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Overcoming the shame from within

November 11, 1997

 

Few people are aware of a psychological condition known as codependency.  Yet it is experienced by 96% of the population and is most noticeable in our primary relationships, gay relationships being no exception.

 

Codependency is a dysfunctional process of living which emerges from a less then nurturing childhood and a judgemental culture.  It produces arrested identity development which results in an over-reaction to things outside of us and an under-reaction to things inside of us.  If left untreated it can deteriorate into an addiction.

 

The most common type of addiction is to relationships.  Within these relationships sabotaging patterns may occur, for example, fighting for power (or self-worth), being over committed and too busy for your partner, tolerating unacceptable sexual activity, blaming your partner for your reality, jealousy, shutting others out and lack of intimacy.

 

These patterns are caused by abusive childhoods.  Not understanding your sexual identity or experiencing a feeling of being different from other children can set us up to feel ashamed.  This feeling of shame becomes internalised and creates feelings of worthlessness in adulthood.

 

Recovery from codependency involves facing what happened in your childhood and relating it to your adult behaviour.  Then going through a process of reparenting that wounded child, removing the shame and replacing it with healthy self-esteem.