Episode #47: Tips for Dismantling the Personalizing Codependent Dysfunction

We all like to place blame for things that go wrong in our lives – the public transit being late on your morning commute, your employee who didn’t finish a report in time, a partner that doesn’t pull their weight in the relationship, and sometimes… even ourselves. If you use the Personalizing Codependent Strategy, “it must have something to do with me!” is likely your daily mantra.

Personalizing Codependents act as though they are to blame for EVERYTHING that goes on even when they have little (or nothing!) to do with the situation. It’s also a way of making things about them to gain attention and shift the focus to them. It’s an automatic process of self-referring they do so that somehow, everything must be about them, even if it means taking the blame for something they were minutely involved with.

You must be assertive to get yourself in a conversation with the Personalizing Codependent as they have the habit of hijacking conversations, taking center stage. They have an enormous talent for taking anything you have to say and making it about them. They can even stop others from bringing things up for fear the Personalizing Codependent will suddenly put themselves in the starring role of your show.

In our first episode of 2023, we explore the Personalizing Codependent Dysfunction, talk about how it manifests in relationships and reveal that it is actually a survival coping strategy used by certain personality types because they got stuck in their development. We’ll also recount many and share tips and tricks for dismantling this dysfunction. You might recognize yourself, your partner, or your boss in this session, so make sure you listen.

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions, check out:


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  • [01:39] Episode Introduction and Overview
  • [02:42] What Is the Personalizing Codependent Dysfunction?
  • [17:30] Behaviors of the Strategy
  • [28:05] Tips for Dismantling the Strategy
  • [44:02] Episode Gem
  • [45:19] Episode Wrap Up



  • Personalizing Codependents blame themselves for something that was caused by another person or something that was otherwise completely outside their control. They will also take credit when they only have a minor role. They distill everything down to themselves being at the center of the issue or conversation.
  • However, when something is their fault, they don’t take responsibility and will blame others. Instead of owning their errors, they accuse others of being confrontational. Rather than listening to what the issue is, they focus on how they feel (embarrassed, ashamed, disappointed) and blame the other person for making them feel bad. If someone shares success with them, they can quickly pass it over and move on to something more interesting. Themselves.
  • People who use Personalizing Codependent Dysfunction cause their partners to doubt themselves and their experience. They are quick to jump in, revise the story, gaslight, or use other tactics to make others pay attention to them. Over-apologizing for little things to make others feel sorry for them ensures others pay them attention.
  • If you are struggling in relationships because you or others are using the Personalizing Dysfunctional Codependent Strategy, you are not alone. Contact us for more information on how we can help.



"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."

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