" 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. Many urban gay men can become dependent on chems, body image and youth in order to be accepted. Going to the gym too much, shopping too much or eating too much wrong food to avoid emotions have become modern day norms. Being controlled by and controlling others is part of societies dysfunction within interpersonal relationships.
It’s about 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 world but Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse got it about right in 1988 in her book 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 "
Codependents just can’t stop helping.
They feel the pain of others like a satellite dish, dishing out uninvited advice and scowl when you don’t use it. ( . . they were only trying to help, you see. ) They sit by phones planning 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.
Codependent love is conditional love – for many it means conditional on staying together for ever to avoid the pains of future rejection, loss and purpose.
The marriage vows have a lot to answer for and the divorce rate speaks for itself without considering those still trapped in loveless union and duty. Make your bed and lie on it. Spiritual love is unconditional, loving them enough to let them go when they want without manipulation or anger. We need to be trained to do this appropriately and in an adult fashion, to experience interdependence for continued harmony.
When a relationship no longer works, THE SWARMITE uses his experience of working with one person or both individually. This has proved to be more fruitful allowing the partnership to fix themselves. Though in most cases one partner refuses to take inventory, feeling they are right and communication crumbles. WORK ON YOURSELF only, change yourself, change the game and partners are forced to follow. Start finding your voice, learn the power of clear honest communication and rediscover the buried self, the wounded emotions and the healing power of ACTION.
Moving on into the new century the basics of the early 80′s codependent patterning still apply, but it is no longer about human relationships. It’s as much about the attachments we think we could not live without, utilities like electricity, food, water and computer communications are not attachments – they are essentials for survival.
Some may argue about computers on the list but think ahead, even granny has a mobile. Now she’s on the net, downloading, blogging and finding information. The speed of technology heralds faster thinking, soundbites and skimming facts. Consumerism is rife, image is the key and approval addiction in the workplace has escalated.
We have become dependent on the FEAR OF BEING LEFT BEHIND.
This is the new Codependency.
The net is not addictive – individuals are. If you hold the wand of an addictive personality be careful how you wave & munster magic. If getting " approval hits " from
dating websites starts your day the monster lurks, if your career dominates a limited social life – beware, if mum or dad were alcoholic you have a higher propensity for drug abuse, including alcohol or a refusal to BE LIKE THEM and control usage. Check out Adult Children of Alcoholics on the net. Codependency is the core of all addictions and it’s the illness that tells you haven’t got it. Be prepared – don’t hit rock bottom – get off on the 2nd floor. Prevention or harm reduction is wiser for future well-being.
Who was the dominating energy in your family of origin,
or in your present job?
Which friend or work-m8 plugs you in – reminding you of someone way back – if the mirror still rankles it will come back to haunt
like untreated rising damp.
Get it sorted.
Are you often babysitting your partner, parent or friend & always on a rescue mission
as a human ambulance or parenting them to change?
Nag. Nag. Nag. Long-term it will never work, your efforts are in vain including paying off their CC Cards and court judgements. The old stereotypes of Relationships must and can change into equal responsibility within the relationship.
One fixing the other is over. Let them do it for themselves. Stop enabling.
Recovery from Codependency is not only possible but essential but you don’t have to have had, or be in a relationship, to experience this subconscious fear based thought system.
The Swarmite has rare experience: Using Breathwork & Relationship Coaching for 20 years with those affected by child sexual abuse, drink or drug dependent parents, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C, sexual and gender confusion, clubbing drugs as well as people WHO DO TOO MUCH, low esteemers, constant DO-ERS, procrastinators, loners and people who don’t fit in. You know who they are.
The internet will inform you further, these sites are a good beginning.
For another sick family check out :