5 Codependent Personality Traits To Watch Out For

Are you needy and dependent on another person? It might be your codependent personality, here are the 5 traits that you need to watch out for.

By Janani
5 Codependent Personality Traits To Watch Out For

What is Codependent Personality?

Codependency is a state where one person abuses the other. It is similar to being in a controlling relationship where one partner gains complete control over the other. There are various definitions for codependency. The general definition would be when one partner or both the partners rely on each other and can never function as individuals. Many codependency definitions have been put forth by many relationship experts. The traditional definition would be for a partner to take control, nurture, and maintain the relationship with the docile partner and treat them with their negative side of their personality.

How Codependent Personality Develops?

Having a codependent personality trait might be a result of bad childhood. Researchers have found that children who were with abusive parents or with an unavailable parent tend to develop this personality trait. This disorder creeps into them right from their childhood where they suppress their emotions and play the role of their parents. Having things under control either in your marriage, friendship or at work will be a need to make them feel okay. Their personality disorder could worsen when the situation gets out of their control. When denied of being able to take control over the other, they move into the depressed state.

Can Happen In Any Relationship?

Relationships are all about giving and receiving but when in a codependent relationship one of the partners might keep giving while the other simply receives and never gives back. It is normal to be dependent on your partner to some extent, we all are, but it should have its own limits. When being over-dependent it creates a negative impact on both the partners and becomes a disorder. This kind of personality trait can be seen in many relationships like marriage, friendship and even at work. When codependent, either of the partners is more passive while the other takes complete control and dominates. The controlling partner takes great pride and joy in this and can only live knowing that the other is completely dependent on them. Here are 5 codependent personality traits that you need to watch out for.

1. Manipulation

When being codependent, to gain power and control over the other, there is a strong need to manipulate and influence them. The major red flag of a codependent personality trait is manipulation. They are great manipulators as they can influence others in any way to gain their authority. A codependent personality could use your guilt, weakness, ignorance, and innocence as their weapon against you. They might trick you into believing that whatever was said or done by them was truly under the name of love and care. They will make sure that you hear what you want to hear. They will get a strong hold on you, you will never know that you are under their hold.

These manipulators may offer you help, do favors, and give gifts and will always seem lovable on the outside which makes it harder for you to identify a codependent personality. It is a disorder that needs to be treated when spotted. But these traits usually go undiagnosed and sadly people learn to live with it. Experts have given many definitions for codependent manipulators but when dealing with one in real life it gets difficult to identify. This makes it hard for the victim to recognize whether they are under a bad influence or treated with good care. This codependent personality not only affects marriages but it is seen a lot in friendships as well.

A codependent will criticise and make self-pity to get what they want. There are a lot of ways they might try to get what they want. But you will never really know what is actually going on with them. They can even use their aggression as a way of manipulating you and getting things done. When you notice these personality traits or disorders then chances are you are with a codependent.

2. Insecurity is a Codependent Personality

If you are with a codependent then you might have been struggling to deal with your partner's insecurities as well. They never trust you and always wait for things to go wrong. When in a relationship with a codependent personality, you might experience their insecurities by lack of trust. They might get jealous and over-possessive. It is normal to feel jealous or possessive for the one you love or in your marriage or friendship but everything has a limit. We all get possessive and jealous of our loved ones but when they became your everyday chaos then you are in for trouble.

These codependent personalities will be highly threatened and triggered when they feel that their territory is exploited. They might isolate you hoping no one enters your territory. Mostly you will feel alone and separated from family and friends. They might be very insecure that the idea of you being friendly and bonding with others might be a threat to them. They will even see your family as a threat and try to isolate you from everyone that you consider a priority in your life.

This disorder or trait can be identified with a codependent personality. But when confronted they will make you feel guilty and make you regret asking them. They might trick you into believing that all their insecurities, possessiveness, and jealousy are due to the great love they have for you. So, if you notice this trait make sure you keep your eyes wide open.

3. Low Self-Esteem

One of the major personality traits of a codependent is low self-esteem. This is very tricky to spot as they seem to be highly confident and hold high regard for themselves on the outside. But this is just a disguise -- deep down they feel that they are not good enough or really hard to be loved. They tend to portray themselves as talented and know it all, but they have their own fear and lack confidence. These people need a partner who they can rely on and can never survive without the other.

Having low self-esteem can cause many problems in marriages, friendships, and relationships. It can cause the codependent partner to turn aggressive, to gain control over the passive partner. They might be great liars when they have low self-esteem in order to make justice for their disguise. They might not be in a good relationship with their own self so they will lie in order to trick others into liking them. You will also notice that they will blame others and never own up to their mistakes due to their low self-esteem.

They might show traits of oversensitivity as even small comments might be looked upon as negative feedback and they might break down. You will find yourself that there is a need for you to be extra cautious around them. You could easily make them feel insulted or embarrassed, as they tend to hold a high regard for themselves in front of others. They might be bad decision makers as they will have no hope and no confidence in their own decision-making skills. If these are the personality traits that you witness in your partner then it is high time that you understand that you are in a codependent relationship.

