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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: The roots of relationship dependency lie in the family of origin.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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  It is the parent’s role to shape and support children through the various stages of psychosocial development. Hopefully this is done in...

It is the parent’s role to shape and support children through the various stages of psychosocial development. Hopefully this is done in a conscious and nurturing fashion so the child accomplishes the goals of each stage successfully. Ideally, the child raised in a conscious and healthy environment will be prepared for self-actualization, healthy relationships, and will fit into society adequately. Unfortunately, no child receives perfect parenting and no child has all of his/her needs met all the time. This is especially evident in families where there are unaddressed addictions (including advanced stage codependency), abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or mental), mental illness, or extreme social barriers. Shaming, abandonment, and neglect, flourish in these families.

“Normal” families can also be breeding grounds for relationship dependency. Most parents learned how to be parents through their own upbringing. Parents tend to behave in similar ways as their parents did with them, or in the opposite way (with little balance between extremes). Good parenting involves conscious behavior that is geared toward raising children to feel good about themselves and to be interdependent in relationships. Most parents do the best they can considering their own childhood models and dependency issues. Families that are enmeshed and smothering can be just as damaging as those that are too disengaged. Families that have too rigid rules are as equally harmful as families that are chaotic (having too few rules, or rules that are haphazardly enforced).

Imperfect families often produce children who learn that to get their real needs met (safety, value, acceptance, etc.) they must give up important parts of themselves and conform to parental/societal expectations. The child learns the behaviors that will get these needs met. These behaviors may become patterned into relationship dependency based personality roles.

Relationship dependents portray one or a combination of the following roles:

* Addicts * Abusers * Bullies * Comedians * Compulsives * Failures

* Fixers * Hypochondriacs * Lost children * Martyrs * Narcissists

* Over-achievers * People pleasers * Perfectionists * Rescuers

* Self-centeredness * Victims

The process of taking on roles results in children with little sense of self, who internalize the belief that there is something “wrong” with them. They grow into adults who don’t know who they really are and fear being discovered and rejected by others. When a dependent child takes on these roles there is an inevitable loss of the authentic self. This loss involves great pain. Caretaking, controlling, addictions, workaholism , etc. can all be compulsive medicators of relationship dependency.
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