The Two Types Of Codependents And The Five Traits Of Codependency

Subscribe to the

Best Day Blog:

The Two Types Of Codependents And The Five Traits Of Codependency

Feb 1, 2023

In todays Best Day Blog article I am going to talk about the two types of codependents and the five traits of codependency.

Codependency is a term that is used to describe a psychological disorder that revolves around a need for dependence on others. There are two types of codependents: the typical disempowered and the less known falsely empowered codependent.

By understanding the two types of codependents and the five traits of codependence, you can start to understand your own codependent tendencies and improve your relationship with yourself.

Each codependent type experiences the five core characteristics but they express the traits in polar opposite ways


The 5 Core Characteristics of Codependency are:


1. Lack of Self-love 

2. Lack of Boundaries 

3. Out of Reality 

4. Lack of Self Care 

5. Lack of Maturity & moderation


Codependency and the worst day cycle


Codependency and the worst day cycle are intricately linked. If you want to find out more about the worst day cycle, then I really recommend picking up my book ‘Your Journey To Success’ so that you can get into reality that all of us experience childhood trauma which then creates a codependent addiction to repeat that trauma as adults. 

If you prefer, I also have codependency and worst day cycle playlists on my Youtube channel so you can deepening your understanding. 


The Wounded Inner Child and Codependency


One of my past videos ‘The Wounded Inner Child’ I show how the wounded child and the adapted wounded child are created as a result of the worst day cycle. To give a quick summary, the wounded child is formed in the first 5 years of life and that creates the disempowered codependent. The falsely empowered codependent is generally formed at a later stage, anywhere from 6-17 years old. Oftentimes, the wounded child will morph into the adapted wounded child. 

As mentioned, visit my YouTube channel to dive in more to this topic and carry on reading to find out more about the 5 characteristics of codependency and how they get expressed differently as a disempowered or falsely empowered codependent. 


The 5 Core Codependency Characteristics of The Disempowered


1. Lack of Self-love 


The disempowered’s self-worth is determined by other people’s thoughts, feelings or actions. They are unable to feel self-love by themselves and will often feel a sense of self-detest and inadequacy. They tend feel as though they are lower than other people in relationships, often belittling themselves, feeling worthless and empty. They will give themselves away and be ‘people-pleasers’. Interestingly, they will often develop other esteem, for example believing that their value comes from helping others. However, they will do this in order to hide a deep sense of shame which comes from an inner wound from childhood that says to them that they have no worth or value. 

A term that John Bradshaw, one of the world’s leading figures in the field of codependency and recovery, uses the term ‘thinly sadistic’ to describe there niceness. He explains that the disempowered codependent can sometimes (often without realizing) use their ‘niceness’ as a way to get people to then play the victim for not being recognized, appreciated or validated for their niceness. In other words, they are not aware that instead of being truly nice, they do things for others so they can then resent them for not being noticed.  


2. Lack of Boundaries 


The disempowered codependents are too dependent and unrealistically expect care at all times. They will say ‘you owe me!’ often and will have very few boundaries for themselves or others. They can’t say no and they give themselves and their power away to others in the hope that someone will notice them. They make other people responsible for their wellbeing, or they will take responsibility for everyone else’s wellbeing. This is another aspect of the “thinly sadistic” niceness.

They see boundaries as mean, selfish and unkind. 


3. Out of Reality 


Both the disempowered and the falsely empowered are out of reality when experiencing codependence – they won’t recognize that they are dysfunctional. 

The disempowered are unconscious to the truth that they are deceiving themselves about who they are, they cannot contain their truths and they overshare (they do not have boundaries). They aren’t able to make direct requests and will expect others to read their mind – this is out of touch with reality because this isn’t realistic and is also a manipulative behavior. However, they will rarely be able to see their behavior as manipulative because they are so out of reality. 

They will allow others to dictate how they should think, act or believe, but when it comes to a situation ending badly they will not be able to take ownership of the part they played (in giving their power away). 

On the positive side, due to their authentic need for connection, the disempowered are usually more willing to get help, even though they are out of reality. 


