Signs of Your Codependence

Signs of Your Codependence in Marriage: Sad woman praying for help.

  • Do you have addictions that you blame on the bad behaviour of your husband, wife or children?
  • Do you find yourself expecting your husband or wife to be kind and play fair even after they have given you no reason to trust them?
  • Do you need your husband or wife’s approval to feel good about yourself and able to move on with your own goals and plans?
  • Are your happiness and goals closely tied to what your spouse thinks of you?
  • Do you feel responsible for your husband or wife’s negative feelings?
  • If someone in your family is upset with you (or in a bad mood) do you find it difficult to stay focused on your own life and goals?
  • Do you believe your partner guessing your needs is a sign of love?
  • Do you expect support from your partner without asking, and get upset if they don’t guess what you need?
  • Are you emotionally demanding – using moods to get your partner to give you love? i.e. “I am sad, so you should take care of me!”
  • Do you suffer from an illness that is perhaps psychosomatic; where you have become sick because you feel you are not getting the love and attention you need?
  • Do you feel that your marriage partner has stolen your happiness?
  • Do you long for a ‘hero’ to save you?
  • Do you spend your life waiting for your partner to call?
Kim Describes the signs of Codependency

Kim Cooper

If you would like to overcome signs of your codependence in marriage, please begin with our very short book titled “10 Steps to Overcome Codependence“. This is a good place to begin shifting your life away from this unhealthy way of looking at relationships.

Or join our email contact list and allow me to guide you through the steps in our program and become eligible for introductory specials on our books.

Either way working on overcoming these signs of codependence is the fastest way to improve your success in life and create healthier and longer lasting relationships.

Codependency in Yourself. . .

Codependence Self Help . . .

This Post Has 14 Comments
  1. I can sincerely say this to everyone . . . .

    The true success story behind our work is Kim’s ability to see her own codependence. Once Kim understood the unhealthy pattern we created together, she was able to make the courageous changes in her life and in her outlook that was able to begin the process that eventually brought peace to our home.

    Steve

    1. I recognise so many of my past relationship behaviours in this list; it is fascinating to look back on that part of my life from where I am now. You are absolutely right – the key to progress (and healing) is change. In my case, I took a long hard look at myself and decided that the pain of changing would cause less emotional turmoil than the pain of staying stuck in a co dependent relationship with a narcissist. You will understand that this was much harder than it sounds put down in that one sentence and happened over several tough years. I did a lot of research and using your website was part of that. Two years on and I have made many changes; I have dumped the narcissist (he was unwilling to accept that I had changed or the boundaries I put in place and stuck to). I am now engaged to a kind, loving man with whom I have an open and honest relationship built on love and trust. My happiness, peace and gratitude come from within and I have a renewed faith in God, myself and life. Thank you for your part in that journey

    2. HI, Yes…..It takes two to tangle. N and C are attracted and both need help, not just one person. It is hard when I hear people say they are the victim always and don’t realize their part in the match. The N maybe the predator when dating, but if the C was not so easy to con/charm and they if they knew the red flags and if they were a whole person they would move on and not marry the N. or learn better how to make it work perhaps. I feel sorry for both the N and C. Both want a good life and not know how to get it. N/C in marriage may both get hurt, not getting what they hoped for. To demonize the N and not think the C has anything to do with it is blind. Many on Youtube want to think only the N is the problem. They vent and if you point out they are part of the problem they think you are abusing the victim all over again. They want validation for the hell they went through and don’t want anyone saying they are part of the problem and need to also change. If the C doesn’t change they will attract another N and get more hell. Thanks for being the model couple to help others! I appreciate all your awesome help! Happiness….

  2. Psyschosomatic is usually a term doctors use when they don’t know how to help a person who is not feeling well. Narcisissist and codependents maybe undiagnosed Celiac which may cause many brain/body health issues. Most doctors are blind to Celiac and don’t even mention it and tests may not work to diagnose it. I need no gluten (wheat/barley/rye…oats may act like gluten with avenin)…vitamins/good oils/minerals…probiotic…LDN..detoxing to be ok. Stress may use up B vitamins and zinc. Gluten may hurt the intestines so less nutrients absorb..then cells are not made right to work right and health issues may kick in. Gluten may lower the immune system and thyroid/adrenals etc. All cells are affected in the brain/body by Celiac. Cyrex lab tests may work better than other tests for Celiac. Tests may say a person is not Celiac, when they are. Biospies may not help. Not eating gluten for a few weeks and then eating it again may help a person see if it is affecting them. Hidden gluten in nuts not sold in the shell/meat basting/some spices/food in a box/label…and certified gluten free may have 20ppm of gluten which may hurt. Microscopic gluten may hurt people. Celiac people may have addictions/abuse/have depression/be suicidal/have low energy/lose hair and get many health issues. Any person who goes to a counselor may be Celiac since it affects the brain.

