There is a very fine line between being a kind, giving person, and being codependent. We used to think that codependency existed only in conjunction with someone else’s addiction but it is now understood as a problem in its own right. The biblical Martha, rushing around, choosing to be “cumbered with much serving,” but becoming highly resentful while she does it, is considered by some to be illustrative of codependency. Of the symptoms below, some may simply indicate your generous and selfless nature. However, if they occur often enough to prevent you from living your own life and feeling good about it, then think carefully about why you do what you do. Some signs that may indicate codependency are:
1. You spend a lot of time doing things for others, but you also feel resentful about it.
2. You rarely do anything for yourself or spend anything on yourself beyond bare essentials, and you have forgotten what “having fun” feels like.
3. You find it easier to say yes, and then feel badly about doing whatever you agreed to, than to say no in the first place.
4. In relationships, you treat your partner as well as you hope s/he will eventually treat you, and wonder why s/he doesn’t follow your example. You allow this to continue indefinitely.
5. You find yourself sacrificing some of your values to fit in with how your partner or friends choose to live.
6. When friends and family are in trouble you see it as your responsibility to save them, even if they brought the problem on themselves, even if they need to learn from their own consequences if ever they are to change.
7. You allow others to invade your boundaries because it makes you feel needed.
8. Even though your own life is in order, you attract dysfunctional people who immediately start to depend on you. You allow this.
9. You have difficulty thinking about yourself as central to your life. Even if asked about yourself, you somehow end up talking about the people who are in your life rather than about you.
10. If you were drowning, someone else’s life would probably flash before your eyes.