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Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence

These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation. They may be particularly helpful to newcomers. The Patterns and Characteristics of Codependency may not be reprinted or republished without the express written consent of Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. This document may be reprinted from the website www.coda.org (CoDA) for use by members of the CoDA Fellowship. Copyright © 2010 Co-Dependents Anonymous, Inc. and its licensors -All Rights Reserved

 

Denial Patterns:

  • I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
  • I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.
  • I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others.
  • I lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
  • I label others with my negative traits.
  • I can take care of myself without any help from others.
  • I mask my pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
  • I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
  • I do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom I am attracted.

Low Self Esteem Patterns:

  • I have difficulty making decisions.
  • I judge what I think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
  • I am embarrassed to receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
  • I value others’ approval of my thinking, feelings, and behavior over my own.
  • I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.
  • I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve. I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
  • I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and will even lie to look good.
  • I am unable to ask others to meet my needs or desires. I perceive myself as superior to others.
  • I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
  • I have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
  • I have trouble setting healthy priorities.

Compliance Patterns:

  • I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
  • I put aside my own interests in order to do what others want.
  • I am hypervigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
  • I am afraid to express my beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
  • I accept sexual attention when I want love.
  • I make decisions without regard to the consequences.
  • I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.

Control Patterns:

  • I believe most people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • I attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
  • I freely offer advice and direction to others without being asked.
  • I become resentful when others decline my help or reject my advice.
  • I lavish gifts and favors on those I want to influence.
  • I use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
  • I have to be needed in order to have a relationship with others.
  • I demand that my needs be met by others.
  • I use charm and charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate.
  • I use blame and shame to emotionally exploit others.
  • I refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.
  • I adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
  • I use terms of recovery in an attempt to control the behavior of others.
  • I pretend to agree with others to get what I want.

Avoidance Patterns:

  • I act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward me.
  • I judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
  • I avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a means of maintaining distance.
  • I allow my addictions to people, places, and things to distract me from achieving intimacy in relationships.
  • I use indirect and evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
  • I diminish my capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use all the tools of recovery.
  • I suppress my feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
  • I pull people toward me, but when they get close, I push them away.
  • I refuse to give up my self-will to avoid surrendering to a power that is greater than myself.
  • I believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
  • I withhold expressions of appreciation.

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