Codependency For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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Because there isn’t one definition of codependency, there isn’t one test you can take. The following are two assessments used to identify people with codependency. The questions require a “yes” or “no” answer.

This first was developed by Ron and Pat Potter‐Efron. They consider a person to have codependency if they have or had an involvement with an alcoholic, chemically dependent, or other long‐term, highly stressful family environment, including long-term illness that can be physical or mental health‐related.

To meet their criteria, you must answer positive at least two of the questions in five of the eight categories in this table.

Codependency Assessment
1. Fear Yes No
a. Do you become preoccupied with the problems of others, especially those of the user?
b. Do you try to “keep things under control” or “keep a handle” on situations?
c. Do you take more than your fair share of responsibility for tasks that have to be done?
d. Are you afraid to approach others directly, in particularly the user?
e. Do you often have anxious feelings or worry about what will happen next?
f. Do you avoid taking risks with others because it is hard for you to trust?
2. Shame/Guilt
a. Do you often feel ashamed not only about your behavior, but also about the behavior of others, especially the user?
b. Do you feel guilty about the problems of others in your family?
c. Do you withdraw from social contact when you’re feeling upset?
d. Do you sometimes hate yourself?
e. Do you ever cover up bad feelings about yourself by acting too confidently?
3. Prolonged Despair
a. Do you often feel hopeless about changing the current situation?
b. Do you tend to be pessimistic about the world in general?
c. Do you have a sense of low self-worth or failure that does not reflect your skills and accomplishments?
4. Rage
a. Do you feel persistently angry with the user, other family members, or yourself?
b. Are you afraid of losing control if you let yourself get really mad?
c. Are you angry at God?
d. Do you ever get back at others in sneaky ways, perhaps without being fully aware of this behavior at the time?
5. Denial
a. Do you feel yourself denying the basic problems in your family?
b. Do you tell yourself that these problems are not that bad?
c. Do you find reasons to justify the irresponsible behavior of others in your family?
6. Rigidity
a. Do you tend to think in either/or terms when there are problems, instead of looking at many alternatives?
b. Do you feel troubled if anyone upsets your usual routines?
c. Do you tend to see moral issues in black-and-white terms?
d. Do you “get stuck” in certain feelings such as guilt, love, or anger?
7. Impaired Identity Development
a. Do you have trouble asking for what you want and need?
b. Do you feel pain right along with another person who is in pain?
c. Do you need to have another person around in order for you to feel worthwhile?
d. Do you worry a great amount about how others perceive you?
8. Confusion
a. Do you wonder what it means to be “normal”?
b. Do you sometimes think that you must be “crazy”?
c. Do you find it difficult at times to identify what you are feeling?
d. Do you have a tendency to be taken in by others — to be gullible?
e. Do you have a hard time making up your mind — are you indecisive?

Another assessment

This second assessment is drawn from the Composite Codependency Scale, as published in the article “Development and validation of a revised measure of codependency,” © 2011 Australian Journal of Psychology (Wiley). Research confirmed that it’s a valid measurement of core codependency symptoms of emotional suppression, interpersonal control, and self‐sacrifice. Respond “yes” or “no” to each of the following statements.
  1. I try to control events and people through helplessness, guilt, coercion, threats, advice‐giving, manipulation, or domination.

  2. I become afraid to let other people be who they are and allow events to happen naturally.

  3. I try to control events and how other people should behave.

  4. I feel compelled or forced to help people solve their problems (for ­example, offering advice).

  5. I feel that without my effort and attention, everything would fall apart.

  6. I live too much by other people’s standards.

  7. I put on a show to impress people; I am not the person I pretend to be.

  8. In order to get along and be liked, I need to be what people want me to be.

  9. I need to make excuses or apologize for myself most of the time.

  10. I always put the needs of my family before my own needs.

  11. It is my responsibility to devote my energies to helping loved ones solve their problems.

  12. No matter what happens the family always comes first.

  13. I often put the needs of others ahead of my own.

  14. What I feel isn’t important as long as those I love are okay.

  15. Because it is selfish, I cannot put my own needs before the needs of others.

  16. If I work hard enough, I should be able to solve almost any problem or make things better for people.

  17. Feelings often build up inside me that I do not express.

  18. I keep my emotions under tight control.

  19. I keep my feelings to myself and put up a good front.

  20. It makes me uncomfortable to share my feelings with others.

  21. I don’t usually let others see the “real me”.

  22. I hide myself so that no‐one really knows me.

  23. I push painful thoughts and feelings out of my awareness.

  24. Very often I don’t try to become friends with people because I think that they won’t like me.

  25. I put on a happy face when I am really sad or angry.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in relationships and codependency. Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 28 years and coaches internationally. She's a sought-after speaker to professionals at national conferences and in the media.

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