12 Signs That You’re In A Codependent Relationship And Need To Regain Your Independence

Even though giving and receiving support in your relationships is vital, codependency is an excessive reliance on others to meet one’s own personal needs. It’s not only toxic to be in relationships like this but it can be downright damaging to your long-term mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. Here are some signs you’re in a co-dependent relationship and need to take a step back.

  1. You Lack Boundaries. Codependent people are prone to being taken advantage of because they lack clear boundaries. This is because they believe that the more they sacrifice for someone, the more their efforts will be rewarded. If you want to work on this tendency, try to figure out your own personal boundaries that you would set for yourself in a relationship (romantic, platonic, or otherwise) and practice exercising them. If identifying these boundaries seems too difficult for you, imagine the boundaries that you would set for your best friend or someone you have a lot of respect for.
  2. You Need Constant Validation. While feeling validated is satisfying for anyone, people who are codependent require validation on an extremely consistent basis or else their self-esteem plummets. They need regular reassurance in their relationships and reminders of their worth because their sense of their own self-worth is often non-existent. If you find yourself regularly asking your partner if they love you, still find you attractive, or approve of what you do, that’s a serious problem.
  3. You Can’t Properly Communicate or Identify Your Needs. Codependents are usually messy and disorganized in their communication because they have a hard time identifying their own needs. This is due to the fact that they’re always hyper-focused on the needs of others. If this applies to you, try taking some time to focus on what it is that you think your wants and needs are in a relationship. Journal about it. Keep it in your pocket. This exercise may help you better establish proper boundaries as well.
  4. You’re An Enabler. I’ve been guilty of this one far too many times over. Codependent people ignore and enable unhealthy or toxic behavior in others because they think they’re being understanding and accepting. This tendency comes from the yearning desire to be accepted unconditionally themselves, so they think that expressing this for others is the best way to accomplish that.
  5. You’re Overly Concerned About What Your Partner Is Doing, Thinking, or Feeling. If your mind is constantly preoccupied with what your significant other is up to – in their heads or physically – then you may have some codependent traits. While it’s normal to wonder what our partner is thinking and doing, if it feels like it’s plaguing your mind, then it’s time to re-assess yourself and your thought patterns. You should trust your partner enough and be busy enough with your own life to allow them to have theirs.
  6. You’ve Been Called a Martyr. In order to receive the validation and support they crave from others, codependent people will often play the victim. This doesn’t make it feel any less real for the codependent – they feel like they have inner turmoil that can only be cured by being cared for by others. Habits are hard to break, but the best thing to do is recognize when you’re participating in this behavior and stop it when you notice it. This will become easier to do over time.
  7. You Base Your Worth Off of What You Can Do For Others. People who are codependent base their value on how much they’re needed. When they don’t feel needed by others, they have a hard time figuring out their role in the world and experience feelings of worthlessness. If this sounds like you, remember that you belong here and serve a purpose whether your purpose is doing things for others or just simply existing for yourself. There is more to your worth than people’s dependence on you.
  8. You Feel the Need to “Rescue” People. Because codependents look for purpose in serving others, they hyper-focus on “rescuing” their partners. Codependents tend to be “fixers” – they want to feel like the hero in someone else’s story. If you have this desire, remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
  9. You Need Someone to “Rescue” You. Codependents can be intense on both of these ends. They think they are always out to help other people, so somebody needs to be their hero in return. Codependents feel like having a healthy relationship means having a partner that will “save” them. Explore further your wants and needs in a relationship. Realize that this way of thinking isn’t actually healthy at all, and will more often than not lead you to disappointment.
  10. You’re Nagging or Controlling. Codependents will often try and shape their partner into what they think they should be, rather than finding one that can meet their expectations upfront.
  11. You Intensely Fear Abandonment and Rejection. Though this isn’t a good feeling for anyone to experience, a codependent person will go to all lengths to avoid it.
  12. You Continue Relationships That Aren’t In Your Best Interest. Codependents often find themselves clinging to relationships that are abusive and putting up with getting hurt by their partner. They tolerate toxic and unhealthy relationships and stay with a person who isn’t good for them in order to avoid abandonment. Though you may think that staying with a partner is better than the latter, this will almost always result in you feeling resentful, frustrated, taken advantage of, or unfulfilled.
I am a 29 year old writer from Milwaukee, WI. Currently living a life of freedom in Tucson, AZ. Virgo, wine-drinker, lover of bad dancing. Insanity and getting into trouble are my fortes. Writing is my medium.