34 CodependencyPosted: September 16, 2012
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
Relationships open the door to our healing. However, relationships can be mired in codependency. Codependency and perfectionism share many characteristics. Both are addictions to control. Both are reactions to shame and self-hatred. Both promise to provide us with good feelings and a sense of self-worth. Both involve wearing a mask, a false self which covers over our true self. Both are diseases of the heart and mind.
Codependency and perfectionism have some differences. People who practice codependent behavior are preoccupied with relationships while those who struggle with perfectionism focus on doing the “right” behaviors. In perfectionism one drives at winning love and approval through adhering to the right rules, while codependency seeks to win love through others’ approval.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23
Obviously, our relational difficulties exist before we become aware of them. As we learn to trust and share more of ourselves with others, we find areas of codependency. They will become more pronounced as we spend more time with and energy in relating to others.
How do you know if you have codependency? Do you have feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy or, on the other hand, have feelings of superiority and arrogance? Do you leave interactions with others finding most of your own needs and wants unmet? Do you overreact to circumstances in your life? Do you sometimes wonder who you are in connection to others in your life? Answering yes to any of these questions indicates at least some level of codependency.
Recovering from codependency, like recovering from perfectionism, takes time. No panacea can instantly heal us. God could heal us in a moment, but He is a Gentleman. He does not violate our will; He gives us the freedom to make choices, even bad ones. Part of the true recovery involves talking with God and hearing His Word. What is He saying to us?
At times our codependency can flare up and result in extreme care-taking behavior. We ignore our own needs/wants in order to take care of someone else. The funny thing is we want others to be more in need than us because of self-idealism, competition and pride. If others are “less-than”, we are “better-than”. When we own our needs and ask for help, we heal from our codependent behaviors. We need to humble ourselves and ask for help which, in turn, helps us to let go of pride and self-idealism.
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