(Authors’s note – Although this is not overtly Christian, godly principles are embedded in it. This is going to be included in my Christian support group topic book when I finish it.)
One of the ways a person can know they struggle with codependency is by how people treat them. A characteristic of a codependent person is that they are frequently having their personal boundaries violated, broken, and ignored by those around them. This is especially true if the codependent is in relationship with a highly compulsive person or an addict.
Here is a long list of ways a person can thoroughly disrespect and take advantage of codependents:
- They won’t let you get a word in edgewise in conversation.
- They sometimes threaten to break up the relationship.
- They seem to always change the subject of a conversation.
- They throw objects against the wall.
- They abuse you psychologically or physically.
- They roll their eyes when you speak.
- They mock you sometimes, even in public.
- They frequently sulk or frown.
- They are often condescending or patronizing.
- They laugh at you, not with you.
- They shut you off in mid-conversation.
- They often act confused at the things you say.
- They recall your past as a weapon against you.
- They accuse you of being oversensitive.
- They accuse you of being controlling.
- They bully you from time-to-time.
- They ask you to stop talking or shut-up.
- They overtly sigh, making sure you hear it.
- They beg you to stay when they are afraid you’ll leave.
- They falsely accuse you of things.
- They don’t want you to go anywhere without them.
- They throw physical or psychological tantrums.
Before a codependent is in recovery they may have accepted any or all of this list as normal, and gone along with them by changing their behavior to suit the person they are with. Once a codependent starts to get healthy, these behaviors from a partner or friend start to appear as what they are, violations of a person’s boundaries. At his point the codependent finally comes face to face with the results of their own dysfunction.
Discuss if you connect with any of the boundary breaking statements we’ve listed. Maybe you’ve received or maybe you’ve made them, or maybe you just realized the you must be a codependent at some level.