Recovery Patterns of Codependence

Denial Patterns

Codependents often...

  • Have difficulty identifying what they are feeling
  • Minimize, alter, or deny how they truly feel.
  • Perceive themselves as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well- being of others
  • Lack empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
  • Label others with their negative traits.
  • Think they can take care of themselves without any help from others.
  • Mask pain in various ways such as anger, humor, or isolation.
  • Express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
  • Do not recognize the unavailability of those people to whom they are attracted.

In Recovery...

  • I am aware of my feelings and identify them, often in the moment. I know the difference between my thoughts and feelings.
  • I embrace my feelings; they are valid and important.
  • I know the difference between caring and care taking. I recognize that care taking others is often motivated by a need to benefit myself.
  • I am able to feel compassion for another’s feelings and needs.
  • I acknowledge that I may own the negative traits I often perceive in others.
  • I acknowledge that I sometimes need the help of others.
  • I am aware of my painful feelings and express them appropriately.
  • I am able to express my feelings openly, directly, and calmly.
  • I pursue intimate relationships only with others who want, and are able to engage in, healthy and loving relationships.

Low Self-esteem Patterns

Codependents often...

  • Have difficulty making decisions.
  •  Judge what they think, say, or do harshly, as never good enough.
  • Are embarrassed to receive recognition, praise, or gifts.
  • Value others’ approval of their thinking, feelings, and behavior over their own.
  • Do not perceive themselves as lovable or worthwhile persons.
  • Seek recognition and praise to overcome feeling less than.
  • Have difficulty admitting a mistake.
  • Need to appear to be right in the eyes of others and may even lie to look good.
  • Are unable to identify or ask for what they need and want.
  • Perceive themselves as superior to others.
  • Look to others to provide their sense of safety.
  • Have difficulty getting started, meeting deadlines, and completing projects.
  • Have trouble setting healthy priorities and boundaries.

In Recovery...

  • I trust my ability to make effective decisions.
  • I accept myself as I am. I emphasize progress over perfection.
  • I feel appropriately worthy of the recognition, praise, or gifts I receive.
  • I value the opinions of those I trust, without needing to gain their approval. I have confidence in myself.
  • I recognize myself as being a lovable and valuable person.
  • I seek my own approval first, and examine my motivations carefully when I seek approval from others.
  • I continue to take my personal inventory, and when I am wrong, promptly admit it.
  • I am honest with myself about my behaviors and motivations. I feel secure enough to admit mistakes to myself and others, and to hear their opinions without feeling threatened.
  •  I meet my own needs and wants when possible. I reach out for help when it’s necessary and appropriate.
  • I perceive myself as equal to others.
  • With the help of my Higher Power, I create safety in my life.
  • I avoid procrastination by meeting my responsibilities in a timely manner.
  • I am able to establish and uphold healthy priorities and boundaries in my life.

Compliance Patterns

Codependents often...

  • Are extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • Compromise their own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
  • Put aside their own interests in order to do what others want.
  • Are hypervigilant regarding the feelings of others and take on those feelings.
  • Are afraid to express their beliefs, opinions, and feelings when they differ from those of others.
  • Accept sexual attention when they want love.
  • Make decisions without regard to the consequences.
  • Give up their truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.

In Recovery...

  • I am committed to my safety and leave situations that feel unsafe or are inconsistent with my goals.
  • I am rooted in my own values, even if others don’t agree or become angry.
  • I consider my interests and feelings when asked to participate in another’s plans.
  • I can separate my feelings from the feelings of others. I allow myself to experience my feelings and others to be responsible for their feelings.
  • I respect my own opinions and feelings and express them appropriately.
  • My sexuality is grounded in genuine intimacy and connection. When I need to feel loved, I express my heart’s desires. I do not settle for sex without love.
  • I ask my Higher Power for guidance, and consider possible consequences before I make decisions.
  • I stand in my truth and maintain my integrity, whether others approve or not, even if it means making difficult changes in my life.

Control Patterns

Codependents often...

  • Believe people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • Attempt to convince others what to think, do, or feel.
  • Freely offer advice and direction without being asked.
  • Become resentful when others decline their help or reject their advice.
  • Lavish gifts and favors on those they want to influence.
  • Use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
  • Have to feel needed in order to have a relationship with others.
  • Demand that their needs be met by others.
  • Use charm and charisma to convince others of their capacity to be caring and compassionate.
  • Use blame and shame to exploit others emotionally.
  • Refuse to cooperate, compromise, or negotiate.
  • Adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, authority, or rage to manipulate outcomes.
  • Use recovery jargon in an attempt to control the behavior of others.
  • Pretend to agree with others to get what they want.

In Recovery...

  • I realize that, with rare exceptions, other adults are capable of managing their own lives.
  • I accept the thoughts, choices, and feelings of others, even though I may not be comfortable with them.
  • I give advice only when asked.
  • I am content to see others take care of themselves.
  • I carefully and honestly contemplate my motivations when preparing to give a gift.
  • I embrace and celebrate my sexuality as evidence of my health and wholeness. I do not use it to gain the approval of others.
  • I develop relationships with others based on equality, intimacy, and balance.
  •  I find and use resources that meet my needs without making demands on others. I ask for help when I need it, without expectation.
  • I behave authentically with others, allowing my caring and compassionate qualities to emerge.
  • I ask directly for what I want and need and trust the outcome to my Higher Power. I do not try to manipulate outcomes with blame or shame.
  • I cooperate, compromise, and negotiate with others in a way that honors my integrity.
  • I treat others with respect and consideration, and trust my Higher Power to meet my needs and desires.
  • I use my recovery for my own growth and not to manipulate or control others.
  • My communication with others is authentic and truthful.

Avoidance Patterns

Codependents often...

  • Act in ways that invite others to reject, shame, or express anger toward them.
  • Judge harshly what others think, say, or do.
  • Avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a way to maintain distance.
  • Allow addictions to people, places, and things to distract them from achieving intimacy in relationships.
  • Use indirect or evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation.
  • Diminish their capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use the tools of recovery.
  • Suppress their feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable.
  • Pull people toward them, but when others get close, push them away.
  • Refuse to give up their self-will to avoid surrendering to a power greater than themselves.
  • Believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness.
  • Withhold expressions of appreciation.

In Recovery...

  • I act in ways that encourage loving and healthy responses from others.
  • I keep an open mind and accept others as they are.
  • I engage in emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy when it is healthy and appropriate for me.
  • I practice my recovery to develop healthy and fulfilling relationships.
  • I use direct and straightforward communication to resolve conflicts and deal appropriately with confrontations.
  • When I use the tools of recovery, I am able to develop and maintain healthy relationships of my choosing.
  • I embrace my own vulnerability by trusting and honoring my feelings and needs.
  • I welcome close relationships while maintaining healthy boundaries.
  • I believe in and trust a power greater than myself. I willingly surrender my self-will to my Higher Power.
  • I honor my authentic emotions and share them when appropriate.
  • I freely engage in expressions of appreciation toward others.

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