Recognizing Codependent Relationships


What is Codependency Anyway?

It is an inability to be completely independent. Often times this can look like needing excessive approval from another person, relying on another person for emotional stability, and depending on another for a sense of identity. Codependent behavior is an unhealthy way of relating to another person, and despite its relationship to addiction, sometimes it can come up when there isn’t addiction in the picture. The reason it is unhealthy is because it prevents you from being your own person, it hinders your everyday functioning, and it can create anxiety, depression, and resentment. It can be hard to spot what this even looks like because it is quite possible that this is how you learned how to be in relationships with people. It might be your normal. If you are feeling that your normal isn’t working for you anymore, there are ways to get support so that you can find what works better for you. But before you can do that, you need to be able to spot it. Let’s looks at some ways to identify what this may look like in a relationship.


  • You experience feelings of guilt when you tell someone “no”
  • You often minimize how you feel
  • You can sometimes give loyalty where it isn’t due
  • It is a struggle knowing or asking for what you need
  • Fear of making plans without this person in case they become upset that you did something without them
  • You are the sole source of support in this person’s life
  • You often feel good when this person “needs” your help
  • The other person or yourself can feel jealous if either of you are spending time with other people
  • You feel drained when you are with this person
  • The effort isn’t reciprocated. You will drop everything for them, but they do not do the same for you as consistently
  • You put this person’s needs over your own needs
  • You never feel that you can live up to this person’s expectations of you
  • You give up time with your friends and family, or even hobbies, to be with this person
  • You have difficulty making decisions without this person

If you can identify with a majority of these signs, it may be a good idea to seek some support. Keep in mind that just because you can identify with some of these, does not necessarily mean that you are in a codependent relationship; however, it may mean that there are some ways of interacting that aren’t as healthy as they could be.

Below are some resources you may find helpful:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Treatment referral and information service. Available 24/7: 1-800-662-HELP

About Alison Silvius Casanova LMFT

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I enjoy supporting people in finding solutions to everyday problems. I work with people of all ages that struggle with social skills, are affected by addiction, and have suffered trauma/loss. My areas of interest include cognitive behavioral therapy, self esteem building, improved communication in relationships, grief/loss, and more. You can read more about me on my page at: