[picappgallerysingle id="310182"]Patterns of co-dependency can emerge from any family system where the open and secret rules close its members off from the outside world.

These family systems;

  • discourage healthy communication of issues and feelings between themselves,
  • destroy the family members’ ability to trust themselves and to trust another in an intimate relationship, and
  • freeze family members into unnatural roles, making constructive change difficult.

Rules that encourage the unnatural patterns of relating in these codependent family systems include:

  • Don’t talk about problems
  • Don’t express feelings openly or honestly
  • Communicate indirectly, through acting out or sulking, or via another family member
  • Have unrealistic expectations about what the Dependent will do for you
  • Don’t be selfish, think of the other person first
  • Don’t take your parents as an example, “do as I say, not as I do”
  • Don’t have fun
  • Don’t rock the boat, keep the status quo
  • Don’t talk about sex
  • Don’t challenge your parent’s religious beliefs or these family rules

Related Reading:

Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics
Codependent No More & Beyond Codependency
The ACOA Trauma Syndrome: The Impact of Childhood Pain on Adult Relationships