    Yes…people may want a Hero and someone who makes them happy and meets their needs like the movies. Marriage with an equal partner is good. Wanting a Hero maybe like wanting the partner to parent them.

    I watch a N flirt with many women and all dress up for him. He may make them all think he is their soul mate as he mirrors them and compliments them. It is sad to see since all these women may end up being dumped by him eventually and the “high” will be eventually “low” for the rest of their life thinking he was the best guy ever in their life and they can’t date others due to their experience with him which was not “normal”, but was a act that he used to attract them and try to keep them in his life since he is lonely. He wants all women and back up, but all may get real sad eventually. He is like a predator that brings sunshine into their lives and then hell as he runs when they like him too much.

    My ex husband was mildly N and I paid all the bills/cleaned/helped the kids etc…easily ride for him and he left when I got sick…health collapsed due to undiagnosed Celiac and food/sex ran out and eventually I lost my job and insurance ran out. When all the supply ran out he wanted a divorce. I don’t want him back after figuring out my health, but yes a “sick” relationship can make a person sick, but usually they were already undiagnosed Celiac, but no one helped them with that. I have heavy metals build up/low thyroid/MS/Lyme/depression etc. due to being Celiac. I worked 90 hours a week/tried to be a “superwomen” and burned out and health gave out after having 2 babies in a row which drained vitamins/good oils out of me and I was already low in nutrients due to intestines not absorbing due to gluten hurting me due to Celiac. People may heal their Celiac and then find a healthy relationship next time if they can not be attracted still to the N.. due to unresolved issue with parents.

    Thanks for your awesome help. You were the first person to help me understand what I was dealing with and give it a name and get me starting in my healing. I appreciate your wisdom/information/insights. Happiness….

    1. Thanks Shasha, It is great that you have recovered and are strong again  Your messages made me smile – it is nice to hear from you and so good that you are sounding so strong and positive 

