For years victims of domestic violence have been labeled co-dependent. The following is a set of characteristics of a co-dependent as offered by Co-Dependents Anonymous, compared with the reality of a woman who is abused.
CO-DEPENDENT: I take responsibility for others' feelings and/or behaviors.
ABUSED: I am held responsible for my abuser's feelings and/or behaviors.
CO-DEPENDENT: I feel overly responsible for others' feelings and/or behaviors.
ABUSED: For my safety, I must be aware of my abuser's feelings and/or behaviors.
CO-DEPENDENT: I have difficulty expressing my feelings.
ABUSED: If I express my feelings, I jeopardize my safety.
CO-DEPENDENT: I have difficulty in forming and/or maintaining close relationships.
ABUSED: It is dangerous for me to form or maintain close relationships.
CO-DEPENDENT: I am afraid of being hurt or rejected.
ABUSED: Having been hurt and rejected, I am scared of re-victimization.
CO-DEPENDENT: I tend to harshly judge everything I do, think, or say, by someone else's standards. Nothing is done, said or thought "good enough."
ABUSED: My abuser harshly judges everything I do, think, or say. Nothing I do is "good enough."
CO-DEPENDENT: I question or ignore my own values to connect with significant others. I value others' opinions more than my own.
ABUSED: My values and opinions are questioned/ignored by my abuser. For my safety I do not express my own opinions.
CO-DEPENDENT: My self-esteem is bolstered by outer/other influences.
ABUSED: My self-esteem is systematically destroyed by my abuser's tactics