While it’s wonderful to be supportive of others, helpful, and giving, sometimes we might take it too far and our generous intentions lead to unintended results. But how do you know where to draw the line? Is your helping healthy, or are you, perhaps, codependent? The quiz below is an attempt to help you analyze your behavior.
NOTE: Codependency isn’t considered a mental health condition, and the test below is by no means a diagnostic tool. Check all that apply.
The other person uses your help to escape responsibility for their actions.
You consistently ignore your own needs while trying to please the other person.
You enable the other person’s bad behavior by bailing them out, repeatedly giving them another chance, making excuses for them, etc.
Your helping allows you to gain control of the other person, and you secretly enjoy that.
You are constantly making excuses for the other person.
You are preoccupied with the other person to the point that you don’t know where you end and they start.
You are not free in the sense that you feel the need to tend to the other person.
You define yourself by your ability to meet the other person’s needs.
You feel exhausted emotionally or financially, or both.
You feel forced into taking care of the other person because you believe that something terrible will happen otherwise.
You fix things for the other person while your own tasks are incomplete.
Thanks to all the comfort you provide, the other person cannot take care of themselves.
You repeatedly rescue the other person.
The other person doesn’t develop life skills, work, or study because everything is readily given to them (by you).
It feels like the other person is taking advantage of you.
When the other person tells you you don’t need to fix anything for them, you become annoyed and frustrated.
You resent the other person for manipulating you into doing everything for them.
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The other person can’t do their job well. Perhaps they start and quit jobs all the time because there is no consequences.
The more you help and give, the more the other person is dependent on you.
You promised to help under certain conditions, but the other person didn’t fulfill these conditions because they believe you will be there for them anyway.
You wanted to help just once but now find yourself stuck fixing things for the other person with no end in sight.
Because the other person relies on you saving them and handling their problems, they become more and more irresponsible.
The other person delays getting professional help, taking their medication, or dealing with their addictions because you do everything for them.
Your help prevents the other person’s development and growth.
If you agree with one or more statements, you may have some codependent personality traits or already be in a codependent relationship.
There is a big difference between health and unhealthy helping. Healthy helping promotes the other person’s growth, their independence and empowers them. Unhealthy helping, or codependence, prevents their growth and development and makes them dependent on you to care for them and handle their challenges.
In addition, if you have a codependent personality (or tend toward codependency), you may tend to pick abusive partners and friends who take advantage of you emotionally, physically, or financially. You may have difficulty recognizing when you need to attend to your own needs and protect yourself, which may cause you to stay in these abusive relationships.
Codependent relationships may cause a lot of resentment from both sides, may lead to severe burnout, the feeling of emptiness, anxiety, and depression.
Not all codependent people intentionally manipulate or control each other, and there is a healthy degree of dependency in any personal relationship, such as between two spouses or parents and children. A trained professional can offer you an outside perspective and help you figure out where to draw the line.
A therapist or mental health professional can help you recognize the key signs of codependency and address your past experiences that may have led toward this tendency. They can also help deal with anxiety, depression, and other negative feelings that stem from your unbalanced relationships.
Self-help steps to become less codependent:
1. Try to take more time to yourself
2. Attend to your own needs
3. Pursue your own interests
4. Build or rebuild your other relationships
5. Consider therapy