Exploring the Issue of Co-Dependency
Co-dependency is when a person’s need for approval or validation from another person allows them to be controlled or manipulated, or a person who attempts to manipulate or control someone. They are willing to compromise their own values, choices, and behavior at the expense of their personal well-being.
Characteristics of someone struggling with co-dependency may include, but are not limited to:
- Assuming responsibility for other’s feelings and behaviors.
- Feeling guilty about other’s feelings and behaviors.
- Having difficulty identifying or expressing one’s own feelings.
- Minimizing, altering, or denying how one truly feels.
- Worrying about how others may respond to your feelings, opinions, and behavior.
- Valuing others opinions and feelings more than your own.
- Living with messages of not being good enough, valued, or loved.
- Fear of expressing different opinions or feelings from those of others.
- Fear of being hurt and/or rejected by others.
- Compromising one’s own beliefs, values, and integrity to avoid other’s rejection or anger.
- Over-functioning to be needed, valued, or loved.
- Tolerating mistreatment or abuse from others while justifying their behavior and trying to defend them.
- Overly caring for others at the expense of one’s own self needs; feeling victimized and “used” as a result.
- Anxiety in saying “no” to someone, even when saying “yes” would be at great inconvenience.
- Directly or indirectly attempting to fix, manage, or control another person’s problems to help them avoid feeling bad or experiencing the consequences of their choices.
- Judging everything you think, say, or do harshly, as never being “good enough.” A perfectionist at heart.
- Feels conflicted by a desire to be needed and resentment for feeling obligated in serving others.
- Being extremely loyal, to the point of remaining in harmful situations too long.
- Feels bound in relationships by performance (what I do) rather than core value and worth (who I am).
- Avoids conflict with other people to the point of being unable to speak true feelings or asking for valid needs to be met.
How We Find Recovery
Through a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Higher Power, and by working through the 8 principles and the Christ-centered 12 steps, we can find freedom from our hurts, hang ups and habits.
Characteristics of someone in recovery for codependency may include but are not limited to:
- Accept Jesus Christ as Higher Power.
- Working the 12 step recovery process diligently and consistently.
- Accepting and walking in the biblical truth that our identity and value are who we are in Christ, and not based on how others view us, what we do, or the service we perform.
- Learning to recognize and enforce healthy boundaries that accurately establish where we end and another person begins. Not allowing others to compromise those boundaries.
- Learning how to help others in suitable ways, without rescuing or fixing; allowing them to act independently, allowing them to own the results of their choices and behavior.
- Performing acts of service as a choice, not out of duty or for recognition and value from others. Serving with joy using God-given talents and abilities.
- Learning to live a balanced life where self-care and taking responsibility for our own health and well-being take priority over the addictive behavior and control of others.