From Chapter Six: The History of Codependency
Excerpt from “The Codependency Revolution:
Fixing What Was Always Broken (2024)” 
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

Fortunately for science, pairing creativity with skepticism promotes discoveries while discarding outdated misconceptions. That knowledge-bearing tension seems to have fallen short in stimulating the mental health community’s examination of codependency.

Metaphorically, codependency lives a chameleon’s life. What people believe or experience reveals more about their environmental background (culture, society, etc.) than the actual problem from which they suffer. Despite many’s innovative contributions, codependency still fails to be understood.

Understanding codependency’s convoluted history and the chronic lack of treatment success illustrates the uphill road of discoveries I have been enthusiastically traveling on. Considering historical information, the term, problem, and treatment for codependency should be gutted.

How the world defines codependency is simply incorrect, excessively simplistic, stigmatizing, and embarrassing. The lack of credibility in professional circles unintentionally enables the absence of valid and reliable resources for the problem. The one-dimensional understanding of a problem that mistakes the symptoms as the cause is most disturbing. To that end, codependency has never been viewed as habits, behaviors, and relationship patterns. Instead, such are symptoms of more profound trauma, shame, loneliness, and relationship addiction issues that, in totality, are codependency.

To illustrate this problem, imagine the fate of a person with a rapidly spreading bacterial infection whose physician mistook the observable symptoms for the actual foundational cause. The line of intervention would be to clean and bandage the wound, then send the person home with antibiotics. But what if the onset of the potentially fatal infection was overlooked and a person who could have been successfully treated died? Such a hypothetical tragedy illustrates the lives of hundreds of thousands of codependents.

Aside from the mental health field mistaking codependency for its symptoms, no one has yet to identify and explain the pattern of undeniable attraction to pathological narcissists and relationship-preference troubles. Considering the lack of established and valid explanations for the codependent’s chronic pathological attraction patterns, the inability to escape harmful relationship partners, and the propensity to repeat the pattern with subsequent partners, it appears the mental health field has its back turned. Such a system-wide failure by the well-meaning but mostly uninformed professional field is disappointing, saddening, and frightening.

Without intuitively sensible and psychologically valid explanations for why codependents almost always fall in love with pathological narcissists and, consequently, are subsumed by a mountain of suffering, any attempt to resolve the problem will most likely continue to fail. Please don’t mistake my position as purely academic or theoretical. I have skin in this game. Moreover, as a recovering codependent, I have a personal stake in identifying codependency’s theoretical, conceptual, and practical shortcomings while, at the same time, suggesting sweeping changes.

© The Codependency Revolution: Fixing What Was Always Broken, Ross Rosenberg (2024)




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