Codependence, as the term is used today, has various meanings. In general, it refers to how some past events starting in our childhood "unknowingly" affect some of our attitudes, behaviors and feelings in the present, often with destructive consequences. We are not usually aware of it when it happens; however, there are signs.

One key sign, perhaps vague, is that our attitudes or behaviors or feelings are somehow out of proportion to what is happening in our lives in the present. We may feel we are "less than," inherently flawed or shameful. We may feel sad or angry or scared or just plain lonely most of the time. We may try to escape with alcohol, drugs, or various other addictive or compulsive behaviors. Even if we succeed in changing these behaviors, we may still feel "not quite right." The good news is that we can learn how to recognize and deal with our unresolved past so it no longer distorts the present. It becomes a life process, rather than a solution, cure or event.