Recovery from codependence

According to this page, “codependency forms in a family which is in pain“, I have never heard a better or shorter explanation of how codependency starts in a person’s life.

The symptoms of a family in pain can include – as examples – :

  1. chemical dependency;
  2. chronic mental illness;
  3. chronic physical illness;
  4. physical abuse;
  5. sexual abuse;
  6. emotional abuse;
  7. divorce;
  8. hypercritical or non-loving environment.

The result of living in a codependent family

And when a person grows up in that kind of family, they can develop one or more problems – as examples – …
  1. The person doesn’t learn how to get their needs met
  2. The person acts against their own will or conscious desires in which to behave

How codependency forms in a family

Today I was sent a list of rules that a family may have which result in the person not listening to their own will or not learning how to get their needs met…

General rules created within families that may cause codependency include:

  1. Not talking about problems
  2. Keeping feelings inside
  3. Communicating through “triangulation” – one person acts as messenger between two others
  4. Being strong, good, right, perfect
  5. Making family members proud
  6. Not being selfish
  7. Doing as you’re told
  8. Discouraging play and playfulness
  9. Going along to get along–don’t rock the boat

These kinds of rules can constrict and strain the free and healthy development of people’s self-esteem and coping. As a result, children can develop non-helpful behavior characteristics, problem-solving techniques, and reactions to situations in adult life.

NOTE: I was sent that list by email today. I did a search and it is quote in many places on the internet, so I can’t work out who first wrote it, so I can’t give credit where credit is due.

When people are shut down by family rules like those listed above, they don’t learn to live in a balance. They also might not learn to listen to themselves, they may not learn to care for themselves. If the person is not self-aware, then maintaining an inner self of balance is very hard. There is a need to keep an inner balance within yourself, and also a balance in your family or friendships. The first is internal, the second is external. Both need to be kept in a balance.

Balanced communication in a family and relationships


Achieving an internal balance in caring for yourself


Recovery from codependence

In my growth, I have come to the conclusion that co-dependance and many other mild personality disorders can be resolved by learning how to live a balanced life.
That is easier said than done! It means increasing our emotional IQ (or EQ). This means learning how to care for yourself and how to care for others – and balance the two. It’s a tough things, to learn how to balance when you have not seen it done or experienced it in your family life. There is no shortcut to recovery. It takes time because there can be  lot to learn.
The major components are – in my experience –
  1. to learn to play (have fun),
  2. to learn about boundaries and then enforce them, and
  3. to learn to take care of yourself, to have great self care, listen to how you are feeling (love yourself)
  4. to learn to make friends and how to care for the friendship so that it grows and deepens and becomes stronger
  5. develop positive expectations, optimism, hope
These skills should have been learned in our formative years, but if they weren’t they have to be learned now, no matter what age we are. And they take time to learn. It’s all about trial and error.
Don’t underestimate the healing that you can achieve through playing. If you grew up in a family that was in pain, you need to be good to yourself and listen to yourself.

Things to bring into balance

When a family is in pain, everything can seem to be deadly serious all of the time, and taking time to learn to play can really break that sense of “hyper-vigilance” (always expecting the worst to happen). Hyper-vigilance is an example of one thing that may need to become moderated, it may need to come into a balance.
Here are some other things that may be out of balance. A person could be doing too much…
  1. controlling behavior
  2. distrust
  3. perfectionism
  4. avoidance of feelings
  5. intimacy problems
  6. caretaking behavior
  7. hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat/danger)
  8. physical illness related to stress

It can all be improved and brought into balance. The extremes can stop.

Forming good friendships and relationships

It is virtually impossible to heal in isolation and therefore the person must develop good social skills and to do that the person will need to know themselves and have the ability to read and understand other people’s boundaries. Without that we stumble from one codependent relationship to another.

As adults, codependent people have a greater tendency to get involved in relationships with people who are perhaps unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy.

And the codependent person tries to provide and control everything within the relationship without addressing their own needs or desires; setting themselves up for continued unfulfillment.

Even when a codependent person encounters someone with healthy boundaries, the codependent person still operates in their own system;

they’re not likely to get too involved with people who have healthy boundaries.

This of course creates problems that continue to recycle; if codependent people can’t get involved with people who have healthy behaviors and coping skills, then the problems continue into each new relationship. – Overview of codependency

Learning these things takes time. But it can be done.

First steps…

So what do you do next? You begin learning how to…

  1. to learn to play (have fun),
  2. to learn about boundaries and then enforce them, and
  3. to learn to take care of yourself, to have great self care, listen to how you are feeling (love yourself)
  4. to learn to make friends and how to care for the friendship so that it grows and deepens and becomes stronger
  5. develop positive expectations, optimism, hope

And above all, listen to yourself, be good to yourself and set time apart to have fun. That is a great place to start! 🙂

One response to “Recovery from codependence

  1. Thanks Mark as always. I don’t know about everyone, but I think we all have to deal with these kind of issues in some way or form and Jesus was right when he instructed us to Love Ourselves, a process of Divine healing and Grace in action. Thanks again!

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