Codependence is a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by family members in order to survive in a family experiencing great emotional pain. In most cases alcoholism, chemical dependency, or other addictive disease is at the source of the family pain. Codependent behaviors are a set of coping behaviors that are passed from generation to generation–whether or not addiction is present–in order to survive. Although the original alcoholic/addicted person may have been a great-grandparent, family members across the next three or four generations learn a set of behaviors which help them deal with the emotional pain inherited from the original dysfunctional family unit. These behaviors, although designed to relieve pain, create pain! They constitute a deeply embedded “cognitive set” upon which codependency or dependency disorders are founded. Whether or not addiction existed in our nuclear family, codependency is a deeply rooted compulsive behavior that is born out of a dysfunctional family system. Individual family members may or may not develop addictions. Symptoms of codependency (or dependency) disorders include: perfectionism, workaholism, procrastination, compulsive overeating, compulsive gambling, compulsive buying, compulsive lying, compulsive talking, compulsive sex, dependent relationships, over-possessive relationships. Other dependency disorders can revolve around acquiring status, prestige, material possessions, power or control over family members, co-workers, friends, authority figures, etc. From “Codependency: A Family Perspective” by Robin Norwood
You do anything long enough
to escape the habit of living
until the escape becomes the habit.