Part of any Twelve-Step program involves agreeing with the statement that one is “powerless” over whatever is the problem at hand, whether alcoholism, codependency, or something else. This presumed powerlessness may be presented within a “disease” framework, such as calling alcoholism an “allergy” or referring to codependency as “Borderline Personality Disorder”.
I objected to this “disease” characterisation because it seemed to “blame the victim”. My parents and spouse abused me, and the results are my fault?!? Sure, I’m damaged, but I’m hardly “diseased”! But I’ve rethought the issue.
Imagine a child who was born perfectly healthy. While he was still just an infant, he was “shaken” to the point of having his retinas detach. It doesn’t matter that the child did nothing wrong; the fact is, he’s blind, and always will be. He will always have “issues”; the effects of the damage will always be present.
And if he tries to live his life without taking that damage into account– well, that’d just be crazy, and his life could easily become unmanageable.
Similarly, my sisters and I never did anything to “deserve” what was done to us. But that doesn’t matter; the fact is, we’re damaged, and always will be. The effects of that damage will always be present.
I need to start taking account of that.