CODEPENDENCY

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SPIRITUAL STRENGTH | LIFE LEADERSHIP | REAL RELATIONSHIPS

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BALANCING AN UNBALANCED RELATIONSHIP

The Need to Be Needed

Examine your patterns of codependent thinking.

Acts 24:16

Codependency is like a relationship addiction. It creates an unhealthy dependence on others and can lead to being controlled or manipulated. In the Women of Faith resources, learn how you can break free from codependency, how to establish healthy relationships, and how only God can satisfy your deepest needs.

You’ve probably heard about getting hooked on drugs or alcohol or being glued to a slot machine from sunup to sundown, but is it possible to actually become addicted . . . to a person? Sadly, the answer is Yes! Codependency is a relationship addiction. Comparable to depending on false gods that are powerless to help, or depending on a broken water well that won’t hold water, it simply won’t work! With the Women of Faith resources, find ways to break the chains of relationship addiction and foster a renewed commitment to keep Christ first in your life.

Do you need people to feel good about yourself?

Do you believe the lie that you need people in your life so you can feel good about yourself? Do you think you need the approval of others to determine your worth or to feel important? Are you expecting people to meet all of your needs?

If you live your life with a misplaced dependency on others, you will miss the extraordinary relationship God has planned for you with Him.  In order to break a pattern of having codependent relationships, you need to be able to break the lies you believe, lies that keep this codependent pattern in place. Replace them with God’s truth so that you can live your life dependent on Him.

“Why are my relationships so chaotic?”“I know I shouldn’t be treated this way, and I’m afraid of being alone.” Are your relationships built on independence and trust, or do they demand dependence for survival? If it’s the latter, you might be in a codependent relationship.

On the job, in the family or among friends … a codependent person has an unhealthy dependence on others.We are not meant to live completely dependent on another person. Codependency happens in relationships when someone is so dependent on another person that they become controlled or manipulated. It’s like a relationship addiction.

Boundaries don’t exist in codependent relationships, and the codependent person often enables destructive behaviors. Codependency can take an emotional toll on people, but there is hope. We want to equip you with helpful information to break free from codependency.

If you live your life with a misplaced dependency on others, you will miss the extraordinary relationship God planned for you to have with Him.

To break a pattern of codependent relationships, you need to recognize the lies you believe that perpetuate the pattern and replace them with God’s truth so you can live your life in dependence on Him.

 

What Is Codependency?

Many people have heard of the word codependent. They aren’t able to define it. What does being codependent really mean?

  • Codependent people are those who are dependent on another person to the point of being controlled or manipulated by that person.
  • Codependency is a relationship addiction. A codependent is anyone who is dependent on trying to help someone to the point of being controlled or manipulated by that person.
  • Codependent “enablers” enable addicts or dysfunctional people in their lives to continue with their addictions without drawing and maintaining boundaries.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” 

(Jeremiah 2:13) 

What Is Dependency?

From conception to death, God created us to be dependent, not on another person or thing but on Him alone.

  • Dependency is a reliance on something or someone else for support or existence.
  • Dependency can be either negative or positive, such as being dependent on cocaine versus being dependent on Christ.
  • Dependencycan be an addiction to any object, behavior, or person that represents an underlying attempt to get emotional needs met.

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” 

(Proverbs 14:12)

 

God Wants You to Depend on Him

  • To totally relyon Him, not on people or things or self-effort. (Psalm 73:26)
  • To believe that He will meet all of your needs. You can safely reveal your hurts, your fears, and your needs to God.  (Isaiah 58:11)
  • To trustin Him to take care of your loved ones. (Psalm 62:8)
  • To rely on Christ, whose life in you will enable you to overcome any destructive dependency. (1 John 4:4) 

 

Common Codependent Relationships 

In the examples below, the first person is dependent on the second person and the second person is actually the codependent one in the relationship ... needing to be needed.

