“Codependence is a developmental disorder of immaturity caused by childhood relational trauma. Childhood trauma and emotional immaturity drive unmanageability, which in turn creates secondary symptoms like addiction, mental health problems, and spirituality issues.”- Pia Mellody
In adulthood, codependents live in reaction to others and typically experience chaos in their lives. They have difficulty functioning as their authentic selves. A common feeling is the feeling of “I don’t know who I am.” This is due to how a codependent’s thinking and behavior are usually organized around something outside them: another person, a process, or a substance. They try to enhance their sense of self through their relationships with others. There is a chronic inner struggle of feeling either less than or better than others. Codependents can be highly successful individuals, yet be personally exhausted, frustrated, and feel empty. If unaddressed, these individuals tend to cope with their emotions by abusing work, alcohol, drugs, sex, or food.
(Adapted from the Pia Mellody book: Codependent No More)