  3. Do you have addictions that you blame on the bad behaviour of husband, wife or children?
    NO
    Do you find yourself expecting your husband or wife to be kind and play fair even after they have given you no reason to trust them?
    HMMMMM. I WOULD NOT CALL IT ‘EXPECTING’ BUT I STILL DO PRAY! AND HOPE! 🙂 AND MY HOPE HAS BEEN RENEWED SINCE BEGINNING TO READ YOUR MATERIALS A FEW YEARS AGO AND APPLY THE PRINCIPLES! 🙂 THANKS!
    Do you need your husband or wife’s approval to feel good about yourself and able to move on with your own goals and plans?
    NO
    Are your happiness and goals closely tied to what your spouse thinks of you?
    NO NOT AT ALL.
    Do you feel responsible for your husband or wife’s negative feelings?
    NOPE! 🙂
    If someone in your family is upset with you (or in a bad mood) do you find it difficult to stay focused on your own life and goals?
    NOT NECESSARILY IF THEY ARE UPSET WITH ‘ME’ BUT IF THEY ARE UPSET OR HURT OR DOWN AT ALL.
    WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THAT? I FEEL ‘SELFISH’ TURNING A DEAF EAR/EYE TO THEIR NEEDS.
    I OFTEN DROP EVERYTHING I AM DOING AND ATTEND TO THEM EMOTIONALLY OR PHYSICALLY (TRUTHFULLY EXCEPT! FOR MY N HUSBAND. FOR HIM I DON’T DO IT! INTERESTING….. JUST REALIZING THAT. HUH.)
    Do you believe your partner guessing your needs is a sign of love?
    WELL, I DO BELIEVE THAT HEALTHY HUMANS HAVE EMPATHY, THE ABILITY TO CARE ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT WHAT OTHERS ARE FEELING. I REALIZE THAT ‘N’S CANNOT DO THAT. BUT I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THAT. STEVE, DO YOU DO THAT NOW? HAVE YOU DEVELOPED EMPATHY OF SOME SORT? IT SEEMS YOU HAVE……..BUT I COULD BE WRONG. I REFUSE TO ‘ACCEPT’ THAT MY ‘N’ CANNOT CHANGE ‘SOMEDAY’. FOR HIS SAKE! AS WELL AS ALL OF OURS! HE DOESN’T HAVE TO ‘GUESS’ MY NEEDS B/C I HAVE TOLD THEM TO HIM AND CONTINUE TO DO SO IN LOVE. HE OFTEN WILL DO WHAT I ASK HIM TO DO B/C HE CARES ABOUT ME (NOW) AS BEST HE CAN. I GIVE HIM ALOT OF SLACK BUT I DON’T WANT TO ‘LABEL’ HIM IN SUCH A WAY AS HE WILL ‘ALWAYS’ BE THIS WAY. I AM HOPEFUL HE WILL GROW AS STEVE HAS! 🙂 BUT YES, OVERALL, I DO BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE WHO ‘REALLY’ LOVES ME WILL ‘READ’ ME/STUDY ME AND BE ABLE TO KNOW HOW TO LOVE ME BETTER (IN WAYS THAT MEAN LOVE TO ME. 🙂 THAT IS ALSO HOW I LOVE OTHERS. TRYING TO STUDY THEM AND ANTICIPATE NEEDS. TRULY SELFLESSLY BLESS THEM……
    Do you expect support from your partner without asking, and get upset if they don’t guess what you need?
    I GET WHAT YOU ARE GETTING AT HERE AND I CERTAINLY AGREE THAT NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO PLAY A GUESSING GAME WITH US TO DETERMINE WHAT WE NEED/WANT. BUT, AS I SAID ABOVE, I THINK IN A HEALTHY MARRIAGE BOTH PARTNERS SEEK TO CARE FOR EACHOTHER. THAT IS THE GOAL. THOUGH N’S FAIL AT THIS (MORE THAN NON N’S) IT IS STILL ‘RIGHT’ AND ‘GOOD’ TO DO (SUPPORT EACHOTHER)
    I AM DEALING WITH SOME ISSUES NOW IN MY EXTENDED FAMILY AND I WANT TO SHARE WITH MY N HUSBAND BUT SADLY I KNOW HIS RESPONSE WILL BE ANGER. SO I DON’T SHARE WITH HIM (YET) BUT SOME DAY I DO HOPE TO BE ABLE TO SHARE WITH HIM AND HAVE HIM CARE AND MAYBE PRAY WITH ME OR AT LEAST CONNECT ABOUT IT/SEE HIM BEAR SOME OF THIS BURDEN WITH ME. (ESP ABOUT SOME OF OUR KIDS DOING WAYWARD THINGS) ANYWAY……..
    Are you emotionally demanding – using your moods to manipulate your partner into giving you love? i.e. “I am sad, so you should take care of me!”
    NOPE. NOT ANY MORE. 🙂
    Do you suffer from an illness that is perhaps psychosomatic, where you have become sick because you are not getting the love and attention you feel you need?
    HMMMMMM THIS IS AN INTERSTING ONE. I AM SUCH A MARTYR TYPE PERSONALITY TYPE BEFORE EVEN MEETING MY HUSBAND THAT IT IS HARD TO TELL IF SOME OF MY ISSUES TODAY ARE DUE TO LIVING WITH HIM? OR THINGS FROM BEFORE HIM? BUT I DO HAVE TMJ /CLENCHING ISSUES. 🙁 SO MAYBE????? BUT DOESNT PSYCHOSOMATIC MEAN THAT THEY ARE ALL IN MY HEAD? B/C THIS IS FOR SURE IN MY JAW ! ITS A MESS 🙁 I USUALLY HAVE HAD TO HAVE OTHER FRIENDS/FAMILY MEMBERS TELL ME THAT MY HUSBAND IS NOT TREATING ‘ME’ RIGHT. I TEND TO ONLY HAVE NOTICED OVER THE YEARS THAT HE ISN’T TREATING KIDS RIGHT. OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS. OR WORK ASSOCIATES OR OR OR. I DON’T TEND TO THINK ‘HE ISN’T TREATING ME RIGHT’ UNTIL RECENTLY. AND IN A GOOD WAY. IN A WAY THAT IS MAKING ME TAKE MORE PROACTIVE ‘ACTION’ AND NOT JUST ‘BE TREATED’ THAT WAY. IT’S WORKING! I LOOK FORWARD TO FINDING OUT WHAT IS CAUSING THE CLENCHING ‘SOME DAY’ OR HAVING IT MIRACULOUSLY HEAL ITSELF ALL TOGETHER! 🙂
    Do you feel that your marriage partner has stolen your happiness?
    NO
    Do you long for a ‘hero’ to save you?
    NO. ONLY JESUS HAS SAVED ME! YAY! 🙂
    Do you spend your life just waiting for your partner to call?
    HMMMM. THIS IS INTERSTING. WITH ALL I HAVE READ HERE I STILL DO WONDER ABOUT THIS ONE.
    ON THE ONE HAND I TEND TO INITIATE ANY KIND OF CLOSENESS. BUT THER ARE DAYS (LIKE LATELY) WHERE I DO WISH! HE WOULD INITIATE ‘SOMETHING’. A DATE OR TALK TIME OR SOMETHING.
    I HAVE NOTICED THAT I HAVE COME TO ENJOY MY ALONE TIME TOO MUCH (!) AND SO WHEN HE IS DISTANT/SELFISH I HAVE LEARNED TO DO ‘ME’ TIME. AND I ENJOY IT.
    BUT I KNOW OUR MARRIAGE NEEDS WORK/TALKING /SPENDING TIME TOGETHER.
    SO I KNOW I SHOULD BE INTIATING (AND WHEN I DO IT IS GOOD) BUT I FIND I OFTEN SELFISHLY DON’T WANT TO! ENJOYING MY ALONE ‘ME’ TIME A LITTLE TOO MUCH!
    I KNOW I SHOULD APPROACH HUBBY FOR SOME ‘US’ TIME BUT I DONT WANT TO.
    SO I GUESS IN A WAY I AM ‘WAITING’ FOR HIM TO INITIATE SOME TIME. I AM NOT PUNISHING HIM THOUGH (LIKE I HAVE DONE IN THE WAY PAST) INSTEAD IT IS JUST A COMFORTABLE SORT OF ARRANGEMENT THAT WE ARE VERY SEPARATE IN THE E VENINGS. BUT I DO HOPE THAT I WILL BE ABLE TO GET STRONG AND BEGIN TO INITIATE MORE. B/C IT REALLY DOES HELP ‘US’. I AM JUST BEING SELFISH ENJOYING MY ALONE TIME TO READ BLOGS LIKE THIS! HA HA

