Post by Susan Peabody on Feb 23, 2014 16:37:04 GMT -8
The Codependency Movement
by: Susan Peabody
While it has been mentioned in the literature for hundreds of years, love addiction did not come to the attention of the self-help community until the late seventies when such professionals as Virginia Satir, Claudia Black, and John Bradshaw introduced the concept of a “dysfunctional family unit.” Before this we only studied what they called the “identified patient.” Every one else in the family was left alone to suffer.
One of the first “identified patients” was the alcoholic, and soon after the self-help community began studying and treating family units, we began hearing of the “co-alcoholic.” This opened the door to other “co’s” including the codependent.
As an author, I entered the game in 1985 when I, along with Anne Schaef, got tired of the term codependent. It was too limited because codependents, in the media, were always women and always attached to an addict.
It was soon after this that Anne’s book, Escape from Intimacy, came on the market. I quickly jumped on her band wagon and began calling the codependent a “love addict.” The love addict could be male or female and single as well as married. We had come full circle and the “co” had now become the “identified patient.”
So now, firmly believing that codependents were both men and women, and not always attached to someone in a unhealthy relationship, I wrote my first book, Addiction to Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships (1989).
Moving right along . . . it was Pia Mellody who brought our attention to the next evolution of love addiction—love avoidance. At first, it was just an issue that only came up in recovery. In my book I called it the “underlying fear of intimacy.” But it was not long before my students began exhibiting both love addiction and love avoidance tendencies throughout the history of all their relationships. This got my attention.
To understand this new phenomenon more fully, I decided to isolate it as a separate disorder that I could study and expound on. Like any good self-help writer, I began by giving this new order a name. It was sort of like a baptism. I chose the term “ambivalent love addict” because it sounded self-explanatory.
This all happened in 2004, and since then I have continued to research this latest incarnation of the original “co.” And, since writers take ideas and turn them into articles and then books, I have also written about this in my new book, Recovery Workbook for Love Addicts and Love Avoidants: An Introduction to the Ambivalent Love Addict. Finally, I teach about the ALA and the codependency movement at Five Sisters Ranch. Join us to learn more.