If co-dependency is one of the coping strategies we learned as children, we must begin to change this as soon as we become conscious that we are being undermined by this harmful pattern. If we do not challenge it as adults, our co-dependency will keep us stuck on the level of needs for love, acceptance and belongingness, and it will undermine our sense of security in the world. In other words, we will likely find ourselves somewhat dependent and insecure in our relationships, and this leads to the use of food as a coping strategy when our needs for security, acceptance, esteem and self-actualization are unmet.
As children, the sense of feeling secure in our world, particularly in our home environment, is fundamental to our being able to focus on our relationship needs, and subsequently, our esteem needs. If we feel safe and secure, and we know that we are loved and accepted just as we are, we will be free to focus on developing an authentic relationship with ourselves. Coming to a clear understanding of who we are and what we require to feel strong and peaceful in our environment is our primary goal as children, yet it is surprising how few children actually reach adulthood with a strong sense of self-esteem.