    THANKS FOR THIS SURVEY. SOME GOOD REMINDERS. 🙂 THANKS FOR YOUR WONDERFUL MINISTRY. IT HAS HELPED ME ALOT!

  4. Being married to a narcissist for 35 years & separating 4 years ago (almost) my husband still stays in contact with me. I am your typical co-dependant. Just when I think I am ready to move on he pleads with me to come home. It has been hard to leave behind my beautiful home in the country & live a frugal existence & I still feel so tempted to give it one last try. But when the time comes to give it a try I find an internal struggle that paralyses me. Perhaps I sound like a very needy person but I try to keep these struggles to myself. 35 years is a long time to be controlled by someone else in an adult/child relationship as although we have been separated he still managed to control in his own way & it’s not easy to break free. Feeling very worn out & tired. Feeling like I have lost my sparkle. I usually hide my true feelings & tomorrow I will probably feel guilty for being so honest.

    1. Hi Pam, There is no guilt in honesty! It takes patience and time to learn emotional regulation. This is when we learn to NOT to let our emotions dictate our actions in the moment – but we DO take time out later to consider what they are telling us and decide what course of action is necessary.

      I wonder what it would take for you to learn to interact with your husband without allowing him to control you?

  5. I am just looking at Julie C’s survey results and other than the prayer part, I do identify with her comments. Having made personal progress, I can say that I am much less co-dependent in my 40 year marriage. However, in taking care of myself, I find it does create a distance in our relationship – but that is part of my self survival & has helped me stay in the relationship. “It takes 2”. I do feel that my husband loves me and we have great kids and grandkids. If I could a would wish away the “distance” and also wish I could sleep better when a blowout does occur.

