Co-Dependent Relationship: Top 5 Must-Know Signs

Friends are supposed to be there for you when times get tough and for when times are fantastic. Having great friends is something that hard to come by and when you find the right ones life seems to be filled with fun memories and moments that will last a lifetime.

However, sometimes you might not even realize, but you may be dealing with codependent friendships. Codependency is defined in The Journal of Mental Health Counseling as “an unhealthy devotion to a relationship at the cost of one’s personal and psychological needs.” Check out these 5 ways to tell if you’re in a co-dependent friendship and how to get out of it.

You’re Their Go-To Source Of Emotional Support

Having your friends to be someone you go to and confide in is something that everyone needs, but when you become their primary source of emotional support things tend to get sticky. New York psychologist, Dr. Lauren Appio specializes in counseling for people pleasers and co-dependencies to help those struggling find their way out.

Appio wants to help people to “understand your self-worth does not depend on your ability to be useful to others.” In her counseling, she tries to break down the factors and causes of how you fell into this co-dependent relationship. Keeping in mind that being there for your friends is one thing, but sacrificing your happiness for theirs takes it one step too far.

You Have A Hard Time Saying No, Ever

You always want to be there for your loved one, but sometimes saying no is actually the right thing. We all have that internal dialogue that tells us what we think is a yes, no or a maybe, but when you’re in a codependent friendship that dialogue sorta gets shut out.

Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor and writer for The Huffington Post, Andrea Wachter believes that while what you’re doing might make the other person feel good about themselves, and in turn do the opposite to yourself. Once you start to build the other person up you will forget about yourself and suddenly see them doing better and you’re still coasting along.

You’re Always There To Bail Them Out

Anyone who is a good friend will always be there to help the other one out in a time of need, but when you become the only one they ask, and it’s a lot, they begin to use you instead of really need you. There then becomes this vicious cycle of you bailing them out of every possible situation without any thanks coming from them.

Dr. Appio believes that “When you’re around a person who needs additional support, you adapt by learning how to provide that care,” she states on her website. “Being caring, dependable, and reliable probably makes you a great person to be around, but being so focused on caring for others can also deplete your energy.”

You Always Put Their Needs First & Your Needs Last

Being a good friend means putting your friends first when they are in need, but when you are always putting them first and struggle to even remember how to cater to your own needs, you need to take a step back. Author of Unhealthy Helping: A Psychological Guide to Overcoming Codependence, Enabling and Other Dysfunctional GivingShawn Burn, discusses what it takes to overcome this issue.

Burn describes “the difference between healthy and unhealthy helping and why some people are prone to unhealthy helping and giving.” He also discusses what codependence actually is and where it stems from. His book not only finds the root of the problem but give solutions on how to fix it.

You Simply Ignore This Being A Problem

Sometimes you see all the red flags waving right in your face, but you still continue your same patterns. There might be fear of losing them as a friend, upsetting them or feeling like you’re a lousy friend, but more times than not usually your gut feeling is the right one to follow.

According to, when you’re so wrapped up in codependency every little thing your friend does affect you. If their mood is off, your mood is off. If they messed up and are angry, you seem to get just as worked up and angry.

If this is the case, you need to find a way to take time away from this person to give yourself some piece of mind and them to find a better source of help.

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