Sunday, December 16, 2007

10 Co-dependency Questions

Below I gathered information from various articles and books I have read and put them in the form of questions to determine if you are co-dependent. Let there be a little light shed here on this point.

Co-dependency is not about the alcoholic. It is about you and how you are caring about yourself (or not caring about yourself). And if you are co-dependent, you are not a bad person.

Last, let me say this about co-dependency. I know I may catch some flack on this one, as I do not agree with the 12 pages of adjectives listed in Melody Beattie's renown best seller on Co-dependent No More. According to her list, if we are all co-dependent. I feel like she was afraid to leave some word off her 12 page list of adjectives which translates; "If you have one of these descriptors, then you are co-dependent."

Anyway, it's a good book and far be it from me to judge it bad or wrong, as I own two copies and recommend it to everyone because there is not much written on the topic.

So here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you have a chronic "helping" behavior pattern that may be related to a co-dependent personality.

1. How easy can you say; "No" to helping someone? Is it hard? Too hard, that you give in, even when you don't have time? Or at the expense of what you need to do for yourself? (i.e. exercise

2. Do you feel better when you are offering help and doing the work? Does your value or self-worth seem to increase when you are "needed"?

3. Do your feelings get hurt when you are not appreciated for the "sacrifices" you are making, that no one else recognizes? Do you feel angry, resentful or unappreciated when you have helped someone or the same person or group of people?

4. If you did say "No", would you feel guilty? Would you have an urge to call them back and tell them "Okay, you'll manage?"

5. Do you wind up doing a majority of the work by offering to help someone?

6. Are a majority of your relationships built around helping others? Do you find that people rarely help you? Or that when they do offer help, you "cannot" accept it because it makes you feel uncomfortable?

7. Is the role of helping others a more comfortable and natural role for you to play in your relationships?

8. Do you "worry" too much about what other people think? Are you looking for"signs" in the other person, to determine how you should feel that day (i.e. your mood cannot be better than their mood). Do you wonder what the other person is doing right now? (did they go to work? are they drinking? are they going to drink?)

9. Do you make excuses in your mind about why you should help others, even when helping others, means putting someone close to you (i.e. your children) on a back burner?

10. Is the person or people you constantly help, what seems to be chaotic lives? Or they have a series crises one after another? Do the people you help have addiction problems?

11. Bonus Question: Did you grow up in a family where things were not spoken about, secrets were kept, and mother kept the family functioning? Did you or someone else have to become a "substitute dependable adult" as a child?


Jen said...

I wish you could anonymously loan me that book...because you know I will never get around to taking the time to go get it somewhere. (Much less read it!)
Great list, as usual. I'm glad you post so much. I need it! (Hey, you're needed and appreciated! - Sorry, couldn't help it - )

Joe said...

Jen - You can order it thru Under the "used" section, you can get the book pretty inexpensively. The book may be used or a remainder book (a set of books the publisher could not sell - basically new with a magic marker line on across the bottom. Whether your husband goes to AA or not, Al-Anon is for you. Your husband does not have to go to AA for you to go to Al-Anon. It helps with the anger - at first it may not - but it does after time and the right meetings.

It is really a Self-Help support group and it is not affliated with any religion for others that are reading this post. I have women and men in my meeting (I have a "home" base meeting - your regualar meeting place/time). I have people of Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Moslem, atheists, and other religions/beliefs.

I have also found solitude - by getting to bed early and getting up early - helpful to calm the mind. Some do it though meditation and like me - reading. It take concentration to read or sit silently for 30 minutes or more. What it really is - is a way to learn and practice to control the thoughts you are processing through your mind.

But one has to try these tools and see which ones work for them.

One should seek help in the form of outside professional help. Sometimes a relative or professional can be of some relief. So can a priest or minister as many churches have councilling programs.

I hope this helps.

If anyone else can help Jen that would be great