Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recognizing Co-dependency

In past generations we have seen a lengthening of young adulthood or for lack of a better definition, extended childhood.  We have gone through generations that were over indulged in many ways, over controlled, and some that were left to their own devices when their should have been guidance.  Many of these unbalanced ways of parenting have lead to children that grow into co-dependent adults. To “nurture a child's nature” is to prepare them to be on their own and follow their bliss.  To let guide them in their exploration of their talents and gifts and to teach them to value their life. 

Co-dependency shows its face in many ways.  We all have heard of the “Mama's boy”.  There are many men out there who go beyond showing respect  and cling to the skirts of their mothers well into middle age.  These men generally will find themselves a mother figure to marry.  We have heard of the women in the world who will do anything to make up for an overly critical fathers approval looking toward any man to fulfil that. We have heard of children that become the parent to their parents.  The examples go on and on.

Co-dependency is often most easily recognized in adult children in the observation of emeshed boundaries.  Emeshed boundaries are a murky interweaving of control on one side, and low self esteem and learned helplessness on the other side.  Parents are just as stifled by this co-dependency as the adult children are. These are not so evident most likely to either the child or the parent until the child is in a relationship of their own with a spouse and sometimes children.

Calling the parent or parent calling the child several times in a week or day (not in regards to a specific plan or event going on but about life in general and how to cope with everyday life)

Inability to make a decision, plan a vacation or deal with work or relationship challenges without the okay of a parent or child. 

Home Boundaries - Rearranging of furniture, re-organizing closets or dressers, lawn care etc.

A parent doing for an adult child those things that they should be able to do themselves

Complete access to the others house at any time.

Invasion of privacy

How do we live with someone who has challenges in the area of co-dependency?  How does one get out of the clutches of co-dependency and learn how to be in-dependent? There are many ways to begin to heal.  The first way is in recognizing it. Recognize the role you play in the relationship. Are you the actual parent, the parent figure, or the child, or the child figure?  There are many faces to challenges of co-dependency. 

A life coach can help you learn to use some of the tools that can  put you in tune with nature, your own nature!  Building self-esteem and confidence are crucial in being in-dependent. 

“To take the first step you don't have to see the whole staircase!”  Martin Luther King Jr.

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