This is the second in three blogs responding to the article in Addiction Professional on Rethinking Men and Codependency. In my previous blog, I cited three points with which I resonate. The second point here is the role of socialization in the origins of codependent behaviors.
In their article, Griffin and Dauer focus on codependency in men as an expression of their socialization based on gender. They look specifically at relational cultural theory emphasizing how men are raised to be separate, independent individuals who are taught the use of power and control on their way to manhood. In these ways, they do not learn ways to interact and form emotionally honest, healthily connected relationships. In their article they list important ways in which these effects of socialization are expressed in male codependent behaviors.
I, too, believe that our socializations are very important to understand as we look to make changes away from codependent behaviors. As I have written and presented on this topic of codependency over the past ten years, I have come to think of the influences contributing to codependency in the form of three concentric circles:
In the center circle is the individual, our core self who we are always attending to and cultivating. This self includes at least four areas: physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual
The second layer around the center circle is the family system which includes our family-of-origin as well as whatever constitutes our current family. This layer is emphasizing the influences of our family systems on the roles and rules we have developed over our lifetime.
The third layer around the center circle includes the social/cultural/political worlds in which the individual and their family systems live.
As I say in My Life as a Border Collie: Freedom from Codependency, “Each of these outer layers has profound effects on the individual it surrounds. To understand codependence in the individual without seeing these layers of influence on them is incomplete” (p. 28).