4. Weak Boundaries is a Codependent Personality

Codependents exhibit traits that are on both extremes -- either they get too closed into your boundaries or they get too rigid and block you off. Some codependents have weak boundaries where they step into every action and feelings of yours. They feel it is their right to know what is going on in your life. They make your life changing decisions for you. They live your life. They are present in your every move to guide you, to mold you, and shape you. Codependents think that it is their duty to bring you into shape and get too close to your personal space. They tend to suffocate you in the name of love.

On the contrary, some codependents are rigid. They set their boundary line like a wall so no one ever gets too close to them. They consider that they need to have their priorities and set their boundaries in a way that you can never get close to them. They tend to be a little secretive while they would pounce in on you for information about your life. They withdraw themselves from other people in order not to get heartbroken. This kind of codependents blames others for their behavior when confronted. They will never be able to fully appreciate what others have done for them.

These are the traits of a codependent, they might exhibit having boundary issues even in marriages, friendships, and at work. They might be at both their extremes and they will face serious boundary problems. This type of behavior is called as Boundary Personality disorder. Having boundary issues will either make your partner move away from you or it will never bring them closer to the way expect.

5. Over- Controlling

The most common and important trait of codependents is their controlling nature. They have the need to have control at all times. If they feel that their life is falling apart to feel safe and secure, they need to take control. For this, codependents can have addictions either alcoholism or workaholism or anything for that matter. In order to keep them more focused, they need to have complete dependability over something or someone. This personality trait is one kind of abuse which can be either mental, physical, or verbal.

Codependents in a relationship have the need to control their partner's life as well. They will never be able to survive on their own. Codependents will be bossy around friends or family and be in charge of situations. They might dominate the other partner and make them completely dependable on them. It is often assumed that a controlling partner will openly control or dominate the other but in most cases, the partner never realizes that they are being controlled. Experts have given many definitions and shared their knowledge about controlling personality but it is still a hard one to see when manipulated.

Codependents tend to be bossy around people and always tell others what to do. When they feel that they are not in control they tend to fall apart. They are generally aggressive in nature and they tend to gain control even through aggression. Codependents will never be able to accept the fact that they have lost control over their partner. So, they normally prefer to work with or be in a relationship with passive people. They tend to break the partner down by making them feel useless and miserable and take control and become their own boss. In most of the cases, the victim never realizes that and they remain telling themselves that they are directed and guided by a proper person and that they deserve to be treated this way.

Handling a Codependent Personality

Being a codependent is not a choice but a disorder that needs to be treated. If you have identified a codependent person it is good to know how to handle them, because you can never expect them to change overnight. It takes a lot more than that and the transformation is going to be pretty hard for them. So you need to understand that you require a lot of patience and your time. Here are a few ways you can handle a codependent.


Express yourself, let the codependent understand how you feel when being controlled or treated in a way that you don't deserve to be treated. Make yourself clear, they might not take it well as you expect but at least you tried. Make sure that you don't make them feel cornered or threatened, as they are not very good at handling these kinds of situations, they might end up making you feel miserable and guilty. Be very clear about what you are going to talk to them as they might try to redirect your blame on you. So, make sure that you take a standpoint and stick to it.

Seek Professional Help

Let them know it is totally normal to get help from a professional or seek a therapist. There are various hubs and organizations where they provide help for people who are codependent. Allowing the codependent to treat you in a way that you don't deserve will only make things worse for you and your codependent. So, the best advice would be to seek help when you have spotted a codependent. Make sure that they understand that it is totally normal to get help.

Let Go Of the Relationship

If you feel really unsuccessful after all the attempts it is better to leave the codependent and move on. It might be difficult at first but as time goes by you will realize that it is the best decision ever. There is no point in being in a relationship where you don't get to be treated the way you deserve. If you continue to be with a codependent person you will end up feeling low about yourself, guilty, low self-esteem, and unhappy. So, make sure that you run away from that one person and lead a happy life that you actually deserve.

Make a Change if You are a Codependent

If you find these personality traits as your personality make sure that you make a change. Understand that it is really hard to live with a codependent person and make sure that you make a difference. Being a codependent will only drive your partner away and never bring you closer to your partner. Initially, it is not going to be easy but that is what you need to do for a better living. Treat your friends and family as they are emotionally mature and stop being manipulative with your dear ones. You might be able to get the love of your life to love you. But, always remember no relationship will sustain when you keep manipulating, controlling and have a bad influence on your dear one.

Having a bad childhood doesn't mean that you have the right to be codependent even as an adult. Being a codependent can make you feel powerful but when it comes to being in love you have to be powerless. Understand that love is all about giving and receiving. So, make sure that you give in your relationship as well. Codependency is a disease and you just need a cure for that, so be patient and take your time to heal. Learn to appreciate others and stop complaining and criticising others. Assure yourself that you will change and keep yourself motivated and make sure you get over being codependent. Nothing is impossible, so accept change and remain focused on overcoming codependent personality it will do wonders for your life. All the Best!