“When I say I LOVE YOU, I fear what it
would be like if you left me.
I hate feeling like that”
In 1984 The World Health Organisation ( WHO ) declared Alcoholism and Addiction a disease for the first time allowing Private Healthcare Plans to pay for treatment thus opening up the REHAB industry into the avalanche it is today. No bad thing. The term Co-dependent was then used by Treatment Centres to describe the partner, friend, lover or family member of an addict, alcoholic or gambler who lost themselves and their identity in the task of caring for or trying to get well the addicted person. Many of the books on Codependency during the 80’s & 90’s focus on this model.
In 1985 Robin Norwoods book WOMEN WHO LOVE TOO MUCH became a global bestseller.
The blurb on the back read : ” If being in love means being in pain, this book was written for you. Therapist Robin Norwood describes loving too much as a pattern of thoughts and behavior which certain women develop as a response to problems from childhood. Many women find themselves repeatedly drawn into unhappy and destructive relationships with men. They then struggle to make these doomed relationships work “.
The concept of codependency is now much broader than the neglected lover, the battered wife, alcoholic partner or victim of marriage. It affects not just women. Men can love too much too or become attached to a career that no longer offers stimulation while all genders can become encased in codependent traits like perfectionism, people pleasing and approval addiction. As example, many urban gay men can become dependent on drug use, body image and youth in order to be accepted, but going to the gym too much, shopping too much or eating too much wrong food to avoid emotions, have become modern day norms regardless of one’s sexuality. Being controlled by and controlling others is part of societies dysfunction within interpersonal relationships. It all starts in the family with power, competition, winning or losing. It has to stop.
So does falling in love at the drop of a hat.
In the 80’s – three writers, aside from Robin Norwood, remain the queens of Codependency : Melody Beattie, Anne Wilson Schaef and Pia Melody, creator of THE MEADOWS Treatment Centre, Arizona USA. Some imprints have been deleted but most survive and secondhand copies of their books can be found at the worlds largest on-line new & secondhand book site ABE BOOKS. http://www.abebooks.co.uk/
There are over 30 definitions of Codependency within the academic arena but Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse got it about right in 1988 in her groundbreaking booklet THE CO-DEPENDENCY TRAP : ” Co-dependency has a set of symptoms, a course of progression, and complications if it is not interupted and treated. So often the word has been used in such loose ways that it has lost its meaning. Some even mistake ordinary acts of kindness or deep caring and love as co-dependency.
Codependency is a dis-ease of self. It is a specific condition characterized by preoccupation and extreme dependence on another person ( emotionally, socially, sometimes physically ), or on a substance ( such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine and sugar ), or on a behavior ( such as workaholicism, constant controlling, gambling, serial romance, chronic fixing of others, compulsive sexual acting out or choosing victimhood ). This dependence, nurtured over a long period of time, becomes a pathological condition that affects the co-dependent in all other relationships around them “
According to Wegscheider-Cruse, a pioneer in Codependence research in the late Eighties, codependents are ” all persons who (1) are in love or in partnership with an alcoholic, (2) have one or more alcoholic parent or grandparents, or (3) grew up in an emotionally repressive family, all of which amounts to 96% of the population.
”Your time is limited, so don’t live someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs (Apple)
In the Internet age we have moved on with addictive choices other than alcohol but the same definitions would apply to partners or relatives of gamblers, workaholics, over-eaters, sex addicts, compulsive spenders, internet obsessives, drug addicts, prescribed drug dependents or parents who worry too much. It is vital that health care workers, therapists and breathworkers examine their own boundaries around healing and the need to fix others. Are you a victim, fixer, controller, best behaviour codependent or a loner? You may be all types at different life periods.
Codependents just can’t stop helping.
They feel the pain of others like a satellite dish, handing out uninvited advice and often scowl when you don’t use it. ( . . . . they were only trying to help, you see. ) They sit by phones waiting for ringbacks or dreaming the future to take themselves away from the pain of the moment. They often have no bounderies. They worry a lot about other people but take little care of themselves, the kind of person who states ” I will always be there for YOU ” while totting up grudges on lists for payback time. They are kind people with misplaced intention or need to be in control. They often hold a romantic illusion of love, moving in quickly with a partner or become serial relationship seekers ready to take hostage for keeps. They always insist ” we can work it out ” when all around are shaking heads. If it hurts it isn’t love.
Are you often babysitting your partner, parent or friend & always on a rescue mission as a human ambulance or parenting them to change?
Recovery from Codependency is not only possible, but essential for healthier relationships, but you don’t have to have survived a bad relationship, or even be in a current partnership to experience this subconscious fear based conundrum. Everyone has the propensity for fear lurking in their head with Guilt as mafia of the mind. Challenging all your codependencies can REBIRTH YOUR LIFE for Change.
DAVID PARKER has valued real life experience and never teaches from a manual. He has taught Breathwork & Lifestyle Coaching for over 30 years with those affected by alcoholic or drug affected families, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, sexuality or gender confusion, recreational or prescribed drugs as well as people WHO DO TOO MUCH, low esteemers, constant DO-ERS, procrastinators, loners and people who don’t fit in. He welcomes all to take responsibility to fix themselves first before attempting to fix others.