Codependency is sneaky and powerful. You may not be aware that it’s the root cause of your problems. Focusing your thinking and behavior around someone else is a sign of codependency. We react to something external rather than our own, internal cues. Addicts are codependent, too. Their lives revolve around their addiction – be it food, work, drugs, or sex.
Codependency derived from the term “co-alcoholic,” originating in studies of family members of substance abusers who interfered with recovery by enabling. Family therapists found that codependent behavior developed in their childhood growing up in a dysfunctional family. In the 40s, German psychoanalyst and humanist, Karen Horney, wrote about neurotic behavior caused by self-alienation. She described personality types that fit codependency and believed that they resulted from faulty parenting and the “tyranny of the shoulds.”
The 12-step program, Codependents Anonymous (CoDA) was founded in 1986 by Ken and Mary, two therapists who had grown up in abusive families.