Co- Dependency is something we all experience to some degree yet it can leave us damaged. Let’s go back to the root first and then we can look forward. Man’s first emotion was fear that was expressed after Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So when he lost his connection to God, he then became afraid to trust God in turn seeking other ways to get his needs met. Unfortunately this was Satan’s plan from the beginning all the way down to you and me. Man wants to be the god of his own world. The problem with that is that he needs other people to comply with his expectations in order to be content. Has that ever really worked long term though? See God designed us with purpose and one of those purposes is to depend on Him. He made us that way so as we search to and fro for someone else to meet our latest need, we in time become weary and empty.
Co-dependency is deceitful, manipulative, self-abasing, and guilt producing. It turns genuine love and care to toxic waste because it is shamed based and fear motivated. Shame based because a person starts to feel like something is wrong with them and therefore they need a weaker person to help in order to feel valued or important. Shame based because they need someone else to cover for them while they indulge in their sin. Fear motivated because they are so afraid of being found out that they are not perfect. Fearful because they feel insecure if they are not experiencing love and acceptance. Every inter relational conflict can stem from co-dependency… using someone else to meet my needs. Abraham used Hagar, David used Bathsheba, Joseph used Esau, Laban used Joseph.
Do we all have needs? Of course but when we depend on someone else besides God to meet those needs, real pain begins. Filling yourself up with others instead of God puts us in bondage when we are looking for freedom. Paul tells us, God will supply all of your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus and that he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. God calls us into dependency on Him.
Yes, he wants us to live in community and serve for our enjoyment, support, encouragement, and love but not to give us our reason for living. God does use others in our lives to care for/love us, but He is always the source.
Do we know our source? Ask God for a personal encounter, spend time with Him and see if he doesn’t start to show you who He is and how much He adores you. You are His child.
Some of the characteristics of Codependency are…
Control- problem the most significant. Since another person is their source of happiness they need to make sure they are controlling the other person so that they can ensure their peace/self- worth. Not controlling the other person puts them at risk for pain. However, this attempt replaces intimate, authentic, honest relations and every behavior becomes a means to a self- serving end. This type of living is exhaustive and selfish. Common remarks spoken that indicate this characteristic are
“Is this what you say after all I have done for you?”
“No one has done more for you than I have?”
“Aren’t you going to say you’re welcome?”
A person with low self worth is particularly vulnerable to a co-dependent relationship. They feel they have no value. They will do whatever it takes to feel a small amount of “love”. They become enslaved to a demanding person in order to have some sense of belonging. I struggled deeply with low self esteem. I am finally allowing God in to heal and strengthen me.
A religious/legalistic spirit can also become a co-dependent way to live. Get into an authentic relationship with God and let Him guide you. God is the judge.
Victim mentality is a person who feels like the world owes them something. I use to have this one big time. You think you are helpless or powerless so you push that onto someone else. God is our Father and He holds all the power and has given us a spirit of power. I am not talking about what the world considers power but abilities, mind, body to persevere. He will open the doors if we do our part too. He tells us to get up and walk. He will heal our land and make a way in the wilderness. He is a rewarder of those who love Him.
Hurtful distorted belief system can also create co-dependency. I had this one too. Man is the devil a liar! This drives people into unhealthy relationships. Go to God and His word so you can learn and absorb truth. Start in Proverbs.
It’s important to trust the people we care about into God’s care for He is the only one who knows them thoroughly. He knows what is best for them, knows their future and knows how to draw them to Himself.
How to begin…
I know this seems super overwhelming and nearly impossible after years of this junk weighing us down but I promise God wants you to have freedom in all areas of your life. He understands your humanity, your history.
- Change- start reading scripture everyday even if it’s for 5 minutes. Start. This is where it all begins. Know that your life can change because He holds it all.
- Cast down impure thoughts. Take them captive by asking yourself this one question. Is this thought from God or the enemy? It can only be one or the other. You will continue to hurt yourself and others if you just let whatever thought come and take hold in your mind.
- Start talking to God, tell him everything. Everything that scares you, hurts you.. He is your advocate and very best listener. Do not be afraid to share with Him. He already knows and loves you madly.
- You were born for such a time as this. Get up and run the race set before you. The more you trust God, the more He will do the unimaginable in and through you.
YOU CAN DO IT!