There is a Bible story that (kind of) goes like this …
Lady Codependency was on her way to work one day when a beggar asked her for change.
“Come join me for breakfast,” she said, wanting desperately to please God and to be the Good Samaritan in Luke’s Gospel.
Ten minutes and 20 dollars later, Lady Codependency told the guy that she was not a shareholder of Au Bon Pain, nor a food pantry.
For the next month, the beggar stalked Lady Codependency on her way to work. Prince Not-So-Codependent (Lady Codependency’s husband) finally logged onto MapQuest to find an alternative route for his codependent bride.
A year later, Lady Codependent still hadn’t found a way to be both compassionate and street savvy. Following the suggestion of a friend, she bought a packet of McDonald’s certificates to give to beggars. That would insure that none of her money went to drugs.
But the first bum Lady Codependent handed one to got up from the street corner where he sat and angrily ran after her. “I don’t want your f….. coupon! What’s the matter with you, lady?” he screamed for a few blocks.
A few months after that, Lady Codependency met a bookstore clerk who was short on cash.
“Do you know anyone who needs a mother’s helper?” the clerk, wearing a pink breast cancer awareness pin, asked Lady Codependency, who decided to hire the the young woman for eight hours a week. Which turned out to be a great deal for Lady Codependency: she shelled out five dollars an hour to the clerk in exchange for getting to babysit the clerk’s daughter.
All of that didn’t prevent Lady Codependent on her mission to become the Good Samaritan. She’d go to great lengths to earn her compassion badge so she didn’t end up like the evil Levite, a disgrace of a human being who didn’t assist that man on the road who had been robbed, attacked, and left to die. The horror!
So a few weeks later, Lady Codependency was exiting her favorite coffee shop with a grande cappuccino in her hand, feeling especially guilty for indulging in this pleasure when there are homeless people right in her town.
“Ma’am, Ma’am,” a middle-aged woman said to Lady Codependency. “This is an emergency, Ma’am. I need $2.50. I just had a miscarriage. I need some women’s stuff.”
Now Lady Codependency is really codependent, but she is not a moron. She was 99.9 percent sure the woman was high, really high, on some drugs that Lady Codependency sort of wished she could get her hands on. And she didn’t appreciate the woman using the excuse of a miscarriage to get cash, if she, in fact, hadn’t had one. (The chances of that were great.) This smelled like a scam stronger than Lady Codependency’s cappuccino smelled like heaven. But if, in the .01 percent this woman was telling the truth, Lady Codependency would have spent $2.50 on her coffee but not on a person in need. She thought about Luke’s Gospel, and dang it, she wasn’t going to be that evil Levite. So she handed the woman the money.
The woman immediately ran off to her friends, giggling and laughing.
One week later, some boys rang the doorbell at Lady Codependency’s residence.
“We’re trying to improve our chances of having a life like you do: a house, kids, and so on,” they said to her with droopy eyes like Lady Codependency’s dogs when they were mere puppies. She felt the blood pouring out all over whatever they were going to sell her. She wanted to invite them in, give them her checking book (“Could I just write a check or two from it every month?”), feed them (take them to Au Bon Pain, like the first beggar), order some clothes for them off L.L.Bean.com.
“Could you just please buy a magazine from us?” the guys begged her.
“Of course,” Lady Codependency replied, and ordered a subscription of “Parenting” magazine for the bargain price of $50 (which is $38 more than a regular-priced subscription).
Just then Lady Codependency’s phone rang, and the solicitor for a charity asked Lady Codependency for the “decision maker” in the house. She told him that there weren’t any in her house (phew).
One month later (yesterday, in fact), Lady Codependency was leaving the public library when she noticed that an unkempt, hairy man had followed her out into the parking lot. She was frightened because her car was parked at the farthest part of the lot, and no one was around.
“Ma’am,” the man yelled approaching Lady Codependency. “I need a favor. I’m in a horrible place. I lost all my things. I’ve just called my pastor and he won’t help me out. Ma’am, I don’t know what to do …”
Lady Codependency froze because she was terrified that this man was about to either rob her or rape her. If she went to give him money and looked down to her change purse, he might take that opportunity to grab her and force her into the car.
“Ma’am, I don’t want to trouble you. I saw you working in the library there with your computer ….. Ma’am, do you know where a man can earn and honest 85 cents?”
“You need 85 cents?” Lady Codependency asked with a quivering, nervous voice.
So she dug into her change purse without averting her eyes and practically threw the change at him because she didn’t want him to touch her hand. She was too afraid that he would grab her wrist.
Shaking, Lady Codependency climbed into her chariot, I mean car.
The next day (today), the same woman who asked Lady Codependency for $2.50 because of a miscarriage approached her again.
“Ma’am! I just ran out of gas. Ma’am, this is an emergency! Can you spare me some money?” she asked Lady Codependency.
“You hit me up yesterday,” said Lady Codependency, quite disillusioned from her attempts at compassion and wondering if maybe the Good Samaritan has some codependency issues himself and needs to do some boundary building exercises and go to therapy.