Aug 15, 2010

Dysfunctional/Codependent/Fundamentalist Alert: Did you come from a family system based on "denial" or "shame-based rules?¨


Codependence is described as a disease that originates in dysfunctional families where children learn to overcompensate for their parents' disorders and develop an excessive sensitivity to others' needs. The term "dysfunctional family" originally referred only to families with patterns of interaction associated with alcoholism. It is now, however, recognized as a disease occurring in family systems based on "denial" or "shame-based rules." This includes a wide-spectrum of pathological emotional interactions in families, but there is always an avoidance of confrontation and inability to resolve conflict. This is sometimes described in terms like "enmeshment" or "blurred ego boundaries."


¨Codependency or codependence is a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. It also often involves putting one's needs at a lower priority than others while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including in families, at work, in friendships, and also in romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns.


Codependency describes behavior, thoughts and feelings that go beyond normal kinds of self-sacrifice or care taking. For example parenting is a role that requires a certain amount of self-sacrifice and giving a child's needs a high priority, although a parent could nevertheless still be codependent towards their own children if the care taking or parental sacrifice reached unhealthy or destructive levels. Generally a parent who takes care of their own needs (emotional and physical) in a healthy way will be a better caretaker, whereas a codependent parent may be less effective, or may even do harm to a child.

Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings, but only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree. HERE

Patterns and characteristics

Codependents Anonymous offers these patterns and characteristics as a tool to aid in self-evaluation.

Denial patterns:

I have difficulty identifying what I am feeling.
I minimize, alter or deny how I truly feel.
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well being of others.

Low self-esteem patterns:

I have difficulty making decisions.
I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
I do not perceive myself as a lovable or worthwhile person.

Compliance patterns:

I compromise my own values and integrity to avoid rejection or others' anger.
I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same.
I am extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions and feelings of my own.
I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
I accept sex when I want love.

Control patterns:

I believe most other people are incapable of taking care of themselves.
I attempt to convince others of what they "should" think and how they "truly" feel.
I become resentful when others will not let me help them.
I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.
I lavish gifts and favors on those I care about.
I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.
I have to be "needed" in order to have a relationship with others.

Recovery HERE

· Thanks to Wikipedia, Codependents Anonymous
· Thanks to Wikipedia, Codependency or codependence
· Thanks to Flickr Photo Sharing, Hayward
· Thanks to My Alcoholic Addict

4 comments:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

What a list! really too close for comfort...

Leonardo Ricardo said...

No, not you...it´s in the ¨underlying intentions¨ and in the ¨fear of losing or not getting or not facing¨...my favorite explanation is:

You´ll like reality, it just takes some getting used to (my shrink said that to me 20+ years ago on my first visit and I wanted to tip her chair over...but I simply nodded like I knew what she was talking about)!

DAMN! Who me?

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

My home was really much sicker than I understood at the time, so I have been very close to all this.

But somehow saw through it (though not quite) and muddled through ;-)

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Oh, the endless energy/vigil it took to ¨cover all the bases¨ to be certain that nobody did anything that challenged or exposed (or created a scene) my bad choices, my dysfunction or my personal sensitivities...that´s what I saw/was, so much behind-the-scene ¨strain¨ that was driven by some kind of fear of shame and/or blame or exposure of my REAL vulnerabilities...in my case I had plenty of ammunition because I knew the person I ¨was/am¨ was NOT supposed ¨to be¨ like me...I had the shame operating very young and I bought into it then commenced to ¨steamroll¨ my way through life (and painful and cowardly *issues* with myself and others I simply drank away...until, that is, they would go away no matter how drunk I was...self-loathing was the opposite of ¨acceptance¨ and I couldn´t strive anymore to pretend *things*, mostly my own character outside of being Gay, was different than it really was/is).

Now I still can´t ¨portray¨ anything outside of who I really am (and sometimes I need to be cautious because I can be brutally honest with myself and others under the auspiscious of ¨rigorous honesty¨).

For instance at this blog I´m quite confrontational with ¨religiouslike messengers of exclusion and fear/hate...not all of these ¨selective¨ Scriptural observants are evil...some are simply unaware to ¨what they do¨...that is irresponsible in my opinion, breezily harming others with a ¨cover¨ or some kind of ¨blanket¨ religious approval/popularity contest makes me take note rapidly...it is me who will no longer sit quietly, nod my head with approval (to save my ego/ass)...I found that REAL people and their lives are at risk when bafoons tromp around ones spiritual, emotional life with phobic ideals of right vs. wrong against LGBTI and many heterosexual women...there are many ways to ¨stone people to death¨ without a rock in sight and I let nothing ¨pass¨ me by without challenging it...I´ve become vigilant instead of feckless and feardriven...I try and keep my eye on reality so I can tell the difference between good intentions and bad (mostly my own but also those directed towards me in my everyday life...I try to eliminate denial and trust God that I need not always KEEP what I think I MUST have).