4. Lack of Self Care 


The disempowered are very ineffective at meeting their own needs and wants. They will tend to be too needy and will require constant attention (although they won’t see that this is their responsibility) and they will feel guilt or shame if they spend too much time working on themselves. They will avoid self-care by taking care of others first and this is where the covert, manipulative dynamic comes in because they are, actually, manipulating from this place to get recognition and attention.

They will likely be sick a lot because this is the only way they know that they can get the love and attention they crave – they have only learned how to get this attention through a disempowered manipulation. Again, they are out of touch with reality because they are unaware that is what they are doing. 


5. Lack of maturity & moderation


The disempowered are chaotic, immature, out of control, they procrastinate and they delay gratification. They can, at times, be obstinate and stubborn, acting impulsively, without thinking, and often struggle with addiction. 


The 5 Core Codependency Characteristics of The Falsely Empowered


1. Lack of Self-love 


The falsely empowered codependent sees themselves as better than others. They can be arrogant, grandiose, or caught in the delusion of perfectionism and the delusion that they are flawlessly good. They develop “other esteem”, believing their value comes from admiration from others and adulation derived from achievement. Achievement and the presentation of being confident is a smokescreen to hide their deep shame and lack of inherent worth. 

Because so few people teach about the falsely empowered codependent, many people incorrectly label a person as a narcissist when in fact they are a falsely empowered codependent. To learn how not to confuse the two, check out my video titled, “Are They a Codependent or a Narcissist.” 


2. Lack of Boundaries


The falsely empowered are anti-dependent and invulnerable. They never ask for help or admit 

to needing help. The falsely empowered say ‘no’ as a power-play or to seek retribution. Their conscious and unconscious goal is to gain power and control in order to keep themselves safe. 

They can be judgmental, critical, defensive, dismissive, and they will often withhold information. The falsely empowered are walled-in and walled off – they avoid intimacy by not letting themselves be known.


3. Out of reality


The falsely empowered are out of reality about their dysfunction. They are unconscious and deceiving themselves about the truth of who they are. The falsely empowered don’t know, or don’t share, their truth but believe they do – they will say that they are very honest, open people. They use their success to deceive themselves that they are doing well in life. They guard against letting others know them but, even worse, defend against knowing themselves. 

Their deep shame core gets covered over with false arrogance and a false belief in their competency, as well as the pursuit of achievement. They leave out details, avoid discussion or argument and they stay busy to avoid reality and connection. They believe they are ‘better than’ and they will resist recovery, rarely getting professional help because they don’t think they need it. 

They are, unfortunately, the toughest to treat because they are so out of touch with reality – this ‘pig-headedness’ will often see them mislabeled as narcissists. 


4. Lack of Self-Care


The falsely empowered are needless and wantless, they won’t ask for help because they don’t believe they need it. They don’t want to appear weak and, therefore, they tend to avoid interdependence. They are disinterested, forgetful, late (lateness is all about power), dismissive, or even become angry at having to care for others. 

Both the disempowered and falsely empowered get sick and hurt to control the others. 


5. Lack of maturity and moderation


The falsely empowered are overly mature, rigid, perfectionistic, obsessive, stubborn, and controlling. They are ‘doers’ – they cannot sit still and can’t moderate their work/life balance.  Addiction is very common and they use health issues as a way of controlling others. 


How do you heal from codependency?


Firstly, having the understanding from the above characteristics will help you to notice which of these codependent types you are. To achieve that I suggest taking my, “How To Heal From Codependence Questionnaire.” 

Following that, my book ‘Your Journey to Success’ will help you to learn about the worst day cycle which gives birth to codependence. For the complete summation of the two types of codependence and the five core characteristics I suggest Pia Mellody’s book ‘Facing Codependence.”

When you are ready to heal from your codependence I encourage you to go to my website www.thegreatnessu.com where you will find 3 really extensive masterclasses on healing from codependence. These are:



If you’re at the start of this journey and aren’t sure about investing in your recovery, you can start with the audible only versions of the classes to get your feet wet.


To Learn more about codependence, watch the video here:


YouTube player
Please follow and like us: