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Codependency as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5)

What is “dependency,” codependency, and what are the common traits?

How are you, me, and everyone we know codependent?


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What’s dependent personality disorder? “A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of.” Marissa talks about how pervasive codependency can be: parents, partner, peers, and pool hall staff. This leads to “submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation.”

Isn’t this everyone? You mean to tell me that this is a diagnosis? When I learned about this in graduate school, I thought “Ugh…this is me.” Are these symptoms also you:

  1. has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others;
  2. needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of your life
  3. has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval (isn’t that everyone???)
  4. has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on your own because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than lack of motivation or energy
  5. goes to excessive length to attain nurturance and support from others to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
  6. feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone due to exaggerated fears of being unable to care for yourself
  7. urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends (any type)
  8. unrealistically preoccupied with fears of having to take care of yourself

Marissa also gives real-life examples of when she let others make decisions for her, gave into pressure to please and impress others, and the consequences of allowing the needs of others to be more important than her own. You’ll hear about her difficulties staying in college, creating healthy boundaries–especially with men, and other codependent adventures! Hear how Marissa recognizes how she contributed to her excessive dependency on others and how that got her into codependent dilemmas since she ignored her intuition, kept silent, and put others’ comfort over her own. If you find yourself feeling codependent with others in multiple areas in your life–this episode is a must listen!

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Psychology Today – Dependent Personality Disorder

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