ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Codependency and Dysfunctional Families

Updated on July 14, 2015

Codependency

Codependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. A sense of control or lack of it, is central to everything a codependent does and thinks. It doesn't improve with time. Time tends to make the condition worse.

Codependency is classified as an addiction. Although it might not involve alcohol or drugs you are addicted to something such as unhealthy relationships, or control issues. Codependents must explore their lives and bring their relationships into clear focus. This includes evaluating your parents' relationship to you.

It's a false sense we can make ourselves happy by controlling people and events outside of ourselves. Today, codependency is an epidemic afflicting an average of 100, million Americans.

Dysfunctional families may have left you with many negative messages about yourself. These messages are like a recording playing over and over controlling your life. Part of recovery is creating new experiences to help override old misconceptions about yourself.

Accountability to others is an essential part of this process. A mentor, counselor, therapist, or support group can be extremely helpful.

Codependent or Dysfunctional Families

All families are somewhat codependent or dysfunctional. This is natural since none of us are perfect, including our parents who also make mistakes. They passed some of their childhood to us, and likewise we will likely do the same. But there are steps we can take to the break cycle.

Codependents Are Driven by Compulsions.

Compulsions are easy to identify if they are addiction to drugs or alcohol, sex, physical abuse of others, or eating disorders. Other compulsive behaviors, although equally real, are more difficult to identify: Being a workaholic, obsessive compulsive behavior, and the like. They are rarely seen as addicts; rather they are praised for their actions because they are the ones usually identified as “successful.”

  • Codependents commonly suffer low self-esteem. They have received few, if any affirming messages from parents or caregivers during childhood. They see themselves as inadequate, and have an insatiable need for approval by others.

  • They believe happiness depends upon others' behavior. They strive to fix unhappy aspects of their past by manipulating people and events. If they felt unloved and abandoned as children, they may be perfectionists as parents to compensate for past failures.

Many try to avoid this pain by trying to solve other people's problems. Since codependents can't even manage their own lives, they take upon themselves needless guilt.


Codependents are masters of denial. One of the first questions asked during a counseling session is how their childhood was. Usually they will respond with a story of how happy it was. Oddly enough, they then go on to describe a not so happy childhood. This tendency to deny seeming so helpful in the past, now becomes an obstacle to hurdle in their recovery.

Those afflicted with codependency worry about things they have no control over, however that doesn't stop them from trying. They can't accept the fact they are unable to control others.

Like a person with bipolar issues, their lives range from one extreme to another. Those who see only one side of the codependent's life, find it hard to believe the other extreme also coexists within them. The message is worth and dignity missed during childhood have left a big void in their life. Therefore, they look outside themselves for meaning and purpose.

Stages of Recovery

  1. Exploration and discovery. Be willing to explore your life and discover clues why you are the way you are.

  2. Relationship inventory. Bring relationships into clear focus. Don't pass judgment on events in your life by calling them right or wrong.

  3. Addiction Control. If you are codependent, you have an addiction. It may not involve alcohol or drugs, but you are addicted to something. Unhealthy relationships, controlling others, work, success, or excessive spending. Once a substance or behavior has become an addiction, the only solution is abstinence.

  4. New experiences. The next step in your recovery is to create new experiences based on new perceptions about yourself, other people, and life in general. They may include restructuring your relationships.

  5. Nurture and healing. Nurture and healing requires a process known in recovery circles as “re-parenting.” Re-parenting fills the void left by an emotionally deficient upbringing. You can't change the past, but you can find new sources of love and affirmation.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)