There are many books and definitions of what is co- dependence, but the model as
set out by Pia Mellody in her book facing co-dependence is the one that both identifies
it and brings a solution.
When we are born, the part of our brain that we usually call ' the brain' ( the
frontal cortex) does not have any real functioning until we are a few years old.
However the Fight / Flight / Freeze ( Limbic Brain) works very well. It is this part
of our brain that gets traumatised by anything that is frightening or not nurturing.
We are born valuable, vulnerable, imperfect, dependent, spontaneous and open. These
core characteristics can be damaged and the memory of them stored in our amygdala
(part of the limbic system)
When this part of our brain is stimulated by something that re-awakens this memory,
we will have a reaction exactly the same as the original trauma every time they are
Anything therefore that happens to us in childhood which is less than nurturing can
have a profound effect on our entire life.
We can become slaves to our emotional nature and trauma, unable to understand what
is happening or why.
This then leads to us needing something to help cope with the trauma, usually either
from another human being (the co in co-dependence) which will be detrimental to our
self worth and functioning, or by using something to medicate like alcohol, drugs
, sex, etc. This can be completely crippling, leading to severe anxiety, depression
Fortunately we understand it and can treat it.
I have trained with Pia Mellody extensively on this model.