If someone is codependent, they might feel responsible for others. It could look like literally feeling responsible for their problems or feeling responsible for their emotional reactions. Another sign of codependence is having difficulty expressing your feelings. Expressing your wants and needs can be a real challenge for somebody who is considered to be codependent. Another sign is not trusting yourself, doubting your actions, and doubting your abilities. And lastly, another important sign of codependence is disappointment and how others interact with you.
Here are some of the causes of codependence. (1) Trauma and abuse. The main reason why trauma and abuse lead to codependence is because the child develops codependent qualities in order to gain some sense of control over their environment to survive emotional abuse, physical abuse or neglect.
(2) Mental illness. If one or more of your parents suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction or a mental illness. (3) Neurological. People who have issues with codependence have less activity in their prefrontal cortex, specifically the left dorsomedial part of the prefrontal cortex, which is also associated with less executive functioning skills.
(4) Role models. Another take on the cause of codependence are your role models. If your role models growing up interacted with the other people in your family in codependent ways, then you could learn from them.
The term “codependent” was coined by alcoholics anonymous. I didn't know about this part until I was researching it this week. It was originally called “co-alcoholism”. And then changed to “co-chemical dependency”, and that was shortened to “codependency”. There is actually a movement to replace the term codependency with a new term. And this new term is “self-love deficit disorder”.
SLDD is not in the DSM. Codependency is not in the DSM either. Self-love deficit disorder, to me, means not loving yourself enough and putting all your needs and emotions aside. I would say learning about codependence and what it means can help you reassess your relationships and give you some guidance for understanding which of your relationships are healthy and which aren't.
Being curious about what your needs are is a great way to start healing from codependence. Being curious about whether your needs are being met or not, and how to ask for your needs to be met. And that includes you meeting your own needs. You might find there's a lot of your own needs that you're not filling.
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