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Codependency is a mental illness most likely caused by either alcohol abusive parents or unhealthy relationships. This illness causes the person to become solely dependent on others and can grow worse if not treated by a professional or self-help support group.

Someone who is codependent will relate to most if not all of these feelings: (1) feel like a failure (2) cannot make any friends (3) have a lot of friends, but none are real close (4) do not take compliments (5) hard time expressing his feelings (6) afraid of losing his friends (7) all decisions are wrong (8) better to be a giver than a taker (9) must make others happy even if he is not happy (10) feel responsible for solving other people's problems. These are only a few of the many symptoms of a codependent person. It is normal to feel unsure or uncomfortable sometimes, but if this happens all the time, the person needs help (Septien 11).

It is said that people become codependent by living in families with rules that can hurt development in some way or another. Some codependents come from families that have alcohol problems or secrets within the family. If a parent does not allow his child to talk about his problems, express himself, or just play, the child can become codependent. Some parents expect so much of their child that if he does not meet their expectations, the he becomes a failure. These rules do not allow the child to think freely or develop his own self-esteem. No one chooses to be codependent, yet he is born into a family in which codependency is a normal way of life. A healthy family shows love, acceptance, safety, the need to express yourself, guidance, support, encouragement, and privacy. When given this environment, children are able to grow and develop into happy, confident, responsible adults. Unhealthy families are those that do not relate to each other positively. Codependency starts with alcohol abusive parents who pay no attention to their children's growth. They do not allow the children to express how they feel, and the children are constantly cleaning up after and taking care of their parents. As long as they please their parents, the children feel happy. Serious family problems can cause confusion. Everyone has mixed feelings, which causes them to lose confidence in the family or themselves. As fear, guilt, blame, and low self-esteem take hold, codependency begins.
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