The book was emotinally disturbing. Yesterday was extremely difficult. The feelings hit me hard. I will try to synthesize what I've learned so far. Codependency is based on shame. This is how it works (as I understand it): The individual, as a child, is shamed into believing their feelings and behaviors are wrong. They are taught they cannot trust their own feelings, that the feelings are wrong. The authority figure convinces the child that they know better who the child's identity is than the child. The child accepts the idea that their identity comes from outside of themselves, not inside. They become dependent on their environment, and the people in it, as to how they should feel and be. They try to control their environment in order to control how they feel. An internal battle begins as a split between the true self and the shamed-self.  The child accepts the shamed self as it's identity. The true self will occassionally reach consciousness to let the individual know they are essentially good. The individual, because of the nature of their accepting their shame-self as an identity of the self and it's survival, will not attack it head-on for fear that destroying it will destroy the only identity they know, and will consequently destroy them, and how they survive. A false-self is then created as a fantasy-self. The fantasy-self is often grandiose, perfect; and everything in the fantasy environment is perfect, or needs to be. Reality demonstrates that the fantasy-self is not true. When the fantasy-self and it's world are temporarily destroyed, the identity falls back to the shamed-self. The shamed-self is of low self-esteem, feels worthless, and as a result, feels depressed; based on it's shame. (Not to mention learning that it is ashamed that it is imperfect.) The shame of losing the true self is disturbing enough, the shame of losing the fantasy-self is also shaming.  The identity remains confused and in the shamed identity. The individual moves back and forth between the two: the shamed-self and the fantasy-self; most likely causing a bi-polar mode of living; between the euphoria of perfection and the despair of shame.  Reality is unseen between the two poles. The individual still denies it's true feelings as the true reality. The individual believes they cannot trust themselves, and projects that out so that they are neither trusted, because they change their position so many times in order to control their environment, or they trust no one.  Especially authority figures. Authority figures are seen as abusive, and they are, as long as the individual lets them dictate the individual's feelings. The individual needs to re-live the shaming incidents emotionally, to experience them instead of repressing them, in order to let them go. Shame is causing the stress between the true self and the shamed-self, the stress is causing the addictive behaviors that are used to relieve the stress. The feelings of shame are repressed and yet unconscious. Since they are uncounscious their need to be released and satisfied as un-true cannot be met directly without re-experiencing the same experience and it's feelings. Since they cannot be met directly, according to a theory of behavior, the need will try to be met symbolically. The addictive behavior is the symbolic act of trying to satisfy the uncounscious need. That's all I've got for now.  That's how I connect the principles I've learned to explain how the system works for me. I need to be able to explain the interconnectedness to understand what's causing what. None of the many codependent behaviors are by accident, they each have a purpose. This explains it for me. Feeling the shame fully again is the only way to release it, and all the other taboo feelings that were repressed as a result of having the individual's original and justifeid feelings shamed. By shaming the individual's feelings, their will was crushed. As a result, the individual's true identity was lost.  Whether it was done accidentally, on purpose, or as the result of the authority figure's own dysfunctional problems doesn't matter. My understanding at the moment is that the "Lost Child" can never be resurrected.  That the individual will need to grieve the loss of their identity through the grief process. Once done, the shame about being oneself can be released. The individual can accept their human-ness; they are neither all good or all bad. They are good enough. Their identity is changed from shamed to whole, and they have a right to their feelings and the Five Freedoms (according to Viginia Satir, a noted psychologist): 1) The freedon to see and hear (percieve) what is here and now, rather than what was, will be, or should be. 2) The freedom to think what one thinks, rather than what one should think. 3) The freedom to feel what one feels, rather than what one should feel. 4) The freedom to ask for what one wants instead of waiting for permission. 5) The freedom to take risks on one's own behalf instead of choosing to be secure and always playing it safe. What I need to do now is to accept my real identity, and not let my recovery from shame leap to grandiosity. This I am learning to do.  Despite what my friends may say to help, I'm still the one who has to accept myself as shameless. To do the work of experiencing all those repressed feelings, safely, myself; and let them go. Rich