Codependent Personality Patterns


5- Codependent Personality Patterns


As a result of living in addicted or dysfunctional families, codependents adopt certain personality patterns that hinder their ability to maintain healthy and nurturing relationships with themselves or others. This article describes the predominate personality patterns and some of the signs and symptoms exhibited by codependents.


  • Personality patterns
  • Signs & Symptoms



Personality patterns

The Fellowship of Codependents Anonymous, has characterized the codependent personality patterns to the following 4 categories:

 codependent personality patterns


1- Denial Patterns

  • Codependents have difficulty identifying what they are feeling.
  • They minimize, distort, or deny how they truly feel.
  • They perceive themselves as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.
  • They believe that their fulfillment and happiness is dependent on others.


2- Low Self-Esteem Patterns

  • Codependents have difficulty making decisions.
  • Their decisions are based on what suits others.
  • They judge everything they think, say, or do harshly, and as never good enough.
  • They rarely request that others meet their needs or satisfy their desires.
  • They seek other people’s approval for how to think, feel, and behave.
  • They perceive themselves as unlovable and not worthwhile.
  • They are embarrassed when receiving recognition or praise or gifts.


3- Compliance Patterns

  • Codependents compromise their own values and integrity to avoid rejection or other people’s anger.
  • They are extremely sensitive, often feeling other people’s feelings.
  • They are loyal to an extreme degree, remaining in harmful situations or abusive relationships.
  • They value the opinions and feelings of others more than their own, and are often afraid to express opinions and feelings that differ from others.
  • They put aside their own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
  • They accept sex when they want love.


4- Control Patterns

  • Codependents believe others are incapable of solving their own problems.
  • They believe it is their responsibility to help and rescue other people.
  • They attempt to tell others what they “should” think and how they “truly” feel.
  • They become resentful when others reject their help.
  • They are in the habit of offering others unsolicited advice and directions.
  • They lavish gifts and favors on people in order to be liked or loved.
  • They use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
  • They have to feel needed in order to have a relationship with others.



Signs & Symptoms

Those affected by codependency can exhibit the following signs and symptoms:


1. Difficulty developing or sustaining meaningful relationships.

2. Excessive dependence on things or people outside themselves.

3. Low self-esteem that is often projected onto others.

4. Inability to recognize what “normal” is.

5. Accepting responsibility for others’ feelings or actions.

6. Neglecting their own needs and wants.

7. Constantly trying to please others and seeking approval and affirmation.

8. Judging self and others without mercy.

9. Letting others dominate or abuse them.

10. Belief that others cause or are responsible for the quality of their lives.

11. Reacting in extreme ways.

12. Inability to see alternatives to situations and responding impulsively.

13. Feelings of being different, either worse or better than others.

14. A weak sense of personal identity and loss of touch with one’s real self.

15. Difficulty knowing their own feelings and wishes.

16. Being overly responsible.

17. Difficulty setting realistic personal boundaries.

18. Lack of self-confidence in making decisions, while being unaware they have choices.

19. Feelings of fear, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, hurt, and shame, which are denied.

20. Isolation and fear of people.

21. Resentment of authority figures.

22. Fear of expressing feelings, especially anger.

23. Addicted to drama and excitement.

24. Dependency upon others and fear of abandonment.

25. Avoidance of relationships to guard against abandonment fears.

26. Tendency to look for “victims” to help.

27. Frequently feeling resentful and victimized.

28. Excessive efforts to control or change their environment or the people in it.

29. Rigidity and need to control.

30. Dishonest and manipulative.

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