Codependency Test and Definition

Help to become truly helpful to those in need by making sure it’s their need, not yours. Find out if you’re becoming addicted to being needed, and what to do about it.

Definition Of Codependency: Codependency is a condition that results in a dysfunctional relationship between the codependent and other people. A codependent is addicted to helping someone. They need to be needed. This addiction is sometimes so strong, the codependent will cause the other person to continue to be needy. This behavior is called enabling. The enabler will purposefully overlook someone abusing a child, will call in sick for someone suffering from addiction, will put roadblocks to prevent their child from becoming independent, or even keep a sick family member from getting the treatment that would make them well. These are behaviors common to codependents. A codependent often suffers from a ‘Messiah Complex’ where he sees problems with everyone and sees himself as the only person who can help. Here is where I need to work…trying to be ‘Mr. Fixit’ for everyone…even those who don’t feel they need anything fixed. A codependent counselor (common) will never think your sessions are done. In fact, they often create issues that weren’t there just so they can continue to feel they’re an important, no, essential part of your life. This is one of the reasons I always spend the first counseling session evaluating the problem and setting up a schedule of sessions to complete the work. If we’re not making progress, I don’t want to become the person you feel you have to take every problem to…it’s too addictive to me. That’s what codependence is…an addiction to being needed. To learn more, try one of these recent top-selling books on the definition and treatment of codependency.

Codependency Test: Take this test to find out if you’re helping people who need or needing people to help:

  1. Do you feel demeaned, hurt or offended when someone you love tells you they don’t need your help?
  2. In the last year, has anyone resorted to arguing, begging or raising their voice to get you to stop trying to help them?
  3. If you had plenty of money and your child, sibling or parent had an addiction to drinking, spending, gambling or drugs, and they asked you for money to help with their necessary expenses (food, rent, clothes, bills), would you give them the money?
  4. When someone shares a life or relationship problem with you, but doesn’t ask for help, do you offer help or advice, anyway?
  5. When you survey your relationships, do you find yourself surrounded by mostly people who need you?
  6. Do you ever find yourself making excuses for the needy people in your life?
  7. If someone you love has a substance abuse, emotional, spending or gambling problem, do you avoid confronting them?
  8. Do you measure your self-esteem by how much someone depends on you?
  9. Do you ever remind people where they would be without you?
  1. If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, read the rest of this article and monitor yourself for the next 3 months to verify your answers.
  2. If you answered ‘yes’ to 3 or more of the above, you may have a codependency problem. Read the rest of this article, get a trusted friend who is independent of you to keep you accountable, and read a couple books on the subject of codependence.
  3. If you answered ‘yes’ to 5 or more of the above, do ‘A’ & ‘B’ above and ask your friend to attend an alanon, narconon or codependents anonymous meeting with you.

Cure For Codependency: The only cures for codependency require finding the genuine, healthy sources for a positive self-esteem, to replace the negative ones. is a codependency recovery workbook that can be very helpful in the recovery process. You also have to learn how to ‘ween’ your needy people off of your help. This is a dysfunctional relationship, and often results in the ‘needy’ person abandoning the codependent. Although very painful, this is better for both people…forcing them to find better sources of fulfillment. It’s good for the codependent to find productive and fulfilling activities that don’t involve satisfying needy people. This can be done with sporting activities, art, school, etc. There are many ways to be productive without attachment to a chronically needy person.

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Randy Haveson

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Randy Haveson
Randy Haveson is the Founder & CEO of HERO House, a sober living, recovery residence program for college students in early sobriety from addictions. Learn More

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