The New Codependency
Help and Guidance for Today's GenerationLarge Print - 2009
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Codependence can develop in reaction to growing up in a family or situation in which additions, mood disorders, or other gross imbalances leads the "codependent" to feeling overresponsible to take charge of responsibilities that really belong to someone else. For example, the family member of an alcoholic or other type of addict may take on too much responsibility and control to "enable" or "rescue" the addict from feeling the full effect of his/her behavior. If no substance abuse is present, a similar dysfunctional dynamic will result when the codependent jumps in to overprotect, overcontrol, enable, or "rescue" the person with severe anxiety, depression, personality disorder, or other imbalence which throws off the stability of the family or household.
Surprisingly, escaping these deeply trained dysfunctional codependent behaviors can be as difficult or even more difficult than overcoming an addiction to a substance. Codependents often have substance abuse problems in addition or they may just have developed their dysfunctional patterns in reaction to an addict, narcissist, depressive, compulsive, abuser, or person with borderline personality disorder.
The author, Melody Beattie, wrote the first major book specifically about codependency in the late 1980's when people first began to recognize codependency as a problem in itself. This is a quick book for people realizing that being an approval addict, a sucker, "too nice," and trying to control everyone else's behavior to make everything else seem okay is destructive and throws off our lives and those around us.
In our contemporary culture, it is easier to stay well adjusted when people are clear, honest, and don't try to control one another. This book explains what codependency is and how to begin the transition to healthier patterns. See also www .coda. org for general information on what "codependency" is and how it creates pain and imbalance for both the codependent and her/her family.
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Boundary Setting Tips:
Don't forget: Boundaries include saying what we want, enjoy, and like, too - not only what doesn't feel good.
If we feel our boundary collapsing, write a reminder letter to ourselves about how it feels when we let someone do what our boundary concerns. Write the letter when the feelings are fresh. When we're tempted to give in, read the letter. It may stop euphoric recall and help us remember how much that behavior hurts.
If a boundary involves people doing something differently, be specific about what needs changing. Then, everyone involved can clearly tell if and when the boundary is met.
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