts of extreme indecisiveness. As their main priority is the appeasement of others, their decision-making process can become impaired, which can make any independent action increasing difficult, and further entrench them in their co-dependency.

Low Self-Esteem

The feeling of not being enough or worthy of someone’s time is often prevalent within co-dependents and is also accompanied by the comparing of one’s self to others. This can manifest as a lack of confidence in their relationship and is one of the fundamental character traits that inform other associated behaviours. The low sense of self-esteem will leave the co-dependent often believing they’re going to mess things up and be thus be in continuous need of approval.

*** If you feel as though some of the above symptoms describe your relationship circumstances, or those of someone close to you, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION where we can offer the best advice on how to move forward from your current situation. You can book yours here.


Mental Health America. (2018). Co-dependency. Retrieved on 4th August, 2019 from,

Every Day Health. (1st Dec 2016). Do You Have a Co-dependent Personality? Retrieved on 4th August, 2019 from,

Web MD. (7th Aug 2014). Are You in a Co-dependent Relationship? Retrieved on 4th August, 2019 from,

Medical News Today. (31st Oct 2017). What’s to Know About Codependent Relatioships? Retrieved on 4th August, 2019 from,

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