  6. My situation is unique and I am trying to figure out if there is truth to taming the “N”. We are not married. He was very special to me in childhood. My childhood love. He sought me out in our 20’s ( I was in a relationship) and then again now in my 40’s. It didn’t take me long to figure out he was a “N”. I understand his past and what got him to this point. I know I can’t fix him. Everything says to run as fast as you can. I truly love him for him, “N” and all. I honestly can say I can walk away. I know he wants a “normal” (lol) life. This is one question I have and maybe Steve can answer. He does treat me differently than others in the past. (kinds odd to say but not as abusive or manipulating) He will rage a bit, but that one has even been tamed some as it really doesn’t bother me, especially once I learned about his anger/control/”N”. He does the silence thing, but with me that has been it so far. I wonder if our connection from his childhood could allow him to “feel” something different. Like pre complete inhalation of his self. We had a really special young love. Its just odd, that he treats me differently. He said earlier on that I deserved better and he wasn’t good enough ( pre me knowing “N”) and he should walk away he did not want to hurt me. Not sure if that was just seeking ego stroke but…I remember feeling it odd the way he said it. (like hurt me how?)…now I get it! Lastly, when I called him out on all this, I have to admit I did it horribly. Handled was wrong. But he never left. He retreated a bit but he knows I know and he is still around. I am really wanting to “enjoy” life with this man am I just crazy? I am not someone who wants to be destroyed or hurt, yet I feel I am strong and willing to accept what he has become if he is willing to work on healing too. I know personally I have become a stronger better person with lots of self reflection and change. I don’t fully believe this notion that a “N” can’t change. I think anyone can if they really want to (that is the hard part!) Any feedback would be great.

    Do you have addictions that you blame on the bad behaviour of your husband, wife or children? No
    Do you find yourself expecting your husband or wife to be kind and play fair even after they have given you no reason to trust them?- No, but I wish I could. This is the first time I have been in a relationship where unkindness has come up. Typically, I would be out the door. But I understand that there is more to this man. For example, silent treatment-kinda not so bad I can live with it now that I understand it, but its hard when you miss the person during that time. But so far I feel he will always come back.
    Do you need your husband or wife’s approval to feel good about yourself and able to move on with your own goals and plans? No

    Are your happiness and goals closely tied to what your spouse thinks of you? In some ways, I don’t think its my happiness inside (self esteem) but who knows maybe a bit…of course I want him to think good things of me. But words don’t degrade me easily. And so far he doesn’t degrade me. (always waiting for that one) But I feel confident in myself independently.
    Do you feel responsible for your husband or wife’s negative feelings? No, not unless I cause them directly. (ex. me saying something that wasn’t kind or pushing an issue too much)
    If someone in your family is upset with you (or in a bad mood) do you find it difficult to stay focused on your own life and goals? No
    Do you believe your partner guessing your needs is a sign of love? No, but it is nice if they can read you to some level. With N I’m not thinking that will ever happen, but hopeful…lol
    Do you expect support from your partner without asking, and get upset if they don’t guess what you need? No, I am ok with asking for help, I do find it nice if he could just do something nice but…again…I keep expectations real.
    Are you emotionally demanding – using moods to get your partner to give you love? i.e. “I am sad, so you should take care of me!” Not usually.
    Do you suffer from an illness that is perhaps psychosomatic; where you have become sick because you feel you are not getting the love and attention you need? No
    Do you feel that your marriage partner has stolen your happiness? No, can’t see that he would but…
    Do you long for a ‘hero’ to save you? not really, never been into fairy tales.
    Do you spend your life waiting for your partner to call? No

    1. Hey Sara – First thing here is we don’t call people N’s 🙂 This is patterns of behaviour we are talking about not a different species of human!

      I don’t buy it that we cannot change people’s behaviour with our own actions. If that was the truth what would be the point of dressing up and preparing for a job interview?

      I would say your male friend is drawn to your strength because he knows he needs someone strong enough to set boundaries with him and help tame him. I know Steve choose me for my strength (there was 10 prettier girls chasing him when we met).

      If you accept this challenge it is going to probably be a lot harder than you think. It won’t be a nice time – instead it will be character building and push you out of your comfort zone plenty to learn just how strong you are.

  7. Thank you! I totally agree on the calling the “N” thing 🙂 I’m not comfortable with it either. I wish I came across your site earlier before I was bombarded with all the horrors. Honestly, what made me seek out the term “taming” in my web search was I realized I had hurt his ego by aggressively saying the truth. Trying to over power it (yep strong women syndrome came out 🙁 ) As it soaked in I realized that this is not the approach that would work. So I felt I needed to find another. He is an amazing man in so many ways. I think from the depth of what I have felt all my life for this person I can’t accept that he doesn’t deserve more and he has to live alone and empty forever. I’m not willing to accept he can’t reflectively become a better person when he is ready. Which I feel he is if I handle it right. I feel I have a lot of work to do. I know it will only benefit me in the long run as well, no matter what. So I have nothing to lose! I look forward to reading your materials.

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