It is hard for Adult Children to ask for professional help and therapy, even though this is the very thing that will help to free them from the “prison” of the past before they pass on their problems to the next generation. It is important to start to be aware of these potential traits so that one can start to “observe” themselves. The more one becomes aware of what they are doing, the better the chance that one can start to change, adjust, and “file down” some of these extreme ways of doing things.

If you want to change, you have to commit yourself to a personal changing plan. If you find things that get in your way (“blocks”), you have to do anything to understand why the blocks keep happening. However, you must look inside of yourself, not others, to find the answer. The following “laws of change” are designed to help you slowly grow out of codependent thinking patterns. They will allow you to enjoy life and “start living in the real world.”

Personal Responsibility

Stop looking to others for help, blaming them for problems, and look to yourself to personally “make it happen.” Ask, “What am I going to do about it?” Maturity is “Staying Power” even in the face of problems and having to do things that you don’t want to do. It’s important to stop looking at what other people need to do. You can only do this by letting go of blame and focusing on yourself.


The search for meaning is not to “find the answer.” It is living life again, now, day-by-day, struggling with the disappointments and problems of growth. Follow your passions in life and know that it takes time and planning. Life may have changed it’s course for your, but it is still a journey that you need to be excited to exploring.

The search for meaning is not an end in itself but a “way to start living again.” We struggle to survive so that we may continue to the search. In that way the search transforms living into something more than an exercise in endurance, or a “waiting game” for the “right solutions, answer, feeling, identity, direction, etc.”


You must establish a “balance” between personal and professional relationships. You must nurture both in appropriate balanced ways. You have to make yourself physically, psychologically, emotionally, and productively attractive to others or they will not want to be around you. If you complain too much, others will lose faith in you. You must become kinder, let go of your anger, your need to control, and to “look good and right.”

Remember, everybody loves a winner and everybody avoids a loser. This means learning to delay gratification and wanting things your way instantly. Other people owe you nothing. Your behaviors will determine what you get from others.


You need to examine your beliefs to determine if you have “twisted” thinking so that you can correct it. Remember: “I do not see the world the way it is, I see the world the way I am.” Attitude is everything. Remember that when you are so emotional and intense in your feelings and beliefs, you are just “pushing your beliefs and ways” on others. You are not listening to, and understanding, others.

Having Goals

Success and satisfaction in your life equals your ability to set and achieve goals. You have to be specific. Develop a five year plan and work your plan. Set dates for achievement. Write out your plan and review it on a regular basis. Share it with others who can help to share your excitement and desire to grow and achieve.

Giving and Receiving

You must plant before you can harvest in many different areas of your life. You will not receive until you have put yourself into your life project and “worked it.” However, you have to first get your own life in order and focused before you can really help others or you are just keeping yourself scattered and getting off track from the real goal. You identity is not based on how much you can do for others. It is showing through your life how you have gotten yourself together. It is a quiet giving and receiving with a focus on the goal of growth.


All plans take time, much more than we ever expect. There will be many ups and downs as you “play your plan.” You have to have persistence and patience. Nothing ever works out when we want it to. Don’t quit, ever! Persistence is more important than your talents or opportunities.

Letting Go of the Past

Let go of old hurts, losses, problems, unresolved issues, obsessions, etc., so you can focus on today and “living life” in the Present Moment. These may be real but they can become excuses for getting stuck and blocked from moving your life forward.

Nobody Will Save You

Others have to let go of being codependent in helping you, making it easy, or feeling sorry for you. You have to struggle, suffer, and handle it yourself. No one promised you a rose garden! You won’t grow unless you work your plan, not rushing it. You have to change you. Waiting to change until you are sure others have changed first, dooms you to failure. Honor yourself and avoid failure statements of “yes, but.”

Respecting Others

The ability to accept diversity of opinion and feelings. Understand how your behaviors affects others. Know that there is more than one correct answer. Allow others to find their own solutions, learn from errors, and develop their own path and solutions. You do not have to control, direct and tell them what you know is right for their life.

Taking Responsibility

The ability to accept responsibility for one’s own actions and deeds, without blame, defensiveness, defending one’s own position, or finding fault with others.

Being Resourceful

The ability to develop skills to meet needs in life. Knowing when to ask for help; knowing when to offer help. Knowing when to reach out to others for help, and that not keeping secrets is critical to growth and change.

If You Don’t Say What Your Needs Are, You Become Invisible!

Many of us often wonder why our needs are never considered or why they are taken for granted. To fix this, we beg, plead, and try to do more, only to find that the more we do, the less we are noticed. Spouses, partners, and parents alike frequently struggle with this issue. The key to solving this puzzle is to learn a few simple concepts that can dramatically shift the balance of power…

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Enabling Others: Encouraging Dysfunctional Behaviors

We usually “mean well” and want to be “helpful.” In fact, in many ways this helps us to work and solve problems together. However, there are times that the ways in which we help other people may actually cause more problems that we solve. This can happen even if we do it out of genuine love and concern. Understanding this concept is critical to our ability to develop healthy lives, friendships and families.…

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What does Codependency Really Mean?

Individuals that relate to the patterns of Adult Children tend to struggle with codependence.  Codependency is best understood as a relationship where you do all the work, suffer all the consequences, the other person does not grow or change, others don’t even notice all you do, or appreciate it, and you end up worn out, exhausted, and blamed. Codependent relating is one where there is too much caring and helping. This is a…

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Wait, I’m not Crazy?! Adults Who Grew Up in Dysfunctional Families

If you grew up in an unhealthy or dysfunctional family, it has drastically and permanently altered the course of your life. It is absolutely vital to understand how, specifically, this affects you so that you can stand a chance to change patterns of unhealthy choices and behaviors that plague you and your adult life. The bottom line is that it’s important to realize that you are not crazy. Rather, you grew up in…

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Why Do People Who Come From Dysfunctional Families Have More Interpersonal Problems?

Have you ever felt that… …other people don’t understand you?…other people “have it out” for you?…you have to “protect yourself” from others?…others are just not as accepting of you?…you have to defend yourself from other people? The answers to these and many other questions are critical to your having a long-term happy life.  Understanding a few issues might be of some help. The challenge for you will be to read this material and learn ways…

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How Dysfunctional Families Cause “Thinking Errors”

Dysfunctional families promote very specific “thinking errors” that cause others difficulty in adapting to change and finding new ideas and directions. These errors in thinking cause a number of problems. Denial: Prevents us from dealing with what is going in any situation. “We just have a little problem; nothing major to worry about. It’s not that bad!” This stops the discussion. Confusion: Prevents us from taking responsibility. We spend an inordinate amount of…

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