7 Codependent Behaviors That Can Sabotage Your Career

Woman Crying

Almost 20 years ago, author Melody Beattie coined the term codependency to describe certain emotionally immature behaviors commonly found in people suffering from addiction. Since that time, her bestselling book Codependent No More has sold millions of copies and spawned a self-help revolution.

Codependent behaviors are typically learned behaviors that, in time, become habitual. These bad habits can rear their ugly heads in the workplace, preventing you from achieving your goals and making you and everyone around you miserable.  The following are 7 codependent behaviors to nip in the bud before they have a damaging effect on your career.

1. Being an Enabler

You know that coworker or supervisor who is chronically late, misses assignment deadlines, or is just generally a slacker? The one whose bad behavior ends up making your life more difficult? If you find yourself repeatedly covering for them and making excuses for their incompetence or poor work ethic, you’re probably an enabler. Enabling stems out of feeling overly responsible for other people and getting a sort of perverse enjoyment out of suffering. Quit it.

2. Avoiding Problems or Conflict

Are there ongoing problems at work you wish could just go away? Do you want a raise, or a better position, or more respect, but rather than asking for it, you just keep hoping it will happen? You can’t avoid problems or conflicts-and sometimes by trying to avoid them, they only get worse. Summon up your courage, have a little faith, and face the problem head on.

3. Overcommitting Yourself

Do you frequently find yourself swamped with work, yet you continue to take on new tasks? You may have a problem with overcommitting, which is often caused by the need for control and perfectionism. Learn to delegate. Keep an open mind and give others a chance to succeed.  

4. Using Manipulation to Get What You Want

Do you sigh a lot, look glum, and say things like, “I really wish I could leave early today, but I have so much work to do.” This indicates poor communication skills. Rather than simply asking for what you want, you try to manipulate people. Be direct and say what it is you think, want, or need.

5. Being Overly Sensitive

If your boss tells you he doesn’t like the work you’ve just done and requests a revision or do over, and your eyes fill with tears or your fists clench in rage -you’re probably being overly sensitive. Sometimes you nail it, and sometimes the work will fall short. Be mature and accept constructive criticism gracefully. Learn from it, and learn to appreciate it.

6. Lying or Avoiding Responsibility

Something went wrong -the printer broke, the boss didn’t get an important message, or something went bad in the breakroom fridge. Don’t lie about it. If it was your doing, fess up. Trying to evade responsibility for your actions makes you look shady and irresponsible. Admit your mistakes. People will respect you for it.

7. Lacking Confidence In Yourself

Low self-esteem is at the root of many codependent behaviors. The bottom line here is fear, that you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or don’t deserve what you’ve got. Don’t let fear hold you back. Take stock of your assets, count all of your good qualities and qualifications. Count every success you’ve had thus far, and forgive every failure.

By addressing codependent, self-sabotaging behaviors and replacing them with positive habits, you’ll have a better chance of reaching your career goals.