Codependency is based on false, dysfunctional beliefs that are learned from our parents and environment. Recovery entails changing those beliefs, the most damaging of which is that we’re not worthy of love and respect – that we’re somehow inadequate, inferior, or just not enough. This is internalized shame.
Last year, I published a blog post, Codependency is Based on Fake Facts, explaining the effects of this programming, which squelches our true self. Romantic love that’s mutual can, for a brief time, liberate our natural, true self. We get a glimpse of what it would be like to live unshackled by shame and fear―why love feels so wonderful.
Parents communicate shame and fear.
There are countless ways―often, with just a look or body language. Some of us were shamed with criticism, told we weren’t wanted, or made to feel we were a burden. In other cases, we inferred that belief from neglect, violation of our boundaries, or dismissal of our feelings, wants, and needs. This can happen even when parents say they love us. Being codependent themselves, shame, and dysfunctional parenting gets passed down unconsciously. Bad parenting can also be the result of an addiction or mental illness.