Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Codependency & The Empath (Quizzes)

Perhaps when you think of Empaths, who by their very nature are people who share other people's emotions and emotional states as though they were their own, and codependency, you don't see an obvious connection. Or perhaps you do. So, in this discussion we are going to take a look at Empaths and Codependency.

First, we are going to look at the different types of Codependents, some of the symptoms of codependency, and some important key terms which will be used in this discussion. Then we will delve further into this topic.

The Lists
Three Types Of Codependents
1. Caretakers
--relate to others primarily through roles that put them in a position of the giver, helper, supporter, nurturer, etc. “Everyone’s needs are more important than my own.”
2. Romance~relationship addiction
--must be in a “relationship” and be “special” to someone in order to be OK with oneself; may use caretaking and sexuality to gain approval/acceptance; goes from relationship to relationship.
“You’re no one unless someone loves you.”
3. Messiah complex
--savior of the family, church, world; over-responsible, doesn’t ask for help, tries to make self indispensable.
“If I don’t do it. it won’t get done.”

Symptoms Of Codependency
1. External-referenced on other person or people.
2. Tries to control behavior of others through approval-seeking and people-pleasing behavior.
3. Experiences intimacy by discounting own feelings, and empathizing with feelings of others.
4. Loss of healthy boundaries, generally resulting from doing things for others that violate one’s values, and from accepting unacceptable behavior from others.
5. Frozen feelings, numbness with regard to one’s own feelings. Depression may also result from repressed anger.
6. Low self-esteem. Self is valued according to others’ opinions. Uses martyr, victim, and messiah role to bolster self-esteem.
7. Generalized anxiety, related to lack of control of one’s life.
8. Mental preoccupation. Racing thoughts. Inability to enjoy mental silence and serenity.
9. Lack of assertiveness.: inability to ask directly for one’s true needs. Inability to confront unhealthy behavior in others.
10. Narcissism. In the absence of healthy, legitimate boundaries, others are seen as for or against self.
The Definitions

Codependency or Codependence : a pattern of detrimental behavioral interactions within a dysfunctional relationship, most commonly a relationship with an alcohol or drug abuser. In general, the codependent is understood to be a person who perpetuates the addiction or pathological condition of someone close to them in a way that hampers recovery. This can be done through direct control over the dependent, by making excuses for their dysfunctional behavior, or by blunting negative consequences. These actions are described as enabling.

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.

Caretaker: 1. Someone who takes care of a place or thing; someone looking after somewhere, or with responsibility for keeping a place in good repair. 2. Someone who takes care of a person; a parent, carer or other guardian.

Love Addiction is defined when love addicts go through life with desperate hopes and constant fears. Fearing rejection, pain, unfamiliar experiences, and having little faith in their ability or right to inspire love, they wait and wish for love, perhaps their least familiar real experience.

Messiah: One who is anticipated as, regarded as, or professes to be a savior or liberator.

Messiah Complex: A state of mind in which the individual believes he/she is, or is destined to become, a savior.

Self Esteem: It refers to an individual's sense of his or her value or worth, or the extent to which a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself.

Codependent Types

1. The Caretaker
This type of person tends to sacrifice their own personal wants and needs in order to take care of the wants and needs of other people, even when they are capable of doing it themselves. And this is often done out of fear, rather than love and compassion. They are giving with an agenda by taking responsibility for another person's actions.

The reason this is done out of fear, instead of love, is because there is an ulterior motive in the offering of support. The Caretaker needs the validation of their worth that comes with the thanks and praise for all they do, in order to sustain their fragile ego. And because of this need, a Caretaker will sometimes take on more responsibility than they can handle or take responsiblity for someone who is completely capable of standing on their own, thus enabling negative and/or bad behaviors.

And because their worth is derived from the praise and adulation of others, beneath this mask is a person with low self esteem who is driven to such lengths in order to find value in themselves in an unhealthy and codependent way.

2. The Love Addict
This type of person needs to be loved in order to feel they have any value and/or worth. At the same time, they also tend to hold the beliefs that they are incapable of inspiring real love in others and are truly not worthy of such ardent emotions directed at them.

Because of this, one who is a Love Addict will go from relationship to relationship, with unrealistic expectations and come away disappointed. Or, they will find themselves in relationships that are unhealthy and/or abusive in some way.

Abusive relationships will often reinforce a Love Addicts beliefs that they are worthless and not worthy of love. And this can make them cling to their partner, as though they were their savior for having loved them at all, even in an abusive way.

For Information On Love Addiction & Codependency go here: Love & Codependency: Through The Eyes Of An Empath

3. The Messiah

This type of person attempts to make themselves indispensable to others, even to their own detriment. They are even willing to go so far as to martyr themselves for others. This type of person sees problems with everyone and believes he/she is the only person who can help them and/or heal them. But again, like the other two above, The Messiah, is extremely reliant on other people's praise and adulation for their validation, worth, and value.

Sometimes this can be very mild, where in the person becomes a people pleaser or a makeshift counselor for those around them. Other times, it can be more severe, particularly when it is coupled with any kind of religious zealotry.

When the latter occurs, the would be Messiah, believes he/she is not only the only one who can help/heal others, but that they have a divine right to do so. So it becomes a purpose and a mission for them, to shape the world in the way they believe it should be. Examples of these extreme cases can be found in many cult leaders: David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, Jim Jones of People's Temple and Jonestown, and Marshall Applewhite of Heaven's Gate.

Self Esteem & Codependence

Codependence is often based on low self esteem and low self worth. It tends to be the underlying cause which drives people to these types of behaviors. So even while someone who is codependent appears strong on the surface, as a Caretaker or a Messiah, the driving need for validation hides just beneath the surface. These masks and behaviors are an act of compensation for what is missing within the person.

Let's look at some symptoms of low self esteem. And I will offer you two quizzes to help you figure out if you might suffer from low self esteem and/or codependence.
Characteristics of Genuinely Low Self Esteem

1. Social withdrawal
2. Anxiety and emotional turmoil
3. Lack of social skills and self confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
4. Less social conformity
5. Eating disorders
6. Inability to accept compliments
7. An Inability to see yourself 'squarely' - to be fair to yourself
8. Accentuating the negative
9. Exaggerated concern over what they imagine other people think
10. Self neglect
11. Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
12. Worrying whether you have treated others badly
13. Reluctance to take on challenges
14. Reluctance to trust your own opinion
15. Expect little out of life for yourself
Try these Quizzes to help you ascertain where you stand:
Self Esteem Test
The Codependency Self Test

How To Promote And Develop Self Esteem

Codependency & The Empath

Empaths, like everyone else in the world, are prone to these issues. In fact, it could be said that they are more prone to these issues than others due to their generally hypersensitive nature and the weight of emotions they carry around with them all the time. So it is extremely important to understand what codependency is and how it can affect you, your relationships, and your life. So think about it.

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