  • A wife is excessively helpless around her husband ... and the husband needs his wife to stay helpless.
  • A husband is excessively needy in how he relates to his wife ... and the wife needs him to stay needy.
  • A student is excessively tied to a teacher ... and the teacher needs the student to stay tied to him/her.
  • A child is excessively pampered by the parent ... and the parent needs the child to stay in need of pampering.
  • An employee is excessively entangled with an employer ... and the employer needs the employee to stay entangled.
  • A friend is excessively fixated on another friend ... and that person needs the friend to stay fixated.
  • A counselee is excessively clinging to a counselor ... and the counselor needs the counselee to continue clinging.
  • A disciple is excessively dependent on a discipler ... and the discipler needs the disciple to stay dependent.
  • A spiritual seeker is excessively leaning on a spiritual leader ... and the leader needs the seeker to continue leaning.

When we have a misplaced dependency, we have a misplaced trust. We are excessively trusting in the relationship to provide more than God intended. The Psalms describe a misplaced trust...

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lordour God.”

(Psalm 20:7

 

The Codependent Relationship Profile

Both...

  • Are in denialHave difficulty establishinghealthy, intimate relationships.
  • Have difficulty settingboundariesHave one other addictionother than the relationship.
  • Have a false sense of security.
  • Become jealous and possessive.
  • Control and manipulate.
  • Struggle with low self-worth.
  • Violate their consciences.
  • Experience extreme ups and downs.
  • Fear abandonment.
  • Feel a loss of personal identity.
  • Feel trapped in the relationship.

“I find more bitter than death the [person] who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains.” 

(Ecclesiastes 7:26)

 Stages of Childhood Development

God bestows on parents the major responsibility of nurturing their children so that they will not be love-starved—an emotional state that sets them up to “look for love in all the wrong places.”

 

The Helpless Stage

Babies need to bond with their parents because they are helpless and totally dependent for all of their basic needs.

 

The Pushing Away Stage

Toddlers need to begin to push away from their parents as a way of exploring their environment and testing boundaries.

 

The Conflict Stage

Young children need to learn proper ways of resolving conflict as they begin to test their parents’ rules.

 

The Independent Stage

Preadolescent children need to grow in independence, but they still need direction and support from their parents.

 

The Sharing Stage

Adolescents need to learn mutual give-and-take and even sacrificial sharing from their parents as they begin to pursue involvement within their own groups. 

hildren who grow up being emotionally needy and who are not allowed to learn the skills necessary for forming healthy, adult relationships never learn healthy independence. They have difficulty speaking the truth, asking for what they want, and setting boundaries. They become codependent adults who are addicted to unhealthy relationships because they never learned to think as healthy adults. ..

 

“Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. ... but in your thinking be adults.” 

(1 Corinthians 14:20)

 

The Road to Freedom

  • Recognize that you are overly dependent on another person, then choose to place your dependency on God. (Mark 12:30)
  • Examine your patterns of codependent thinking. (Acts 24:16)
  • Let go of your “super responsible” mentality. (Exodus 18:17–18)
  • Extend forgiveness to those who have caused you pain. (Colossians 3:13)
  • Appropriate your identity in Christ. (Galatians 2:20)
  • Set healthy boundaries. (Proverbs 27:12)
  • Exchange your emotional focus for a spiritual focus. (Psalm 119:35–37) 

Key Verse to Learn

One of the best Scriptures in the Bible that can be applied to codependency is Galatians 1:10. It redirects our focus from the people around us to God, whose approval and pleasure we must seek foremost.

The apostle Paul is emphatic about our priority relationship and declares his disinterest in pleasing men. Like Paul, we must put “first things first” or else our relationships will never have the peace and fulfillment that God desires for us. ...

 

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

(Galatians 1:10)

 

Key Passage to Read

Galatians 6:1–5  

 

Grace Filled Words

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Isaiah 41:10

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1:10

"Examine your patterns of codependent thinking."

Acts 24:16

 

Additional Scriptures

Deuteronomy 6:5

Mark 12:30

Galatians 6:1–5

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RELATED TOPICS

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Manipulation

Self-Worth

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