By Rachel Crowe, Aug 12, 2022
Tom Adams, M.D., part of the team at Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine in California, attributes childhood emotional neglect as the prototype for future codependency. “As humans, we are born with instincts to attach strongly to our caregivers,” Adams explained. “When caregivers convey, intentionally or not, that their own needs are more important than the child’s or that there is a kind of existential urgency to situations outside of the child’s self, the child can learn that their own self is secondary, less important/urgent, and develop unconscious/automatic self-suppressing or self-forgetting habits that make codependent behaviors.” If codependent behaviors have persisted since childhood, it can be hard to identify them yourself. Adams recommended a few steps that may help.
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