Healing from co-dependency and covert abuse

Healing from co-dependency is possible, but it is not easy. Many awarenesses need to be had before someone can actually begin reprogramming the subconscious mind with new healthy data. What children observe in childhood through repetition, observation and consistency becomes the framework for all future relationships, which includes the relationship with the self. Co-dependents have been conditioned out of any relationship with the self, because they have been programmed to worry more about what others think about them than what they think about themselves.

Lisa A Romano


My life was on the verge of collapse when I walked into my therapist’s office for the first time looking for help. My mind had become a knotted ball, and my life was a matted mess. With every fibre of my being I hoped that this man could help me make some sense out of what my life had become. By the end of that first therapy session I had learned that I was clinically depressed, but that my depression was caused by co-dependency.

Being raised by two unrecovered adult children of alcoholics, was akin to being raised by alcoholics. At the time all these ideas were new to me, and I had no frame of reference to fit them into. I was simply a young, mother of three small children who hated her children’s father, who believed she had no right to feel what she felt.

For years I had stuffed my feelings, and learned to deny my reality for the sake of others. I had spent the better part of thirteen years trying to get my first husband to talk to me, so we could get on the same page….  As odd as it was to be diagnosed with a disease I did not understand, it was just as exciting to discover there was actually a name for what I had. What I had was a people pleasing disorder that prevented me from being able to honor or even connect to my self. Co-dependency, as it turns out is the product of emotional childhood neglect.

Although even the most well meaning parents can create co-dependent children, the main cause of co-dependency is childhood emotional trauma. Co=dependency begins to get rooted into a child’s psyche when they experience attachment traumas and grow up feeling emotionally, and psychologically invisible to those they love. When children are not mirrored back a positive sense of self, they are denied the safety of familial bonds that allow them to feel wanted, needed, loved and like they belong to those they love. When these crucial bonds to others are corrupted or denied, the brains of children go into survival mode.

Many children sadly are never able to move out of operating in survival mode, and instead get stuck in a state of fight or flight mode. Co-dependency is a disease of mind, body and soul. If you are co-dependent you may not actually understand that what is going on inside of you, is what is causing the hellish realities outside of you. …..many adult co-dependents have forgotten the wounds they were forced to deny so long ago. Healing requires us to awaken the dormant feelings we were forced to abandon, so we can integrate them psychologically and move from survival mode to thriving mode.


C0-dependency is a result of being raised by self absorbed or emotionally wounded or unavailable parents.  We do not know this when we are wounded emotionally as co-dependents.  We have not been able to have our own reality.  We may have been told our emotional reality is wrong or distorted, as a child we cannot put the blame and shame back where it belongs but in adult hood we can once we have a name and label for what ails us.  We can then take steps to get informed, heal old patterns, undo negative self abusive programming and heal.  We can learn to set boundaries with our inner critic which is often an introject absorbed from the parent’s attacks that we internalise and use to beat our true self up.

Lisa herself has written several books available on Amazon.  I have her book of affirmations on Loving the Self.  Much of the self blame and shame we absorbed from dysfunctional parenting is not ours to own.  It was not our fault we were narcissistically abused.  We can take steps to heal  Self love, self care and information from positive sources and role models will help us heal, but first we have to break the programming and attachment trauma that tends us to bond with abusers or people like our parents.  We have to learn that the love we seek from outside in the end has to come from within by breaking down old programming and learning to love and value the precious child we always were underneath the damage, a child now an adult who needs all our love and support to thrive.

2 thoughts on “Healing from co-dependency and covert abuse

  1. Much of what you write is pointed toward someone like me. I’m the mother of a lovely 29 year-old who was molested by her father for about 10 years. She has PTSD from what her father did but also from what I failed to do as her protector. She is an overachiever and high functioning, but has just started therapy to deal with everything. It is so complicated but I love her so very much. God bless you and your efforts here. I am trying to made a difference also but it is very difficult.

    1. Thank so much for reaching out to share your experience. That is tough. I am so glad you are able to support your daughter. There are massive defences in place when we have been hurt in this way. If you can understand that deeply enough you will be able to help. I am so glad that you found it helpful.

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