• Marital problems
• Abuse of all kinds like: unpredictability -- enmeshment -- abandonment -- emotional denial -- threats --neglect -- incest --parents being unhappy about themselves, their relationships and lives.
• Parents not dealing with their problems, expecting the kids to make it OK
• Lack of affirmation of self
• Parental unavailability which produces self-doubt in the child
• Shame inducing
• Excess pressure to fill the family needs Perfectionistic expectations -- covert stress and control -- issues of martyrdom by parents
• Children are overly involvement with parents' problems.
It is the crushing of our trust, identity, autonomy, safety, reality, self-image, industry, pleasure and creativity.
We learn to react to the needs, problems and dysfunctions of those around us, rather than to our feelings, our reality, our needs and wants. It comes from a child's insecurity of living with parents in a dysfunctional marriage—a family that produces fears, anxi¬eties, worries, phobias, hyper vigilance, and control issues.
As children we tried to make everything better and were unable to do so. We believed our survival depended on fixing the family. We be¬came over-responsible or totally irresponsible and swung frequently between the two places. The prem¬ises, the myths, our modeled behavior, rules, scripting and the repetition all contributed to our pain.
We re-enact dysfunction. As adults, we pass the legacy of our dysfunction and denial to whoever is handy: wives, husbands and children. As children we existed for our parents. The family roles were set up to take care of the parents needs—role reversal is abuse. Dishonest, spiritually bankrupt, hopeless, dysfunctionality, emptiness and undependability are all hallmarks of the dysfunctional family structure today. As the crisis and problems occur and recycle themselves in our present lives the solution to our healing lay back in the pain of our family of origin issues. We must go there and resolve our feeling for our healing to be affective. Nothing changes until it become real. We learned to protect, deny, obey and "live with” the intolerable. We have created a national parental protection racket. We try to believe that parents always did their best or at least tried to do their best. Not True! In protecting the family system we lose touch with the real source of our codependency and stay focused on symptoms not the problems.
Like a conduit, the child receives abuse and dysfunc¬tional lifestyle. We are unaware of the connection between our painful lifestyle and our unresolved childhood issues. Hiding what underlies our dysfunction makes change difficult, even impossible as long as the denial clouds our vision of the truth about what happened. Our behaviors, such as over-responsibility, enabling, excess tolerance of the inappropriate behavior in and by others; our mood swings or disordered eating and the list goes on and on, are truly expression of our compulsivity. It is our response to a system that did not meet our needs. The Fact Is We do not choose any of this. It may seem voluntary that we did or do what we do but we can only choose when we have full awareness, not just of the driving forces beneath the behavior, our feelings and our internal conflict. We subconsciously repeat the dilemmas, fears and pain of child¬hood—or we avoid repeating them to the point of going in the opposite extreme. 180 degrees from sick is still sick.
Many of us maintain our shame so our parents don't have to feel guilt. In role reversal and care taking children are set up to give meaning to parents' lives and as a result get lost or enmeshed in the parents' problems. The issues created become multi/intergenerational in nature. What doesn't get passed back gets passed around or passed on to the next generation. Our problems become our children's problems. Our children's problems become our cultural problems.
Family violence, social messages, school, church, culture and peers all play a part in creating codependents.
We live with an educational system that often:
• Stifles our ability to become who we were meant to be.
• Squelches our curiosity, creativity and interest. Smothers awareness of the awesomeness of creation. Breaks down creation into meaningless components.
• Forces us to stay within the lines with our crayons.
• Coerces us to memorize and repeat without understanding or interest. Compels us to compete and learn so little in such a long period of time.
• Denies our ability to question or think critically for ourselves.
• Demands of us to discover ourselves either as a failure or a success.
Survival in the system depends on one's ability to adapt to whatever school style or teacher style we happen to be in at the time and to be the recipient of the frustration of the teaching profession. This is codependency reinforced in our educational system.
Religion contributes with:
• Undercurrents of sexual shame, frequently over lapping onto female revulsion and hate. Concept of God as a judgmental, powerful, punishing father figure who selects those to favor and those to punish randomly.
• Focus on a God of miracles, of power, who alters the course of creation, who is jealous and petty, and vindictive. Over-ritualized liturgy. Religion being based on intolerance. Religious Institutions operating with addictive greed with a focus on punishment, shame and threats.
• Religiosity (an addiction) rather than spirituality. Religious arrogance. Religious extortion and exploitation & sick religious leaders.