Codependence manifests whenever we feel deprived from our basic, God-given need to be loved. Those of us struggling with codependence often attempt to balance unhealthy relationships by compensating and filling in the gaps where people have abandoned their roles and responsibility to us. A young girl may help a parent that is emotionally absent because of his or her addiction, and thus develop the relationship pattern of being overly responsible in all relationships. She can find herself in the role of the rescuer, friend, helper, fixer and lover; but rarely, if ever, receiving the same benefits in return.
When relationships contain abuse, rejection or neglect it affirms a sense of unworthiness in our own heart. It can drive us to be performance-based, perfectionists and people pleasers in all relationships. Until we learn to separate who we are from the toxic relationships we have in our lives, we can recycle the same relationship over and over again.
In the beginning of the quest to understand codependency, most people have a misunderstanding of what that journey involves. Some are terrified of a label. Others think that recovery is some sort of false sense of power where we are entitled to display anger towards those who have harmed us. In truth, this journey isn’t about other people; it’s about what has happened in our heart and how God can give us the resources to be free within. If it required other people change, we’d stay locked into the bondage of that persons’ choices. Instead, God wants to eradicate those chains and teach us who we in Him. This requires a raw, authentic look within, where God will begin to shine light and expose to us our hurt, pain, faulty beliefs, and overwhelming need. He doesn’t do this to harm us, but to create the atmosphere where He can do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
There is no solution to a broken heart other than the love of God. While its tempting to focus on human relationships, we need to understand that a human being wasn’t authorized to satisfy the deeper needs and longing in our heart. At the same time, we are created for relationships – and God has a blueprint to teach us how to leave abusive and unhealthy situations and trade them in for concrete boundaries and empowering redemptive formulas.
To take a class on Christ-centered codependence recovery, visit our main website at ww.spiritofliferecovery.com under “workshops.” You may also sign up for counseling and receive an individualized assessment and treatment plan.