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Examples of Codependency

Before we zero in more closely at the symptoms specific to family relationships in addiction and alcoholism, let’s look at some general examples of codependency and codependent behavior.

Codependency can occur in many family and personal situations other than homes where drug and alcohol addiction exists.

A codependent person:

  • Has a strong need to take care of and be needed by others
  • Feels that they know how to take care of others better than they can take care of themselves
  • Will give gifts or rewards in order to keep a relationship going
  • Sets aside their own hobbies and interests in order to focus on the those of others
  • Stops all social activities and involvement in order to become more involved in the life of someone else
  • Will continue “helping” even if the person they are involved with is abusive
  • Feels  frequently and intensely unhappy and upset with other's problems
  • Changes their own behavior so that others don’t reject them or become angry at them
  • Feels that their own personal value is directly related to other people
  • Find it difficult to say “no”, that you need to be available to take care of other people and their problems
  • Often upset when other people don’t take your concerns as seriously or as strongly as you do

There are many examples of codependent behavior, but the underlying theme is feeling more concerned with others to the exclusion of yourself most of the time.

You may be overly focusing on a child, a friend, a parent, or everyone in general, even when they don’t need or want you to. 

With codependency in addictions, your “taking over” an addict or alcoholic's problems gives them unspoken permission and support to carry on their addictive behavior.

Unfortunately by “helping” them you ultimately prevent them from "hitting rock bottom," which is often where the addict needs to land in order to get into drug rehab.


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