Do You Have a Co-Dependent Personality?

Co-dependency is a very complex psychological behaviour that affects a human being’s relationship with other people. Co-dependency influences a person’s emotional and behavioural patterns that can interfere with his or her everyday life.

Do You Have a Co-dependent Personality?

People with co-dependency may have a strong need for control, have difficulty saying no, be overly passive or aggressive, and struggle with self-esteem and identity. This pattern can lead to unhealthy relationships, where individuals sacrifice their happiness and well-being for the sake of others.

Co-dependency can develop from childhood experiences, such as growing up in a family with substance abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma. Treatment for co-dependency usually involves therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy or behavioural therapy, to help individuals establish healthy boundaries and improve their self-esteem and self-worth.

A co-dependency personality not only causes damaged relationships during a person’s childhood but it can further interfere with future relations. The dependency behaviour of an individual to be entirely dependent on their partner or another individual can be very painful if the other person may not feel the same way. Hence an individual has to struggle to maintain healthy boundaries and have a tendency to prioritize the needs and wants of others over their own.

How Does Co-DependencyAffect You?

Oftentimes, people having traits of co-dependency personality disorder may think that a person who has maybe been there for them in their difficult times or has made a change in their lives is their rescuer. This kind gesture of another person may be misinterpreted by a person having a co-dependency personality disorder and may need their presence every time around them.

This affects a lot of relationships as the individual experiencing co-dependency personality disorder relies completely on another human being and measures their self- worth and self-love with their so-called rescuer.

This brings out other traits in them such as feeling the need to control a person or mistaking someone’s help or pity for love. Controlling behaviour is a preventive measure or tactic used by people with co-dependency traits to not let go of the ones they care about. This need for control is very frustrating as it takes away individual independency and contributes to the reason why people with co-dependency suffer from damaged relationships.

Lack of trust in oneself or trust issues with others is a very complex behaviour of co- dependent people. This is another defence mechanism they acquire to protect themselves from being hurt.

Engaging in risky activities like substance abuse or gambling or alcohol addiction are several ways a co-dependent person may cope to feel better.

It is also observed that people resembling traits of co-dependency personality stay in unhealthy or toxic relationships because they have a fear that their so-called loved one may leave them or abandon them.

It was often regarded previously that personality disorder is linked with people having or coming from a family that has an alcohol addiction. It has been observed that alcohol addiction has damaged families, relationships with friends, work life and personal life as well. Often alcohol addiction has caused abusive behaviour.

Characteristics of a Co-dependent Person

Traits of a co-dependent individual can also be inherited by observing and imitating other family members and people that have a close relationship with the individual. Signs and symptoms of a person suffering from co-dependent personality disorder include the following −

  • Facing denial or rejection

  • Having a fear of abandonment

  • Anxiety of being judged by others

  • Having a fear of rejection by others

  • Facing trouble in decision making

  • Poor or unhealthy relations with others

  • Low level of self-confidence

  • Issues in relationships and intimacy with your partner

  • Often lying

  • People pleasing or a need for approval from others

  • Anger management issues

  • Very strong and frequent emotional reactions towards a situation

  • Obsessions

  • Having trouble knowing how you feel

  • Difficulty with identifying what you need

  • Problems over thought processing and expressing them

Diagnosis for Co-dependency Personality Disorder

Almost all mental or behavioural disorders have the same common symptoms. Also, co- dependency personality disorder might be a sign or symptom of other mental or psychological illnesses. Therefore, it makes it very difficult for doctors to diagnose this personality disorder and is very tricky to identify the underlying cause of a mental disorder.

Frequent sessions with a doctor or a psychologist may give one more time to help identify the problem they are facing. A preferable set of questions are formed to make it easier for the therapist as well as the patient to discover the cause and diagnose the problem that hampers the individual’s behavioural and emotional patterns.


Psychotherapy is considered one of the best treatments for people having a co- dependency personality disorder. Psychotherapy involves a specialist referred to as a psychotherapist and the individual himself. The treatment includes a certain number of sessions to first observe the behaviour and emotional status of the patient and then a particular set of questions are asked to dig into the patient’s history.

In cases of substance abuse, the psychotherapist takes necessary actions to restrict the patient from using substances. Hence, dealing with sobriety is very crucial when considering psychotherapy for patients with co-dependency personality disorders.