Long-term effects of co-dependency during or after college

Co-dependency Relationships


Family co-dependent relationship often provokes a series of health issues. Unresolved co-dependency can lead to serious problems such as drug addiction, alcoholism and eating disorder. Co-dependency often causes to remain in stressful situations while avoiding the medical care. It also leads social insecurity, which often leads to social anxiety and depression.

Co-dependency is especially dangerous if a person experiences it as a child or young adult, particularly, college students. During such age, the development of personality is more likely to be drastically affected by co-dependent relationship, which might result in social anxiety in school and have lasting negative effects long after the graduation.

What is Co-dependency?

The term “codependency” is traditionally used to describe a family member or other loved ones of a dependent person.

A psychologist Robert Subby defines codependency defines co-dependency as “…an emotional, psychological and behavioral condition that develops as a result of an individual’s prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules—rules which prevent the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems.”

In other words, codependency (also known as “relationship addiction”) is an unhealthy dependence on the relationship, usually in an attempt to avoid the feeling of loneliness and abandonment. People with co-dependency form and maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.

Family Intervention for Co-Dependency

The first thing that comes to mind when we hear term “codependent relationship” is usually an abusive boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. However, most of the co-dependent relationship are between parent and a child, no romantic partners.

Thin line between carrying and co-dependence

According to the Family First Intervention, a nationwide company that specializes in repairing family systems broken by addiction posted on their website a co-dependency checklist that summarizes the characteristics of codependent parent and how they might enable and control codependency. Pease, view these behaviors in regards to specific situations.

 Enabling Co-Dependency

  1. Making excuses for the son or daughter’s behavior and actions
  2. Feeling guilty when saying no to a child
  3. Spending too much time pretending things are fine
  4. Doing things for the child even when you don’t want to or know it isn’t right
  5. Your fear determines what you say or do
  6. Worrying more about the child’s happiness than of your own
  7. Rarely setting boundaries that benefit the you as a parent while also holding the child accountable in the situation

Controlling Co-Dependency

  1. Judging people and things as right or wrong, good or bad
  2. Feeling better when solving problems for the son or daughter
  3. Having difficulty expressing certain feelings like grief, love, anger, and fear
  4. Having difficulty asking others for help on how to handle the situation
  5. Occasionally using rage in anger to get your point across
  6. Distracting yourself (TV, work, etc.) often to your own disadvantage
  7. Thinking you know what is best of other people

Avoiding Co-Dependency

  1. Criticism and disapproval easily hurt your feelings
  2. Trying to avoid conflict with your child
  3. Not talking about the problem with others
  4. Frequently taking the blame
  5. Feeling uncomfortable and lonely when with others (your mind is on your child)
  6. Frequently feeling less than others and at the times feeling better when others have it worse than you do
  7. Tending to withdraw when here is a conflict with your son or daughter.

For more information, visit the Family First Intervention website.

Danger of family co-dependence

Guy crying and needs help.

The co-dependent relationship in the family between the child and parent can be very serious because what children experiences in the family usually sets the tone for the rest of their lives.

When the child manages to enter college, he or she will still carry various issues into adulthood as a result of growing up in a dysfunctional family. For instance, most adult children who grew up to codependent parent always question their judgment and frequently check their decision with others. This lack of confidence will deter the student from taking any leadership position while in college and even lead to an unsuccessful career.

Also, it is common for children of co-dependent parents to have unstable relationships. The co-dependency that they often adapt from their parents makes them feel responsible for everyone who needs help. They are mostly focused on everyone’s else need but their own, which deters them from figuring out what their want and their goals in life.

Are you a Co-Dependent? Check out this extensive checklist from Family First Intervention.


cal posted on June 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm

This is a great article about codependency and what to do if you experience signs of codependency in your family or in your loved ones. If you experience these signs, don’t enable them! Read this article and learn from it!

Farris Gosea posted on June 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Love this post, many people in these relationships cannot tell they are involved in one. Its hard to take a step back and see what is happening. This gives clear and to the point information for people who feel this is something they need help with. Thank you!

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