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Published on January 15, 2008

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‘Family Dynamics & Co-Dependence’:  ‘Family Dynamics & Co-Dependence’ Presented by Francis j. coughlan b.a. (soc.) Grad. Dip. Substance Abuse Studies (Hons.) Accredited Alcohol and Drug Clinician Copyright Nov. 2004 ‘Family Dynamics & Co-Dependence’:  ‘Family Dynamics & Co-Dependence’ Families are equally as affected by an individual’s alcohol and/or drug use, as the user themselves. The primary purpose of this presentation, is to inform and educate alcohol and drug treatment clinicians, and other health professionals about ‘Family Dynamics and Co-Dependence’, particularly in the families of chemically dependent individuals. This model is designed to help alcohol & drug clinicians to identify ‘co-dependence’ where is occurs. By identifying ‘co-dependent behaviour’ within the family, the clinician is better placed to help families to better understand why they behave as they do, and how may confront and deal with their own issues in relation to another’s drug use. The components of this model may also be applied to any number of other situations that occur within, or outside of the family (e.g., gambling, chronic illness, work-a-holism, etc). ------------- The Presenter: Francis J. Coughlan is a fully qualified and accredited alcohol and drug clinician of some nine years practical experience. He is responsible for service delivery at a number of community health centres in the Central Gippsland region. He has established a number of support groups for families and friends of chemically dependent individuals. Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide3:  ‘Family Dynamics’ and ‘Co-Dependence’ ‘Co-Dependence’: A Definition the ‘co-dependent relationship’ Is there a Solution ? The dependent The ‘co-dependent The next generation The co-dependent cycle Copyright Nov. 2004 What Is Co-Dependence ?:  What Is Co-Dependence ? A Definition: ‘Co-dependence’ is a set of learned behaviours that is often passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioural condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also sometimes called ‘relationship addiction’ because people with co-dependence often form or make relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive, and/or abusive…, ‘Co-dependent behaviour is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this behaviour…’ Source; Psychiatric Institute of Washington (2003) Copyright Nov. 2004 ‘The Co-dependent cycle’:  ‘The Co-dependent cycle’ ‘Co-Dependence is ‘LEARNED BEHAVIOUR’; it is passed down through generations by others who have also learned how to be ‘Co-Dependent’. The children of these families learn how to behave in this way, because they model the roles they grow up with. The ‘Co-Dependent’ belief system is established within the first few years of life, and this ‘Schema’, or blueprint for living, is carried through into their adult lives. Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide6:  ‘The Dependent - Co-Dependent Relationship’ …, or…, Who Does What, and to Whom…?, Copyright Nov. 2004 The ‘Dependent’ : :  The ‘Dependent’ : The ‘ Dependent’ is totally obsessed with their drug / activity of choice, and the activities surrounding it. The ‘Dependent’ engages in uncontrollable, self-destructive behaviours, with little, or no regard for themselves, family, friends, or the consequences of their actions. ‘Self-Centred Behaviours’ Copyright Nov. 2004 The role of the ‘Dependent’ :  The role of the ‘Dependent’ Unable to escape the cycle of their addiction, the ‘Dependent’ continues in a downward spiral of physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual decline. In complete ‘Denial’ of their own problems, the ‘Dependent’ insists that everyone, and everything else is at fault. Because their addiction drives their aberrant behaviour, the ‘Dependent’ often employs threats and intimidation, physical violence, emotional and/or financial blackmail (towards family members and others), to ensure that they can maintain their addiction. Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide9:  The ‘Co-Dependent’ : ‘Co-Dependent’ is totally focused on, and obsessed with the alcohol and/or drug use and all the self-destructive activities of the ‘Dependent’. This negates the need to recognise that they have serious problems of their own. ‘Other-Centred Behaviours’ Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide10:  The role of the ‘Co-Dependent’ The following are all ‘Learned Behaviours’ from the Co-Dependent’s Family of Origin’ The ‘Co-Dependent’ mirrors the self-destructive behaviours of the ‘Dependent’, without the alcohol / drugs, etc., to relieve their own emotional pain. ‘Denial’ of the primary illness, and all the associated problems perpetuates the situation. The ‘Co-Dependent’ insists that they are alright (“I’m fine”, or, “we’re OK”…,), and can handle the problems ‘in-house’. As the ‘Co-Dependent’ tries to maintain some semblance of control, they employ various roles as the situation dictates; ‘Caretaker’, ‘Enabler’, ‘Tough-Guy’ ‘Martyr’…, ‘Denial’ reigns supreme, and the situation continues to deteriorate. The ‘Co-Dependent’ is often unwilling to confront the situation because they are afraid that the consequences will be more unpleasant than their current situation. Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide11:  Insecurity, Inadequacy Hopelessness, Helplessness, Uselessness, Worthlessness Both the ‘Dependent’ and ‘Co-Dependent’ have feelings of; They are both driven by Guilt, Shame, and Remorse Constant, cyclical, reinforcement of each other’s self- destructive, negative, behaviours Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide12:  The children: The next generation in the co-dependent cycle Copyright Nov. 2004 The dependent:  The dependent The co-dependent The Family Hero The Scapegoat The Mascot The Lost Child Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide14:  The roles played by the children are ‘inter-changeable’. The only role that may be relatively constant, and life-long, is the ‘Lost Child’. Any child, or number of children may play any role, or number of roles, for any reason, at any given time. Copyright Nov. 2004 ‘The Family Hero’:  ‘The Family Hero’ High achiever, sporty, approval seeker, usually very good at school, academic, popular. Caring, capable, potential caretaker, enabler, martyr. Often becomes involved in the caring professions, nursing, social work, counselling, etc. The ‘Co-Dependent’ family can legitimise the “we’re OK” attitude by using the ‘Family Hero’ as a good example of ‘normality’ ‘Family Hero’ is looking for the love they never had in their own family of origin, and has a need to be liked by everyone ‘Family Hero’ learns the ‘caring’, ‘enabling’ behaviours by watching their ‘Co-Dependent’ parent or role-model. They often become involved with partners similar to the ‘Dependent’ parent. This perpetuates the ‘Co-Dependent’ cycle. Needs to achieve to boost their Ego, Low Self-Esteem…, Copyright Nov. 2004 ‘The Scapegoat’:  ‘The Scapegoat’ Until they enter their early teens, ‘The Scapegoat’ usually behaves similarly to the ‘Family Hero’. Learning that they can get their own way more easily, ‘The Scapegoat’ mirrors the behaviour of the ‘Dependent’, and subsequently does everything opposite to the ‘Family Hero’. ‘The Scapegoat’ often becomes involved with alcohol and/or drugs, criminal activity, domestic violence, etc. ‘The Scapegoat’ uses the trouble they cause, or the problems they create, as an attention-seeking mechanism. ‘The Scapegoat’ is looking for love and affection, and will use any kind of self-destructive behaviour to gain the attention they want. Any attention is better than none. Huge Ego…, No Self-Esteem…, Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide17:  ‘The Mascot’ The comedian, class clown, resident comic. ‘The Mascot’ uses comedic activities and behaviours to try to relieve, or break the tension within the family by acting the fool, or joking around. Usually very intelligent,and popular with peers, but consistently fails at school because of disruptive behaviour and fooling around. ‘The Mascot’ tries to raise their own self-esteem by using the “look at me” type of attention-seeking behaviours. ‘The Mascot’ needs to be liked and loved by all they encounter, constant attention-seeker. Huge Ego…, Low Self-Esteem.., Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide18:  ‘The lost child’ ‘The Lost Child’ is a ‘Loner’, does not mix easily with family members, peers, or others. The Lost Child is always reserved, quiet, unassuming, the type of child who always stays in the background, never makes waves, argues, or says what they feel. Generally very intelligent, ‘The Lost Child’ often avoids contact and interaction with others, preferring their own company. An introvert, the ‘Lost Child’ is often the victim of bullying both at home and at school, but does not fight back for fear of experiencing further physical and/or emotional hurt. The Lost Child usually suffers severe depressive disorders, and is a potential suicide due to the intense, unresolved, emotional pain they constantly feel. The Lost Child does not seek attention, however, they are too afraid to ask for the love and affection that they need. No Ego…, No Self-Esteem…, Copyright Nov. 2004 Is there a Solution ? :  Is there a Solution ? Yes there is. Although the ‘Co-Dependent’ will have tried, and failed to change the behaviour of the ‘Dependent’. They will have become as ‘sick’ as the ‘Dependent’, and will engaged in the same self-defeating, and self-destructive behaviours. Often, the ‘Co-Dependent suffers the same physical, psychological, and emotional illnesses as the ‘Dependent’. Whether or not the ‘Dependent’ is in recovery, it is the ‘Co-Dependent’ who breaks the cycle. For the generationally perpetuated cycle to be broken, and positive, lasting change to take place…, it must begin with the ‘Co-Dependent’. Copyright Nov. 2004 Once the ‘Co-Dependent’ is aware of, and understands their own roles, they are better placed to change not only their own behaviour, attitudes and ideas, but, by the power of example and self-empowerment, those of the other family members too.:  Once the ‘Co-Dependent’ is aware of, and understands their own roles, they are better placed to change not only their own behaviour, attitudes and ideas, but, by the power of example and self-empowerment, those of the other family members too. Learning that they are not at fault for their learned behaviours, and that they have the capacity for change, the right to say “NO”, and that they do not have to be subjected to unacceptable behaviour any longer, creates fertile ground for the ‘Co-Dependent’ becoming empowered for positive change. It is essential that the ‘Co-Dependent’ seek qualified, experienced, professional help to make these changes, and that they be encouraged to try to involve the other members of the family. Recovery from ‘Co-Dependence’ is not easy, nor is it simple, it requires long-term help and support in order to prevent relapse into ‘old behaviour’ and a return to active ‘Co-Dependence’. The ‘Co-Dependent’ must first learn that they are in fact, repeating and perpetuating the roles that they learned as children within a ‘Co-Dependent’ family system. Then they must ‘un-learn’ all these self-defeating, self-destructive behaviours. Making change Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide21:  Conclusion The ‘Co-Dependent’ can learn that they do not have to live a ‘second-hand’ life. They can learn how break the ‘Co-Dependent’ cycle, and no longer be subjected to the emotional pain that has been their life. They can learn how to say…, “NO MORE !”