There are three assumptions that a co-dependent acts upon in their main relationships with others
- I have the power to change you.
- If I can change you that makes me somewhat responsible for you.
- Then if you're not doing OK, I'm not doing my job right and then I'm not OK
Two delusions of the concerned person are:
- "If your not OK, I'm not OK."
- " For me to be OK, you have to be OK."
The following list of characteristics and behaviors of a co-dependent start with those behaviors or characteristic that are most indicative or common to a co-dependent.
- Has ill-defined boundaries; he/she is not aware of where he/she stops and and another begins (enmeshment).
- Has not learned to set limits.
- Has learned to meet their needs through being concerned about other people.
- Perceives him/herself as a victim and from that may become martyr-like or an overachiever.
- Confuses intimacy with dependency.
- Gets addicted to destructive relationships ( the person they are involved with may or may not be chemically dependent).
- Keeps someone "sick," weak, or chemically dependent by not letting them accept responsibility which is truly theirs (enabling).
- Lives from crisis to crisis/does emotional bingeing in a compulsive way.
- Reacts instead of acts.
- Is other-directive as opposed to self-directive/focuses in on what other want instead of what he/she wants for him/herself.
- Blocks what he/she doesn't want to see and picks up what they want to perceive.
- Experiences anxiety with accompanying physical symptom.
- May feel rejected because of another person's choice to have drugs be their primary relationship in life.
The above list is comprehensive and any individual does not have all of the characteristics or behaviors listed above.