What is Co-Dependency?
We think of addiction as a family illness as it affects the whole family. The term co-dependent evolved out of treatment centers in the USA, in the 1950’s. The first Rehabs initially treated alcoholics. Then co-alcoholic meaning ‘alcoholic-with’ described close family members who either enabled or were victims. In the 1960’s, drug dependency started to be treated so the term was updated to co-dependency ‘dependent-with’. In 1986 the first recovery meeting of co-dependency Anonymous CoDA took place. Melody Beattie wrote the first big book ‘Codependent No More – How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself’.
Family feedback is one of the most powerful tools in treatment and we strongly recommend that you involve your loved ones in the therapeutic process.
Our understanding of co-dependency has broadened out to include those people who are attracted to addicts due to care-taking issues, people who are addicted to relationships, and who have a fear of people.
The Drama Triangle
The drama triangle by Stephen Karpman is another useful table to work with. It helps understand any dysfunctional social interaction humans engage in, usually unconsciously. There are three roles that we can switch into depending on the situation and who.