Proclaiming Freedom From Codependency For All

 

You’re my cave to hide in,
    my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
    be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
    I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
    You won’t drop me,
    you’ll never let me down.
Psalm 31:3-5

Lila is a kind woman, quiet and meek. She’s a great listener and most everyone likes her. People at work especially like her because she likes to help out. In fact, she oftentimes busies herself helping others – her mom, friends, sister, neighbors, etc. The reality is that she has a tough time telling people “no”.

Now, on the outside, Lila seems very happy. She’s always wearing a smile.

On the inside, she’s lonely. She’s tired. She’s afraid. She’s bored with life and just doesn’t feel worthy.  Sure, she is a kind person, but she doesn’t really want to do all things she does for other people. She just really enjoys the attention and gratitude that comes from doing so. She loves to feel needed.

Lila is in a relationship with Jim.  She loves Jim, but doesn’t always like the way he treats her.  She takes care of most things around the house and makes the time to cook and care for him best as she can. Jim sometimes lashes out at her in anger. She allows it, figuring that it’s just because of his stress at work. She tried standing up for herself before and that didn’t go over well, so now she just stays quiet. 

Jim isn’t very attentive to her. He’s busy in his own world, working and watching television. Lila is lonely and wishes at times she could leave Jim and find a man who would really care about her. However, she’s petrified of being alone, so she stays in the relationship.

Codependency

Lila is a prime example of someone who struggles with codependency. Today, let’s look a little bit more at codependency in relationships. By now, you’ve probably got a good idea at what codependency characteristics are. You may have flagged a few in the above scenario.  

All of us desire to feel whole. To feel worthy and loved. However, sometimes we can go about searching for those things in unhealthy ways, as in an unhealthy relationship.

See, if you’re a “half person” and you think that partnering with another “half person” will make you whole, you’re mistaken. If you’re looking to find wholeness by attaching to someone else, you’re likely to end up in a codependent relationship, searching for wholeness in all the wrong places.

It’s an “outer-dependence”. It’s you looking “out there” to feel worthy inside, and whether that’s a person, a bottle of booze, a job, money, status, etc., reaching “out there” in an attempt to feel true worthiness just won’t happen.

Insecurity in Relationships

In looking at the example above, Lila is struggling with codependent characteristics. She’s people pleasing, caretaking, putting up with verbal attacks and emotional unavailability from her boyfriend, and more.  She’s running herself ragged and getting a bit resentful because she does so much for others and they do little in return.

She’s insecure at her core. She’s lost sight of who she is in and of herself, as well as her connection with God. 

Until she starts getting honest with herself, and really taking a good look at her patterns, she’ll likely continue on in this unhealthy way of relating.

Overcoming Codependency

As Christians, followers of Jesus, we aim to be like Jesus here on the planet. We aim to love others unconditionally with an agape kind of love. We aim to model the way Jesus helped others, healed others, and offered compassion.

But we must keep in balance. We must observe and monitor for codependency characteristics in the relationships. There’s giving in alignment with God’s will, and then there’s giving out of a need to feel loved or accepted.  There’s caring for someone because that’s the Spirit of God moving through us, and then there’s caring for others because this is the only way we can get our needs met.  Meaning, I’ll over-care for your needs because I can’t identify or give voice to my needs.

Turning to God For Help In Overcoming Codependency

Years ago, when I discovered my struggle with codependency and lack of self-worth, I turned to God for help. I started an inner spiritual journey and really did some digging. I wanted a healthy relationship with God, with myself, and with others. Turns out I didn’t learn how to properly connect with others growing up, so I had a lot of learning and practicing to do.

For me, the closer I am to God, the healthier my relationships are. When I’m looking at God for my worth, I’m looking less to others for worth. When I’m being led more by Spirit over ego or wounds, I’m more apt to remain balanced in my giving and receiving. When I’m more intimately connected to God, I can open up and be more vulnerable in my close relationships, as opposed to not being emotionally available.

Daily Relationship With God

My codependency recovery and happiness level in life begins with God.  Each morning, I turn my will over to God’s will. I take time to be quiet in God’s presence. I listen. I allow God’s Spirit to fill me. I become conscious that this kingdom of God that Jesus talked about? It’s within me.  So, I spend more time going within, rather than reaching “out there”.

Step 3 in Codependents Anonymous says, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

Left to my own will, I usually end up in struggle or suffering.  But when I choose to turn my will over to God’s will, I can experience peace – even when struggles arise. The kind of peace that can only come from Spirit.

This is my prayer for you. Whether you’re in a relationship like Lila, whether you’re single, or whatever you’re particular situation is, I pray that you will choose to turn your will and life over to your Higher Power. I pray you will be given fresh revelation of your path toward a greater consciousness of God as Creator, as Source, as Life Force!

Overcoming codependency characteristics is possible with an open mind, a lot of inner work, practice, a good therapist, and God.

You’re on the codependency recovery path, and I find that beautiful.

Much love. 

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. Proverbs 3