bookcoverfullCodependence is not a disease. It is not about controlling others (although it sure looks that way!). It is not about YOU as much as it is about the environment in which you were reared or currently live. To be codependent is NOT about needing to be in a relationship at all costs–ANY relationship. It is about NOT knowing your OWN needs, wants, and feelings. What is it then? Where does it come from? How did this happen?

Learn more about the two forms of codependence—endogenous and exogenous types. What is the difference? Generally, a person is at-risk if they grew up in a chaotic household where the feelings, needs, and desires of the children are not important. What is important is that they follow rules and act in ways that appease the adults in the home. The child does not have the opportunity to discover his or her own needs, wants, and desires because the child is busy trying to keep others from “acting out” (e.g., alcoholic or drug abusing parent). This is called damage control. So it starts to look as if the person with codependence problems is trying to control others in the situation, “If you would just stop that, your father wouldn’t lose his temper!” or if you do identify a need of your own, you are too afraid of the ramifications to express yourself because you fear it may make the other person mad or disappointed or sad or anxious. You don’t get to have your own needs expressed nor met.

Being human is to be a social creature. Even our brain development depends upon the types of interactions that we have with others, especially our primary caretakers. We need a caring nurturing environment to develop to our full potential. Without this, our ability to have happy, fulfilling relationships will be compromised at every stage of our lives. Our brain is “off line” in key prefrontal cortex areas that prevent us from being able to attune ourselves to others, picking up on their emotional states and addressing them accordingly. Without this ability, relationships are headed for trouble. Is there anything that we can do to become more integrated once we become adults?


It is no wonder that so many people have relationship challenges! Too many people grew up without the type of attunement that they needed to grow and evolve into their potential for health, happiness, and fulfilling relationships. In fact, according to some figures, about 97% of all people come from dysfunctional families! This helps us understand the challenges we face when it comes to good relationships that are filled with mutual respect, appreciation, caring, loving and trust. When our relationships don’t work out, we begin to wonder what is wrong with us? What did I do? What didn’t I do? What could I have done differently? Why did this happen to me? We blame ourselves because we just can’t get others to do what we think they should do to make things better. Or we blame ourselves because we expressed our feelings or needs and it caused an outbreak of chaos to occur. It is a vicious cycle.

flowerSo, how do we Break the Code of Codependence? Knowledge. Knowledge about the nature of the construct of codependence. Knowledge about how society contributes to its development. Information about brain functioning and attunement. Knowing the historical development of the construct helps us understand that it has been framed in such a way that we end up blaming the victim. The term arose from being in relationship with a drug addict or alcoholic, but the partner of, the “co-“ of the drug addict or alcoholic. Knowing the nature of our consciousness and how we form our reality will help us to heal from acting in codependent ways.

You will note that I refrain from phrasing in a blaming way. I try not to use labels when referring to a condition that a person is suffering from. If a person behaves in codependent ways, it does not imply that that person is the condition. How many times have you heard this condition referred to in a manner that sounds as if the person has contracted a disease? Have you even referred to yourself as being a codependent, as if that is all you are! “Hi! My name is Sharon and I am a codependent.” Sounds like a terminal disease. None of us ever refer to people with cancer or depression as being cancer or depression. We say, that person has cancer or has depression.

We need to reframe our thinking about codependence as it has been understood and view it as a personal mythology that needs revision. That is all. No blame. No disease. Just a condition that develops because of circumstances and one that can be healed. Read the excerpt to find out more.