Codependence is a product of our past – today’s problems have their roots in our past experience.  We view life through the filter of our experience – familial and cultural.  To this extent our “reality” (our thoughts, feelings, behaviour and body sensation) is unique from that of others.  Even siblings growing up in the same household will have different experiences and memories of their childhoods, depending on factors including birth order, state of the family/economy/world when they were born.

Humans are imperfect (or “perfectly imperfect”, according to expert Pia Mellody).  None of us were brought up in perfect households; often decisions that were believed  to benefit the child resulted in a traumatic experience.  Children are so powerless relative to adults that it doesn’t take much for the child to feel overwhelmed.

The low self esteem, poor boundaries, selfcare/support, and moderation in life that is common to Codependents shows up dramatically in our ability to be relational with others.  Often people come into therapy to change the way they “do” relationships, not the least the relationship to the Self, for Codependence is basically a separation from the Self.

How we see life and react to it, therefore, is to a great extent “hardwired” and we are largely unconscious of this process.  Therapy works to bring to consciousness these unknowns via psychodynamic work, EMDR and other body-oriented work, family systems theory, gestalt work, to name a few.

Reading Suggestion:  Facing Codependence, Facing Love Addiction, The Intimacy Factor, all by Pia Mellody.

A Hole In The Sidewalk by Claudia Black