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This coming week-end I will be facilitating our 15th Codependence Camp along with my colleague, Margaret Cress, LMFT. We offer this Camp twice each year. The curriculum for the Camp began with my Disentangle work and has evolved as the participants have evolved and also as our knowledge about codependency has evolved.
A year ago as Camp was ending, it was clear that we were ready to go yet deeper into understanding the origins of our codependent behaviors. So for Camp this past spring our focus was “Deeper Roots: Empowering Our Self Further through Understanding.” In my over eager, over functioning codependent way, I prepared way more for our 2 days than could possibly be covered, absorbed, and applied. Camp this coming week-end will be continuing our “Deeper Roots” work.
What we studied in the spring were the influences of our childhood and family-of-origin experiences. Yes, we certainly had studied this before, but at that Camp we looked at several important areas of influence we had not so examined before. Here is the first of those three areas very briefly offered as ideas for you to examine as well.
The work of Alice Miller offers much to help us understand our focusing on others to the detriment of focusing on self. Working to connect with our true self vs. our false self, Alice Miller’s material informs us how in early childhood, some part(s) of us were split-off from our true self. Our feelings and needs were not attuned to and responded to by our primary caretaker. We were not mirrored or echoed. Instead, we learned to attune to the feelings and needs of our primary caretaker who was likely not doing this to us intentionally. Their needs for our mirroring of them were at an unconscious level.
As a result of these experiences, we developed a strong capacity to attune to the feelings and needs of others and to respond to those feelings and needs.
Sound familiar? What a great description of one of the core dynamics of codependency.
My plan for future blogs is to share three more areas of childhood and family-of-origin influences with you and then to offer a list of helpful ideas for recovery which come naturally from our understanding of our “Deeper Roots.”

Buy the Book! My Life as a Border Collie - Freedom from Codependency

This blog post was written by Nancy L. Johnston, author of the book, My Life as a Border Collie – Freedom from Codependency.