Dysfunctional Families and Codependency

Many adults who are codependent grew up in families where alcoholism by one or both parents was a fact of life. Other adults with codependency may have grown up in families where drug addiction, mental health conditions, physical health problems or general family dysfunction was present.

Children and Parents

In all of these situations, the role of the parents and the children in the family is altered. The parent with the addiction, physical or mental health issue or the abuse issue becomes the center of the family. This individual becomes the focus of the spouse or partner as well as the children, with everyone working to try to satisfy the individual or to minimize any disruption or discord in the environment.

Often, children are left to parent other younger children, or they may take on the role of parenting the ill or addicted parent. These kids learn through their daily life to give all of themselves to trying to please someone in their life who, by their role, is a critical part in the child’s development of their sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Lack of Love and Attention

In these types of families, children receive extremely limited love and attention from either parent. The addicted or ill parent is too involved in their own problems to pay attention to the kids, and the spouse or partner is too absorbed in her or his own codependency issues to pay any attention to the children.

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Do you remember trying to minimize tension or taking care of an adult in the family when you were a kid? Do you see yourself people pleasing as you may have done in childhood? How has your dysfunctional family of origin affected your present relationships? What have you done to resolve these issues? How can you give yourself the love and attention you may not have gotten when you were younger? Be sure to share your thoughts and questions using the comment section below so we can all learn from and help each other…

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