Five decades ago our co-founder, Carol Cannon, developed the definition you see above. The codependency movement was taking shape and focus shifted to understanding the correlation between family, childhood experiences, and adult relationships.
" Five decades ago at The Bridge to Recovery, we created a safe space for people to address their family dys-functioning, their woundedness, and their unresolved pain. It was not the traditional “rehab” and people finally felt like they had a place to go that fit their needs. "
Mainstream media, books, and talk shows began taking notice to the wave of codependency related information. As with every serious and confounding reality, Saturday Night Live even used comedic irony to draw attention to what so many households were experiencing: family dysfunction. But the comedic irony combined with published articles diminished the importance, relevance, and need for the movement, causing it to lose momentum and power.
But during these past decades, The Bridge to Recovery never lost momentum in our mission. The response to our trauma is pain, which, when left unresolved, creates negative thinking, behaving, and feeling. We have continued to help thousands of individuals and tens of thousands of families experience healing, hope, and resulting happiness.
As negative stigma became more attached to the word “codependency,” the less likely people wanted to be associated with it.
Grievous misunderstandings about the term 'codependency' caused it to be mocked and disappear from visibility. The critical importance of its role in individual and family dysfunction, however, did not get lost.
Society began associating being codependent with being weak, frail, and damaged. It was mainly associated with women, and even the mental health industry went away from using the term.
The mental health and addictions industries were actually growing stronger in their belief that unresolved childhood trauma was an acute cause of things like chronic relapse, anxiety & depression, love, sex & intimacy issues, and much more. What the industry defined as trauma was the same as what we had defined codependency all those decades ago..
Same causation (negative childhood experience) + Same Response (Pain) = Same Outcome (negative thinking, behaving, & feeling) Trauma.
There was a word the industry could get behind that did not have the same negative feel to it that codependency had. Suddenly, the word trauma was everywhere. It was a buzzword, and it caught on quickly.
Our message and mission, the one we have stayed steadfastly focused on for five decades has never changed. What we do has never changed. What we will do for decades to come will not change. Whether society prefers the term trauma or codependency, we will continue to help people heal from their woundedness within so that they can experience hope, healing, and happiness.
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The Heart of Phil Leedy Lane
“ Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself. ”
- Jewel, Alumnus