…, “I DESERVE BETTER !”…, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO A HAPPY LIFE, FILLED WITH LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, AND CARING !”…, and MEAN IT…, !!! Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide22:  References:   Abbott, S., (1985), Co-Dependency – A Second-Hand Life, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.  Al-Anon (1981), Detachment, Al-Anon Family Groups, Australian General Service Office, G.P.O. Box 1002 H, Melbourne, 3001. Pamphlet no. S19 Al-Anon (1984), Did You Grow Up With A Problem Drinker?, Al-Anon Family Groups, Australian General Service Office, G.P.O. Box 1002 H, Melbourne, 3001. Pamphlet no. S25  Al-Anon (1984), From Survival to Recovery: Growing Up In An Alcoholic Home, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, P.O.Box 862, Midtown Station, New York,  Alcoholics Anonymous, (1976), (3rd edition), chapter 8, To Wives, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York, USA, pp. 104-121. Alcoholics Anonymous, (1976), (3rd edition), chapter 9, The Family Afterward, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York, USA, pp. 122-135.  Allcorn, S., (1992), Co-dependency in the Workplace: A Guide for Employee Assistance and Human Resources Professionals, Quorum Books, New York.  Beattie, M., (1986), Co-dependent No More, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.  Beattie, M., (2000), More Language Of Letting Go, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.  Black, C., (1990), Double Duty, Ballantine Books, Random House, New York.  Black, C., & Gorski, T., (circa1990), Addictive Relationships, (video) Claudia Inc. & CENAPS Corp.,  Black, C., (1990), It Will Never Happen to Me, Ballantine Books, Random House, New York. Blyth, A., Bamberg, J., Toumbourou, J.W., (2000), Behaviour Exchange Systems Training, The Australian Council for Educational Research Ltd, Camberwell, Melbourne, Acer Press.  Bradshaw, J. (1996), (revised edition), Bradshaw On: The Family, Health Communications Inc., 3201 S.W. 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, Fl., pp. 23-97, 181-204 Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide23:  Bradshaw, J., (1990), Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing You Inner Child, Bantam Books, New York. Pp. 6-30.  Co-Dependents Anonymous World Services, (2003), CoDA, Foundation Documents, http://www.codependents.org/codafaq.html  Co-Dependents Anonymous World Services, (2003), CoDA, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.codependents.org/codafaq.html  Dear, G., Blaming the Victim: Domestic Violence and the Co-dependency Model,  G., Greg., (1992), Getting Rid of Resentments, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.  Keating, J. (circa 1985), Family Dynamics, (video), Holyoake: The Australian Institute of Alcohol and Addictions, 65 Newcastle Street, East Perth, W.A.  Keating, J., (circa 1985), The Process of Addiction, (video), Holyoake: The Australian Institute of Alcohol and Addictions, 65 Newcastle Street, East Perth, W.A.  Knowlton, J.M., & Chaitlin, R.D., (1985), Enabling, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.  Larsen, E., (1985), Stage 2 Recovery: Life Beyond Addiction, Barnes & Noble (publishers), http://search.barnesandnoble.com  M., Mary., (1985, 1995), Family Denial, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota. Martin, Fr. J.C., (1977), Alcoholism and the Family, (video), FMS Productions, 5320D Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, Los Angeles, California.  National Council for Children of Alcoholics, (2003), Children of Alcoholics: Important Facts, NCCoA, 11426 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, http://www.nacoa.net/impfacts.htm Copyright Nov. 2004 Slide24:  Psychiatric Institute of Washington, (2001), Co-Dependency, http://www.psychinstitute.com/mental_illness/codepend.html   Robertson, N. (1988), Getting Better: Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, William Morrow and Company Inc., New York, pp. 155-183.   Rosellini, G., & Worden, M., (1985), “Of Course You’re Angry”, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.   Schneider, M., (1986), Medical Aspects of Co-dependency, (video), Dr. Max Schneider Productions, Schneider/FMS Productions, USA.  W., Carolyn., (1994), Detaching With Love, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.   Williams, T. (1992), “I Won’t Wait Up Tonight”, Hazelden Foundation, Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, Minnesota.   Westermeyer, Robert, PhD., The Co-dependency Idea: When Caring Becomes A Disease, http://habitsmart.com/cdpnt.htm             Copyright Nov. 2004

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