Being raised in a family where there is addiction, mental illness, or any problems that cause an inordinate amount of stress, creates codependency and children learn:
- That you are not important enough to be cared for properly.
- That it is better to lie and steal than to say something adults do not want to hear.
- That they could be severely punished if they are caught lying and stealing.
- That adults are not to be trusted.
- That it is not okay to care about yourself.
- That you are expected to take care of yourself.
- That other people's problems are more important than yours.
- That the only way to get your needs met is to learn how to be manipulative and seductive.
- That the only way to get approval and attention is by listening to other people’s problems and trying to solve them for them.
- That if you have a problem or are in pain no one cares.
- That accepting personal responsibility will only get you into trouble therefore it is best to blame someone or something else when things go wrong.
- That it is safer to live a parent's dream than to have one of your own.
- That you will feel lost, empty, and free floating much of the time causing you to feel different from other people.
- That it is best to deny having feelings, neglect your own needs and develop a false persona.
- That being helpless and victim-like will sometimes get you some sympathy, but the sympathy will never be based on the real problem.
- That shame will be your constant companion and will hold you back from great accomplishments or cause you to over-work, over-produce and become compulsive about 'doing'.
- That you will be a loner or accumulate followers who do not really know you.
- That conflict is dangerous and therefore it is best to keep quiet and not stick-up for yourself.
- That the only way to kill your pain or feel alive is to use alcohol, drugs, sex, work, religion or some other activity compulsively.
- That perpetual anger colors every decision and action.
- That as you grow older you will become cynical, intolerant, impetuous and controlling, or you will seek to go unnoticed and perform for others without complaint.
- That you will feel like an outcast socially or become a social butterfly and neither will satisfy you.
- That constant crisis is a way of life and without it you are bored.
- That having been betrayed by the people who brought you into the world has set you up for a life-time of trusting the wrong people and listening to advice from inappropriate sources.
- That you set up a grandiose way of thinking that says "I can do it all, be it all, and take care of others" and then develop self-hate when you can't "do it all, be it all, and take care of others".
- That you will either idealize people places and things or negate them.
- That the thing about you that no one knows or would ever guess is that you just want someone to take care of you.
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© Evelyn Leite, MHR, LPC