While I am not a fan of the over-used term, co-dependency, there are many good things to learn from this concept.  The art of self-care can be tricky business, especially if you have been led to believe that taking care of yourself, first, is selfish.  Maybe the problem is that “selfish” has been given a bad name, and that in some cases, being selfish is the best path.  No one on this earth is better equipped to care for the whole of who you are, then you.  You are the single greatest resource available to you in this life, and if you take care of you, and I take care of me, and she takes care of herself, and he takes care of himself – to the best of our ability, working together, interdependently, we can all achieve much greater happiness.

Here are signs that you may not be taking good care of yourself:

1.  Feeling good about myself is dependent on how YOU feel about me.

2. My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.

3. Your struggle affects my serenity.  My mental attention focuses on solving your problems/relieving your pain.

4.  My mental attention is focused on you.

5.  My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to do it my way.

6.  My mental attention is focused on protecting you.

7. My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems.

8.  My self-esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain.

9. My own hobbies/interests are put to one side.  My time is spent sharing your hobbies/interests.

10. Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me.

11.  Your behavior is dictated by my desires and I feel you are a reflection of me.

12. I am not aware of how I feel.  I am aware of how you feel.

13. I am not aware of what I want- I ask what you want.  I am not aware- I assume

14. The dreams I have for my future are linked to you.

15. My fear of rejection determines what I say or do.

16. My fear of your anger determines what I say or do.

17. I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship.

18. My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you.

19. I put my values aside in order to connect with you.

20.  I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own.

21. The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours.

22. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. This in turn enabled us not to look too closely at our faults.

23. We “stuff” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts too much.

24. We are isolated from and afraid of people and authority figures.

25. We have become approval seekers and have lost our identity in the process.

26. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.

27. We live from the viewpoint of victims and are attacked by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

28. We judge ourselves harshly and have a low sense of self esteem.

29. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment. We will do anything to hold onto a relationship in order to not experience painful abandonment feelings which we received from living with people who were never there emotionally for us.

30. We experience guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

31. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can pity and rescue.

32. We have  become chemically dependent, and/or married a chemically dependent person.  (You can substitute any compulsive behavior, such as workaholism, compulsive overeating, gambling, etc.)

33. We have become addicted to excitement.

34. We are reactors in life rather than actors.

35. I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.

36. I minimize, alter, or deny how I truly feel.

37. I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.

38. I have difficulty making decisions.

39. I judge everything I think, say, or do harshly, as never “good enough.”

40. I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.

41. I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.

42. I value other’s approval of my thinking, feelings, and behaviors over my own.

43. I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.

44. I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others’ anger.

45. I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.

46. I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.

47. I value others’ opinions and feelings more than my own and am often afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.

48. I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.

49. I accept sex when I want love.

50. I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.

51. I attempt to convince others of what they “should” think and how they “truly” feel.

52. I become resentful when others will not let me help them.

53. I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.

54. I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.

55. I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.

56. I have to be “needed” in order to have a relationship with others.

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