Co-Dependency

Excerpts and affirmations built from: Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap, Barry K. and Janae B. Weinhold, PhD’s, New World Library, Novato, CA, 2008.

Counter-dependency (six to Thirty-six months)

Separation and Individuation

Child:

Completes the psychological separation process with parents.

Learns to safely explore his or her environment.

Learns to trust and regulate his or her own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in socially appropriate ways.

Internalizes appropriate physical and social limits

Develops healthy narcissism

Resolves internal conflicts between oneness and separation

Bonds with self

Continues to build secure internal working model

Completes his or her individuation or psychological birth process

Parents:

Offer timely help in healing any narcissistic wounds or developmental traumas that interfere with resonance

Give the child permission and support to safely explore his or her environment; they give the child twice as many yeses as nos during this time

Rearrange environment to provide safety

Understand and respect the child’s need to develop internal regulation of emotions, especially shame

Help the child identify self-needs, as opposed to the needs of others

Model how to directly ask to have one’s needs met

Use nonshaming responses in limit-setting and discipline

Give positive support for the child’s efforts to develop an autonomous Self

Adult Caregivers:

Help the child quickly reestablish the resonant connection with the mother when it’s disrupted

Offer empathy and compassion as the child learns to regulate his or her conflicting emotions, thoughts, and behaviors

Offer authentic mirroring and validation of the child’s essence

Offer permission for the child to be a separate individual and to trust his or her internal impulses

Independence (3 to 6 Yrs)

Mastery of Self and Environment

 

I did not:

  • master self-care.
  • master the process of becoming a functionally autonomous individual separate from my parents.
  • develop and trust my own core values and beliefs.
  • learn effective social engagement skills.
  • develop a secure internal working model of myself/other.
  • bond securely with my peers.

 

My parents did not:

  • support development of effective internal limits and consequences.
  • help me learn appropriate deferred gratification of wants and needs.
  • help me learn effective emotional self-regulation and control.
  • help me learn to trust my inner sense of wisdom and guidance.
  • provide me with experiences for the safe exploration of nature.
  • provide for reciprocal social interactions with other children.
  • help me develop cause/effect problem-solving skills.

Immediate and extended family members were not available to offer nurturing, supportive, and consistent contact.

 

Other adults were not available to model win-win solutions to conflicts.

Independence (Three to Six Years)

Mastery of Self and Environment

Child:

Masters self-care

Masters the process of becoming a functionally autonomous individual separate from parents

Masters object constancy

Develops and trusts his or her own core values and beliefs

Has secure bonding experiences with nature

Learns effective social engagement skills

Develops secure internal working model of self/other

Bonds securely with peers

Parents:

Rearrange home environment to support the child’s mastery of self-care (eating, dressing, and toilet training)

Support the child’s development of effective internal limits and consequences

Help the child learn appropriate deferred gratification of his or her wants and needs

Help the child learn effective emotional self-regulation and control

Help the child learn to trust his or her inner sense of wisdom and guidance

Provide the child with experiences for the safe exploration of nature

Help the child develop sensory relationships with nature

Provide for reciprocal social interactions with other children

Teach cross-relational thinking, including empathy and respect for others

Help the child develop cause/effect problem-solving skills

Immediate and extended family members:

Offer nurturing, supportive, and consistent contact

Adults:

Model win-win solutions to conflicts

Inter-dependence (Six to Twenty-nine Years)

Cooperation and Negotiation Skills

Child:

Learns to cooperate with others

Learns to negotiate with others to get his or her needs met

Learns to accept responsibility for his or her personal behaviors and life experiences

Experiences secure bonding with peers and other adults

Develops a social conscience

Bonds securely with his or her culture

Bonds securely with the planet

Lives his or her life as an authentic adult

Bonds securely with own children

Understands the influence of incomplete developmental processes on his or her life and how to successfully heal developmental traumas

Suggested Experiences for Completing the Essential Developmental Processes of Individual Evolution

Parents:

Model effective cooperative social engagement skills in couple, family, and peer relationships

Child:

Seeks to learn negotiation skills to get his or her needs met in healthy ways

Seeks solutions to his or her conflicts that honor the needs of all parties involved.

Seeks adult validation of the importance of keeping his or her relationship agreements.

Seeks an adult model that can teach him or her empathy and compassion for others

Seeks adults who can teach him or her intuitive language and thinking skills

Seeks nurturing, supportive, and consistent contact from immediate and extended family members

Seeks support from parents and other adults on how to build sustainable relationships with other adults and how to find a primary love partner

Seeks adult input on the values of his or her cultural group and how to overcome any limits imposed by family and culture

Seeks personal meaning and a personal mission within the context of the “global family”

Seeks information and skills for healing his or her developmental traumas

Seeks assistance in developing systemic and trans-systemic thinking

Adults:

Encourage the development of an internalized “safety parent” allowing safe risk-taking behaviors

Had they been properly equipped, my parents would have modeled effective cooperative social engagement skills in couple, family, and peer relationships.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought to learn negotiation skills to ensure that my needs were met in healthy ways.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought solutions to my conflicts that honored…

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought adults who could teach me intuitive language and thinking skills.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought nurturing, supportive, and consistent contact from immediate and extended family members.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought support from parents and other adults on how to build sustainable relationships with other adults and how to find a primary love partner.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought adult input on the values of my cultural group and how to overcome any limits imposed by family and culture.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought personal meaning and a personal mission within the context of the “global family.”

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought information and skills for healing my developmental traumas.

Had I been properly equipped, I would have sought assistance in developing systemic and trans-systemic thinking.

Had they been properly equipped, the adults around me would have encouraged the development of an internalized “safety parent” allowing safe risk-taking behaviors

If Mom had said these things, my life would have been easier:

I cherish you.  I adore you.  I am here for you.

Take your time.  Take the time you need.

Your needs are okay with me.

I accept you just the way you are.

I want to support you while you explore who you are.

I celebrate you.

I am strong enough to support you.

Let’s find out who you are.

I can take care of myself.

What she said and how it was harmful:

Some people are givers and some are takers (shame around receiving from others)

Praise for what I could do to serve others selflessly (Mom’s “right hand.”)

Don’t ask

Don’t make waves.

Positive and negative ways I’m like my mother:

Controlling

Interested in food/nutrition

Fiercely Independent

Strong

Intuitive

Deeply spiritual

Low self esteem

Not good enough

Self denial

Positive and negative ways I’m not like my mother:

Liberal/conservative

Adhering to tradition, old ways

Expansive, open

Choosing love instead of fear

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