By Darlene Lancer

Because there isn’t one definition of codependency, there isn’t one test you can take. The following are two assessments used to identify codependents. The questions require a “yes” or “no” answer.

This first was developed by Ron and Pat Potter‐Efron. They considered a codependent to be someone who has 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?

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.