Codependency: unhealthy love and a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life.
God has me on a crazy journey, and one of the more recent “pit stops” He has brought me to is learning that I am, by nature, an extremely codependent person. I’d heard the word before, but I thought it had something to do with being overly dependent on something (probably drugs). It’s true, codependency does have to do with a certain kind of dependence. The way I’ve come to describe it is that I’m addicted, or dependent, on people. Let me expand on that.
I feel the need to always be taking care of someone. I get an adrenaline rush and a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped someone. I feed off of other people’s adoration or praise towards me that results from my actions. I also invest a LOT into people, often feeling that their actions and emotions are my responsibility. My world is so focussed on THEM that I have a hard time understanding what I am thinking or feeling, but I’m constantly thinking about how I will be perceived by other people. So what do I do? I act like the perfect friend/daughter/etc. to earn people’s approval. I also find ways to fill people’s needs so that they won’t get rid of me or tire of me. I go above and beyond, always taking that next step, to really surprise people.
It’s an odd train of thought: I fill other people’s needs so that I can be fulfilled. Isn’t that what Christianity teaches though? Kind of. The brochure from Celebrate Recovery, which deals with people’s addictive behaviors (codependency included) explains why codependents are selfish instead of selfless. It has to do with my underlying motivations:
Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control or the lack of it is central to every aspect of life.
PS: the rest of the article is really worth reading
In its root, codependency is relying on my ability to manipulate/control other people’s emotions, feelings, and actions as a way to make myself feel better, instead of finding my worth and value in Christ. I’m called to do something much bigger in life than to run around please other people all the time. I should be looking to my Creator for guidance on a moment-by-moment basis, living my life for Him. There will be many times where He uses me and where He calls me to be selfless, but I’m learning when He is calling versus when my human nature is getting restless. If I wait, He will tell me where to go and what to do. I just need to rest in Him, be still, and know that He is God!
I’ll be open and honest: I’ve started attending Celebrate Recovery at one of our local churches. I’ve been before, but for the first time I’m going for me, not in support of someone else. God is refining me in the fire, and while the going can be rough, I know He’s purifying me. I’m going there to tackle this issue and many others, and I’m sure that the longer I work on myself, the more issues I will find. But I’m ok with that. I am far from perfect, but I really, really, really, really, really (you get the picture) want to be like Christ. And I’ll do whatever I have to do to get closer to that point.
Thanks for walking with me on my journey 🙂
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.