Decisions that must be made when facing an unplanned pregnancy are difficult enough. For someone who has struggled with codependency in a relationship, this process becomes more challenging. Perhaps you yourself have wrestled with codependency; perhaps you’re not absolutely certain what “codependency” is. In either case, we hope this article will shed some light for you, and be helpful to you in moving forward on the journey ahead of you.
Information and support for your pregnancy decision-making is Avenue Women’s Center’s special area of expertise. For over thirty-five years we have been the “first step” resource for women in the Chicagoland area who are facing unplanned pregnancy. Whatever your circumstance, please contact us to discuss how we may assist you in getting through this difficult time.
What is “codependency”?
Traditionally, codependency has been understood to be a condition or relationship in which a person who is engaged in some sort of substance abuse controls / manipulates another. The codependent person is the controlled one who takes on the responsibility of meeting the emotional or other needs of the addict. In recent years, codependency is not limited to relationships that include addiction; it may be used to describe any codependent person from a dysfunctional family. Merriam-Webster.com gives a broad definition of codependency as “dependence on the needs of or control by another.”
A codependent person places a high value on the relationship. He/she will often assume responsibility for the other person’s actions. To avoid feeling alone, he/she will do whatever it takes to maintain the relationship. An unhealthy dependence on the relationship is evident.
Signs or characteristics of codependency, according to a recent article in Everyday Health by Beth Gilbert, include:
- Having difficulty making decisions in a relationship
- Having difficulty identifying your feelings
- Having difficulty communicating in a relationship
- Valuing the approval of others more than valuing yourself
- Lacking trust in yourself and having poor self-esteem
- Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need for approval
- Having an unhealthy dependence on relationships, even at your own cost
- Having an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
Do you think codependency may be an issue in your relationship?
Here are some questions that may help you identify if you are susceptible to this. These questions are part of a broader list published by Mental Health America.
- Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
- Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
- Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
- Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
- Are the opinions of others more important than your own?
- Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?
- Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
- Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?
- Have you ever felt inadequate?
- Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
- Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
- Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?
- Do you have trouble asking for help?
What is the concern about codependency and pregnancy decision-making?
If your relationship has elements of codependency, any decision-making can be impacted. A person influenced by a codependent relationship has difficulty making decisions because of fear of disagreement or disapproval from their partner. In order to avoid argument or conflict, to get along without risking the relationship, the “caretaker” of the dependent person finds it hard to express their true feelings about a situation. The codependent may not have a clear vision of the life-path she truly desires for herself. She may lack trust in herself, doubting her adequacy or ability to make her own decisions.
In any pregnancy, there are others involved, of course. Still, it is absolutely critical to keep in mind that it’s the one who is pregnant whose life will be impacted by her decision, more than the others around her – her partner, parent, or others in her life whose approval she may seek. Despite her need for the approval of those others, this is a decision she must make for herself, keeping an eye to the future life she will be living.
Is there help for successfully navigating this pregnancy decision?
If you see yourself to any degree in this circumstance; if you feel you would be helped by meeting with a compassionate listener to assist you in clarifying your options and walking with you through this challenging time, we hope you will reach out to us. Private consultations with our experienced, caring pregnancy specialists are free and absolutely confidential. The decisions must be yours; it’s right that they be determined in light of your life and needs rather than those of another person.
Please contact us by call, text, email or chat to make an appointment at one of our five locations: Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois. We’ll be waiting to hear from you.
The diagnosis of codependency is not a service of Avenue Women’s Center. Signs listed in this article are not a replacement for consultation with a medical professional. Only a qualified professional can diagnose codependency.
- Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/codependency;
- Mental Health America. Co-dependency. Retrieved from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/co-dependency
- Everyday Health. (2016, January). Do You Have a Codependent Personality? By Beth Gilbert. Retrieved from: http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/do-you-have-a-codependent-personality.aspx:
- EmpowHER.com. Don’t Ignore These 12 Signs of Codependency In Your Relationship. By Melody Wilding. Retrieved from: http://www.empowher.com/sex-amp-relationships/content/don-t-ignore-these-12-signs-codependency-your-relationship
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.