From LOST IN THE SHUFFLE - The Co-Dependent Reality - by Robert Subby:
...Originally co-dependency was used to describe the person or persons
whose lives were affected as a result of their being involved with someone
who was alcoholic or chemically dependent...was seen as having developed a
dysfunctional pattern of coping with life...
...But now many professionals are coming to understand that co-dependency
can emerge from ANY family system where certain overt (spoken) and covert
(unspoken) rules exist -- rules that interfere with the normal process of
emotional, psychological, behavioral, and spiritual development. Rules that
close off and discourage healthy communication, rules that eventually destroy
a person's ability to form a trusting relationship within themselves or
...Co-dependency is a pattern of living, coping and problem solving
created and maintained by a set of dysfunctional rules within the family and
...It's important to stress...that there are lots of people...who reflect
the characteristics of co-dependency...from a variety of troubled family
histories. These commonalities also show up in 1) Emotionally and chronically
mentally ill family systems, 2) Physically or sexually abusive family
systems, 3) Rigid fundamentalistic family systems....
...Children living under the dysfunctional rules of a troubled family are
forced to grow up in a hurried fashion and take on prematurely the
responsibilities of adulthood in order to take care of themselves and their
...Co-dependents don't like the notion of having to start [recovery] from
where they are...Co dependents have a child's fear, fear of the dark and of
the terrible demons that lurk on the other side of change. Co-dependents need
a healthy adult and parent model to walk them through their fear and
demonstrate that those terrible demons of change can't destroy them.
...The child who grows up in a troubled family, with all its dysfunctional
rules - don't talk, don't rock the boat, and so on - is practically
guaranteed to end up suffering from feelings of anger, hurt, lonliness, guilt
and shame...we learn to live day by day with the constant fear of rejection,
punishment abandonment or worse.
...Rule 1 -- It's not okay to talk about problems - We learn the no-talk
rule in two ways. First, our parents may come right out and say, 'What
happens in this house is no one else's business, so keep your mouth shut.'
More commonly, we learn this rule by watching our parents. Mom and Dad don't
talk about problems, although tension may be hanging heavy in the air. We
intutitvely feel the tension, we expoerience the walking on egshells feeling,
but no one ever directly confronts the real cause of our problems... Rule
2--It's not okay to talk about or express our feelings openly...Rule 3--Don't
adress issues or relationships directly...Rule 4--Always be strong, always be
good, always be perfect...Rule 5--Don't be selfish...Rule 6--oDo as I say,
Not as I do...Rule 7--It's not okay to play...Rule 8--Don't rock the
boat...Don't talk about sex...
Enough for you to chew on for now, I'm sure. It's a pretty good book.