(19) The Codependent in All of Us

Exploring an article by Sharon Martin looking at: “How Codependents Can Stop Enabling and Controlling.” Asking questions of how codependent characteristics are in all relationships, how boundaries work, and whether we’re as separate from one another as we think.


Codependent Characteristics – Behaviors We All Do

  1. Caretaking – Doing for someone something they can do for themselves. Definitely, an issue if it is a primary way of interacting, outside your job, but something that happens often with children, elderly and loved ones.
  2. Denial or avoidance of a feeling or experience – Consistent denial of feelings is a significant problem, yet not expressing anger with a child, or taking a breath in order to see a larger perspective are both healthy.
  3. Anger – Repression or avoidance of any feeling on a consistent basis will lead to on-going issues. Yet there are times when it is healthy to put off the expression of anger, or the discussion of issues that cause another to be angry. Be sure to look at each occurrence in context.
  4. Control – The need to control others and circumstances is a problem because it’s not possible. The ability to impose self-control when desired is healthy.
  5. Enabling or rescuing – Are caretaking taken to an extreme. It’s okay to bail your kid out of trouble as long as you don’t do it to the level of crippling their ability to handle things on their own, or inhibit their learning how to make good decisions.
  6. Boundaries – we like to think of boundaries and thick impenetrable walls, rules of behavior you always enforce, and if you’re codependent you are told they are weak. Yet healthy boundaries are more like semi-permeable membranes that let good things in and keep bad things out. They are flexible and adjust to circumstances.

We all utilize “codependent” behaviors and characteristics, it’s all a matter of degree and context.

We continue the exploration of this topic in episode 20 The Breaking Away From Enabling

Further reading:

Yes You’re In A Relationship

Relational Expansion In Communication