"Characteristics of Co-dependents: Modified from Schaef (1986)" "1. External referencing: distrusting own perceptions, lacking boundaries, believing one cannot survive without a relationship/addicted to relationships, fearing abandonment, believing in the perfect union. 2. Caretaking: become indispensable, become a martyr 3. Self-centeredness: personalizing all events, assuming responsibility for other's behavior. 4. Over-controlling: increasing control efforts when chaos increases, attempting to control everything and everyone, controlling without caring for those controlled, believing that with more effort you can fix the addict/family. 5. Feelings: unaware of feelings, distorting emotional experiences/accepting only acceptable feelings, fearfulness. 6. Dishonesty: managing all impressions made, omitting/lying about the truth, rigidity. 7. Gullibility: being a bad judge of character, unwillingness to confront, over-trusting, accepting what fits the way on wishes the way things were. Lay symptoms of Co-dependence Changing who you are to please others Feeling responsible for meeting other people's needs at the expense of your own Low self-esteem Driven by compulsions Denial Diagnostic Criteria a) Continued investment of self-esteem in the ability to influence/control feelings and behavior, both in oneself and in others, in the face of serious adverse consequences. b) Assumption of responsibility for meeting other's needs, to the exclusion of acknowledging one's needs. c) Anxiety and boundary distortions around intimacy and separation. d) Enmeshment in relationships with personality-disordered, chemically dependent, and impulse-disordered individuals. e) Exhibits at least three of the following: 1. Excessive reliance on denial 2. Constriction of emotions (with or without dramatic outbursts) 3. Depression 4. Hypervigilance 5. Compulsions 6. Anxiety 7. Substance Abuse 8. Recurrent victim of physical or sexual abuse 9. Stress-related medical illness 10. Has remained in a primary relationship with an active abuser for at least two years without seeking outside support. Co-dependent personality Interpersonal: Unassertive, does not pursue own rights, adapts rather than changing a bad situation Submission to others for predictability/security, self- sacrificing Oversensitive to others' difficulties Puts up a front, hides "true self" Withdraws, isolates, loneliness Roles Adopted: Rescuer: protecting/covering for the addicted person by making excuses absences or social mistakes Care Taker: minimizes negative consequences in addicted person's chemical dependency Joiner: rationalizing or participating/assisting in addicted person's chemical dependency Hero: protecting the family's public image/draw attention away from the addiction with enormous/ "superhuman"/self-sacrificing efforts Adjuster: avoiding discussion of the addiction in hopes it will disappear, hiding concern and confusion with apathy Family: Extreme family loyalty Family rules: "Don't talk, don't trust, don't feel" Distorted family image: happy, no problems, see only the good Over-developed sense of responsibility and concern for others Control is valued, lack of control is terrifying, order, stability, routine, regularity, peace, not chaos Only superficial relationships, no intimate ones as equality/ equivalence is required for justice Caretaking: Excessive caretaking/dependency especially when stressed, undeserved loyalty Over-responsible/over-reliable (to compensate for the addict's irresponsibility), anticipate other's needs ("enabling"), need to control people and situations, rigidity Denial: ignore/rationalize/minimize problem, denies increased substance abuse Loss of daily structure: missing appointments, having meals at irregular times, not getting to bed or up on time Fails to complete tasks, follow through, make plans, easily overwhelmed with tasks, reactive not proactive Crisis orientation not long term, good in crisis situation/ beginnings and endings but not in middles Self-Image: Low self-esteem: self blame for any problem/other's substance use, guilt-prone, shame and guilt, "I'm bad/no good", extreme/unproductive self criticism/flagellation, assumption of blame due to inconsistency of parental behavior Insecurity, low self-esteem, fear/belief in one's unloveability/ insanity/badness/dirtiness, Powerlessness Shame at addiction, secretive, very reluctant to ask for help Acts in a way they believe normal, doesn't know what is normal behavior, emotional responses Anxious over not feeling/acting sufficiently "normal", feel different from anyone else you know Adopts extreme role models and standards which would be acceptable to a group with low self-esteem Affects: Depression, negativity, uncontrollable mood swings, no fun in life, dulled feeling, alexethymia, anhedonia, or enjoy only when at someone else's expense, seriousness life as series of problems and crises to be solved, tasks to be done, worry is normal, frequent resentments and anger, "Got a raw deal". Cognitions: Obsessive thinking, overreliance on analytical thinking, perfectionism Delusions/Irrational beliefs: Amor omnia vincit (or at least substance abuse) Dishonest, lies, denial, unaware of dishonesty (behavior) is not the "real person" Low memory of childhood Behavior: Physical, sexual, psychological abuse and neglect "addictive" behavior: eating disorders, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder Acting out for attention or approval Other: Health problems: stress related disorders, lack of personal care Became addicted to cope with frustration and pain Neglected attention in childhood, "stroke starved", leads to denial of own needs
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as of September 24, 2000