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Codependency Defined

Codependency Defined

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Published by Michael S. Logan
Codependency has a number of definitions, and before we get to those, I want to talk a little bit about the beginnings of this quintessential self help movement.
Codependency has a number of definitions, and before we get to those, I want to talk a little bit about the beginnings of this quintessential self help movement.

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Published by: Michael S. Logan on Jul 06, 2009
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07/05/2014

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http://www.askmikethecounselor2.comCodependency DefinedCodependency has a number of definitions, and before we get to those, I want to talk a little bitabout the beginnings of this quintessential self help movement.I first became aware of the term codependency in the early 1980's when I first got sober.I read a book called Hope and Health for the Alcoholic Family by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse,which was a great relief to my emotional struggles then, because it gave me a framework forexplaining my entire life and all the chaos that went with living in a house with two, count them,two alcoholic parents.In fact, I remember thinking that Wegscheider-Cruse must have been in my house, watching us,the descriptions fit so perfectly, and it was a great relief to know that I was not to blame, and alsothat there was a way out of the internal emotional and cognitive chaos that I was experiencing inthose early days of sobriety.In those early days, I was very good at identifying the problems, and very inexperienced at thesolution, so I had to stick with the tools that others had used before me, the 12 steps of AA, andtrust that sometime down the road, the promises that were part of AA and offered by this newmodel would manifest for me, and they have.I began reading everything I could get my hands on in regards to codependency, not so much tolearn a codependency definition, but because having words to describe my experience made it less"crazy", so I am grateful for the codependency self improvement movement.There were many others who were and are experts in the codependency field, including ClaudiaBlack, Robert Subby, John Bradshaw, Ann Wilson Schaeff, Melodie Beattie, and Terry Gorski,whose works were and are important.I attended Codependents Anonymous and ACOA meetings, and this self help movement hascontinued to grow.Codependency DefinitionCodependence is a pattern of detrimental, behavioral interactions within a dysfunctionalrelationship which is regarded by some as a form of disease.This definition is from Wikipedia.From Merriam-Webster;
 
: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated byanother who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ;broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another.From All About Counseling;There are many definitions used to talk about codependency today. The original concept of codependency was developed to acknowledge the responses and behaviors people develop fromliving with an alcoholic or substance abuser. A number of attributes can be developed as a resultof those conditions.However, over the years, codependency has expanded into a definition which describes adysfunctional pattern of living and problem solving developed during childhood by family rules.One of many definitions of codependency is: a set of *maladaptive, *compulsive behaviors learnedby family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing *great emotional pain andstress.*maladaptive - inability for a person to develop behaviors which get needs met.*compulsive - psychological state where a person acts against their own will or conscious desiresin which to behave.*sources of great emotional pain and stress - chemical dependency; chronic mental illness; chronicphysical illness; physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; divorce; hypercritical ornon-loving environment.All About CounselingCodependency is the word used to describe the behaviors of someone in a relationship with anaddict, who adopts very dysfunctional behaviors in order to attempt to keep the relationship.Codependency can also describe the patterns of behavior that children adopt in order to survive,psychologically and even physically, in a household where there is an addiction.So there is certainly a family systems component to codependency.As I mentioned above, my family fit the Wegscheider-Cruse family systems model very closely.I signed up to be family hero, which meant that I had to get good grades, be on the studentcouncil, do well athletically,ect. so that my parents did not have to address their drinking becauseI was doing well.The underside of that process for a child who is given that job is that they cannot make mistakes,and there is a huge amount of shame involved in their inner experiences.

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