This is the twelfth of a 14-part series that talks about the negative effects of low self-esteem.

In this section, we will try to discuss the aspects that surround one of the unhealthiest emotional states that can result from a relationship.

Co Dependency

Codependency or codependence is an emotional condition that makes people behave in excessively caretaking ways to the extent that they put on a role of a martyr. Co dependent people usually put the need of others above their own.  They have a tendency to neglect their own needs because they can't stand the thought being alone.

Co dependent people are in constant search for acceptance. It is the reason why it also called a relationship addiction.  Their mental or emotional state usually springs from an abusive, one-sided relationship.  This is one of the major causes of loss of self-esteem.

These are some of the indications of co dependency:

1. A strong urge to help and please other people

Co dependent people are afraid of rejection, abandonment, or losing the people that are important to them.  Their sense of being needed is so strong that they tend to focus on pleasing or helping others before themselves.

They often become upset when their help is not appreciated or when nobody recognizes their efforts.  They have a strong desire to be recognized by others in order to feel good about themselves. 

2. Feeling guilty when assertive

Co dependent people often feel guilty when they assert themselves to others or when they express their real thoughts. They are afraid that people will reject or abandon them for their thoughts and actions.  They believe that pleasing others and being nice, submissive and passive are the only ways to avoid rejection or abandonment. 

3. A strong feeling that nobody can like them or love them for who they are 

This poor sense of self worth makes them develop a never ending desire to prove that they are worthy enough for other people.

4. Feeling loss of control in a relationship

The fear of abandonment or loss of control in a relationship can compel a co dependent person to be controlling in nature.    Their strong feeling of responsibility for others can create a tendency for them to manipulate a relationship. 

Co dependency springs from low self-esteem which is most often the result of a bad relationship in a person's early childhood.  You don't have to let it steal the life you deserve to live. 

Here are some of the ways to overcome co dependency:

1. Work on your self-esteem.  Love yourself and put your own needs above everyone else's.  Learn to count your blessings and appreciate the good things in your life.  Show other people that you care and respect yourself and they will respect you for it.  Remember, people-pleasing is not the way to prove your importance.

2. Learn to say "No" when you mean "No." Don't be afraid to be firm.  Sometimes, we force ourselves to say "yes" because we are too concerned of what other people think.  This is an unhealthy outlook that you need to change.

3. Engage in a variety of interests and activities.  This can help you to meet people with a genuine interest in friendship.