Compulsive behavior and low self-esteem are two of the five signs a person is co-dependent, according to a behavior expert.
Counselor Lynn Gordon outlined all five signs at her Brown Bag Seminar held yesterday. She said other signs of the condition include frozen feelings and delusion, which she explained are a person's belief that other people's happiness leads to his or her own, and a belief that his or her behavior is normal. The counselor said the fifth sign is medical complications.
She told an audience of 18 people that the term co-dependency comes from the 1980s, originally used by those who worked with children of alcoholic parents. She said co-dependency is a response of children whose parents, because of alcoholism or some other problem, fail to nurture the child. She said children in a non-nurturing environment do not feel protected.
She said people who are co-dependent are typically unable to relax and have fun, they are critical of themselves, have difficulties with intimate relationships, live their lives with a victim's viewpoint, can become addicted, may be more comfortable with chaos than with security, and fear abandonment. Depression is frequent among co-dependents, she said, and they may become hyper-vigilant, with a tendency to react, rather than act in a situation.
She said writings from the 1980s suggest that people can't overcome co-dependency, but they can change their response to it. She said because of the complexity of co-dependency, the condition cannot be covered in a single seminar. So, she will speak more on the topic at next week's seminar on Feb. 26.
Gordon is with the Family & Personal Counseling Center, and her Brown Bag Seminars are at Sheridan College's facilities on Main Street. Seminars are free and open to the public, and start at 12:10 on Wednesdays. Attendees are invited to bring their lunches to eat during the talk.