Anxiety is one aspect of being co-dependent that I have found to be universal - I hear people share at meetings about anxiety, old and new, and every sponsee I've ever had, has been well aware of the level of anxiety they carry. I used to get regular panic attacks before program.
People-pleasing is another character trait that seems common. I learned in childhood that if I could please someone, I had a much better chance of getting what I thought I wanted or needed.
Denial is rampant among those of us who deal with alcoholism. My denial was so thick at first that I was completely unaware of its existence.
Self-loathing is a phrase I've heard many times in the 30 years I've been in Al-Anon. I know I felt self-loathing because I'd been trained by abuse to think of myself as "less than." I considered myself to be a terrible person, and incompetent because I couldn't make my first husband stop drinking. I believed that had he just loved me "enough" he would have stopped. Al-Anon taught me that this kind of thinking was akin to believing that if he'd just loved me enough, he wouldn't have pneumonia. Alcoholism is an illness.
Judgementalism - I still struggle with being judgemental at times, although nowadays I can hear myself thinking that way, and will respond to my own thought with a correction, or reminder that most of us are doing the best we can at any time, I'm not the thought, activity, clothing, or behavior police; I need to keep my side of the street clean, and not be meddling in the affairs of others; even if that meddling is only inside my own head, it's still a loss of focus.
Fear is another emotion with which so many of us in program have had a long-term connection. I feared my own fear, which led to panic attacks. I feared other people, which led to loneliness. I feared authority, which led to my doing what I didn't want to do, in an effort to ingratiate myself.
Mistrust was my major defense against closeness with others. I can recall going around muttering to myself, "I hate people!" From a very young age, other people had caused me a great deal of physical and emotional pain, and I feared getting close to anyone, because I feared yet more hurt.
Al-Anon, and a zealous and impassioned working of the Twelve Steps, is helping me to lead a more peaceful, satisfying and enjoyable life. I can revel in the delights of a friendship, I can feel enormous gratitude for the gift of my partner Robert, I can greet a new day with happiness for the sight of the sun lighting my way. Any winter day with sun, rather than being overcast and cloudy, is a good day in my book.
If we stay in program, and work our program, the Promises will begin to come true, and we will be amazed at how different our lives can look and feel. Bless you.