How Co-Dependent Marriage Impacts Children

Written By Dr. Nima

On April 8, 2024
(4 min read)
In the book “Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene,
he summarizes in a beautiful way the focus of my life’s work:
Think back to your younger self-- growing up as a child (if you can remember it):
In the first 3 or 4 years our brains are especially malleable.
We experience emotions much more intensely,
creating memory traces that are much deeper than anything that will follow.
In this period of life we are at our most susceptible to the influence of others,
and the stamp which is left in these formative years is PROFOUND.
Bowlby in the 80’s studied infants and their mothers patterns of attachment,
and came up with 4 basic Patterns:
1) Secure (Free/Autonomous)
2) Dismissing (Avoidant)
3) Enmeshed (Axious/ambivalent)
4) Disorganized
The secure/free/autonomous pattern comes from mothers who give their children
freedom to discover themselves, and are continually sensitive to their needs,
but also protect them.
Dismissing mothers are often distant— even hostile sometimes and often rejecting.
Such children are stamped with the feeling of abandonment and the
experience that they will always have to fend for themselves.
(Think if you can relate to this in your childhood).
The enmeshed/ambivalent/anxious mothers are not consistent with their attention:
Sometimes suffocating and over-involved, and other times retreating because
they are swarmed with their own anxieties and problems. They can make their
children feel like they have to take care of the
people who really should be taking care of them.
(Think back on your childhood if you can relate to this pattern and the impact it
has had on you).
Disorganized mothers send highly conflicting signals to their children,
reflecting their own inner chaos and early traumatic events.
Nothing their children do is right, and such children often develop powerful
emotional problems.
There are variations in these patterns, but the quality of our attachments to our caregivers
will create deep tendencies within us and will set up the blueprint for not only how
our relationships will pan out— but also will impact our children as well.
In particular— the way we (and thus our children) will use relationships in order to handle
and modulate stress.
Children of the DISMISSING parent will tend to avoid any situation that will bring big emotions
that are negative, and to wall themselves off from feelings of dependency:
Their battle cry: “I don’t NEED anyone!”
They will become Avoidant, and have problems committing to relationships
and will unconsciously push people away.
Children of enmeshed parents will experience a great deal of anxiety within relationships,
and will constantly feel a conflicting mess of emotions. These kids become “ambivalent”
towards people where they will pursue people and then unconsciously retreat.
In general from our early years we will display a particular tone to their character:
Hostile and aggressive,
secure and confident,
anxious and avoidant,
needy and enmeshing…
After helping folks with insecure attachments heal these wounds
and set the groundwork for secure love…
I realized something:
Most of the Cyclebreakers in our community are also parents
realizing they have unwittingly co-created insecure patterns with their children.
They’re seeing their kids get into relationships with their own co-dependency issues.
That got me thinking...
My kid is growing up and it’s really important for me to ensure he doesn’t get into Trauma Bonds.
That means how I support him emotionally right now
and how my relationship with both him and his mother play out
will be THE FACTOR in how he relates to his emotions, his behavior when he’s dysregulated,
and how confident he feels with others.
So far, it seems that the training I’ve received and am passing on to the participants in my community
is creating some magical outcomes:
He’s open, playful, and fearless when it comes to showing up in new situations.
ZERO ANXIETY when it came to his first day of preschool.
This is not a brag.
It’s what happens when a kid is raised with parents that are Trauma informed,
and willing to “do the work."
The most common comment we get about Dominic is “he’s so friendly and talkative.”
He’s connected to empathy,
He is connected to his curiosity.
He is connected to his needs.
He’s connected to his own self worth.
And believe it or not,
he’s beginning to understand the importance of asking for his needs to be met responsibly.
It seems that my journey to healing from my own co-dependency unknowingly created
a skill within me I never thought I would be good at:
Parenting, and creating a home that feels like a sanctuary where everyone feels seen and heard.
A child not feeling seen and heard is the root cause of why we become anxious and codependent in the first place.
And by taking on the work to heal insecure attachment wounds,
our children benefit from the overflow—  impact their relationship with THEMSELVES.
The greatest gift we can give our children is a parent that loves themselves.
Without this, we spill our anxieties onto them, taking on a life of self doubt and self blame (just like we did),
looking for solace in Codependent partnerships.
When we get this right, we break the cycle, and create a possibility where our children grow up to be
self loving, resourceful, resilient, boundaried,
UNWILLING to tolerate being treated like shit because they love themselves.
This is why I do what I do.
This is why I left Chiropractic to teach what I’m teaching.
It’s personal for me to be your co-pilot to helping break these challenging cycles.
With the right guidance and community,
even in this environment that looks pretty scary for kids,
we can help raise children who trust themselves, are secure,
confident and know their self worth.
I salute parents who take on the work of healing through their trauma, anxiety and reactivity,
so their children don’t have to.
Your wingman on the adventure,
P.S. If you are a parent wanting to up your game, and master the skills
to help your child with their anxious and problematic behavior,
and learn how to create a home that feels like a sanctuary,
you’re invited to join me in an upcoming event:
“Connecting to the anxious child:
Support your kid’s emotional healthy by becoming a “Polyvagal Parent”.
On Friday May 19th from 4-7pm PST (7-10EST) — which is 10am on Saturday the 20th
in Sydney, you’ll learn somatic skills that help you self regulate and self-repair
first— so that you can help coach your child create safety within themselves,
gain confidence and expand their self worth so they don’t grow up to be
fawners constantly worried about what people think of them.
How you approach them — with a trauma informed lens— makes a
HUGE difference.
For only $30 you can learn the exact skills needed to make sure
your child doesn’t develop in an environment where they’re impacted
by Codependency and Insecurity. As a "Polyvagal parent”,
you’ll leave with a complete shift in the context of your relationship with your children.
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