The lines between empathy and codependency are blurred for many of us. It’s easy to know that you are feeling a lot, but are you feeling more than you have to? Here’s a quick breakdown between the two:
With codependency, we are unsure of ourselves. We question our boundaries, our authentic selves and our individual needs. This is not the case with empaths who can clearly distinguish between their own and other people’s feelings.
‘At the core of codependency is the inability to regulate our own emotions.‘ – Nicole LePera
It is possible to be both. Due to my traumatic upbringing, I have learned with time that I was codependent as a coping mechanism. I sought out assertive partners and dominant friends, so I wouldn’t have to worry about putting myself first. However, I am also an empath who feels the tension in the room as soon as I walk in. One does not exclude the other.
Empathy is holding people accountable for their actions, must of all ourselves.
I wrote a whole blog post about the health risks associated with being an empath. It can be a curse to know other people’s feelings better than they do themselves, but we must always be vigilant. It is not our place to call them out on it and expect them to change unless asked, thereby we respect their boundaries. We may be wrong and cause serious harm for ourselves and others.
If you feel like you cannot live without your partner, you’re codependent.
We conflated love with movie stereotypes and unhealthy relationships. Nobody should be worth more than you than you are yourself. If you are scared of your partner’s reactions, their tendencies or addictions, you’re enabling them. When codependent, we’re in denial about the true nature of things, and will do anything to what we believe we need to be okay.
A saviour complex or worry is not love. Remember that you do not need other people’s permission to heal. If you feel that you might be codependent, self-growth is definitely possible for you. Explore your boundaries and start asserting yourself to find who your real friends are, and who you are in a trauma-bond with.