Asbury United Methodist Church
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Definition & Traits ::
"In its broadest sense, codependency can be defined as an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control or lack of it is central to every aspect of life.
The codependent may be addicted to another person. In this interpersonal codependency, the codependent has become so elaborately enmeshed in the other person that the sense of self - personal identity - is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person's identity and problems.
Additionally, codependents can be like vacuum cleaners gone wild, drawing to themselves not just another person, but also chemicals (alcohol or drugs, primarily) or things - money, food, sexuality, work. They struggle relentlessly to fill the great emotional vacuum within themselves. " pg.11,12
1. The codependent is driven by one or more compulsions.
2. The codependent is bound and often tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family of origin.
3. The codependent's self-esteem (and, frequently, maturity) is very low.
4. A codependent is certain his or her happiness hinges on others.
5. Conversely, a codependent feels inordinately responsible for others.
6. The codependent's relationship with a spouse or Significant Other Person (SOP) is marred by a damaging, unstable lack of balance between dependence and independence.
7. The codependent is a master of denial and repression.
8. The codependent worries about things he or she can't change and may well try to change them.
9. A codependent's life is punctuated by extremes.
10. A codependent is constantly looking for the something that is missing or lacking in life. pg.28
1. My good feelings about who I am stem from being loved by you.
2. My good feelings about who I am stem from receiving approval from you.
3. Your struggle affects my serenity. My mental attention focuses on solving your problems or relieving your pain.
4. My mental attention is focused on pleasing you.
5. My mental attention is focused on protecting you.
6. My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems.
7. My self-esteem is bolstered by relieving your pain.
8. My own hobbies and interests are put aside. My time is spent sharing your interests and hobbies.
9. Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me.
10. Your behavior is dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me.
11. I am not aware of how I feel. I am aware of how you feel.
12. I am not aware of what I want - I ask what you want. I am not aware - I assume.
13. The dreams I have for my future are linked to you.
14. My fear of rejection determines what I say or do.
15. My fear of your anger determines what I say or do.
16. I use giving as a way of feeling safe in our relationship.
17. My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you.
18. I put my values aside in order to connect with you.
19. I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own.
20. The quality of my life is in direct relation to the quality of yours.
Codependency and Christian Teachings ::
On the surface, codependency messages sound like Christian teaching.
"Codependents always put others first before taking care of themselves." (Aren't Christians to put others first?)
"Codependents give themselves away." (Shouldn't Christians do the same?)
"Codependents martyr themselves." (Christianity honors its martyrs.)
Those statements have a familiar ring, don't they? Then how can we distinguish between codependency, which is unhealthy to codependents and their dependents, and mature faith, which is healthy.
Jesus taught the value of the individual. He said we are to love others equal to ourselves, not more than. A love of self forms the basis for loving others. The differences between a life of service and codependency take several forms.
Motivation differs. Does the individual give his service and himself out of free choice or because he considers himself of no value? Does he seek to "please people"? Does he act out of guilt and fear? Does he act out of a need to be needed (which means he actually uses the other person to meet his own needs; the helpee becomes an object to help the helper achieve his own goals).
Service is to be an active choice. The person acts; codependents react. Codependents behavior is addictive rather than balanced. Additions control the person instead of the person being in charge of their own life.
Codependents have poor sense of boundaries; they help others inappropriately (when it creates dependency on the part of the other person rather than moving that person toward independence). They have trouble setting limits for themselves and allow others to invade their boundaries.
A codependent's sense of self-worth is tied up in helping others; Christianity says that a person has worth simply because he is a human being God created. Ones self-worth is separate from the work one does or the service one renders.
Codependents have difficulty living balanced lives; they do for others at the neglect of their own well-being and health; Christian faith calls for balanced living and taking care of oneself.
Codependent helping is joyless; Christian service brings joy.
Codependent are driven by their inner compulsions; Christians are God-directed and can be free from compulsiveness, knowing that God brings the ultimate results.
Codependent Qualities ::
Qualities of a "Good Codependent"
Compliance Patterns ::
Adapted from 'Families under the Influence' by Michael Elkin.
God says the experiences I've faced, and my past behavior do not mark me for the rest of my life. God has said to me, 'No longer will your identity be in codependency or divorcee, but you are the daughter of God; beautifully and wonderfully created in my image. I live in you, we share the same breath'. God has proven to me that He never waste a hurt. He has compassion for us, especially those who are hurting. He wants me to encourage others by telling my story. It is an honor to be a messenger for Him. I thank God for awaking my feelings and allowing me to feel a part of humanity. For the first time in my life, I can walk in a room where I know no one, yet I feel like I know everyone. I never knew this life existed before.
-- A CR Participant
God longs to redeem the hurt, mistakes and sins of our lives through the provision of His Son. Jesus Christ provides a way up and out, to our Heavenly Father, no matter how long or how deep our struggle. There is a catch, though. Jesus can't help us if we won't acknowledge our problems and are unwilling to humble ourselves enough to allow Him to lift us up. This is where a fellowship of believers like Celebrate Recovery comes into really get to the root of what holds us back in our growth in Christ, gain a Biblical perspective on our problems as well as deep connection to others for our walk, and truly surrender to the One who has the power to help us recover and grow. God worked a miracle in my life through Celebrate Recovery. Certainly I still have struggles, but over the last year, God has used my Step-Study, both the men in it with me and the deep reflection on His Word I found there, to reveal many things about myself and about Him. As a result, I have in some very important ways been born again and now have new hope, peace and understanding of many things that eluded me before. It is my fervent hope and prayer that if you are struggling with issues or problems that cause you to feel separated from God, feel hopelessness or despair, or limit your relationships with loved ones, you would join me at C.R. I hope to see you there.
-- A Man in CR
Before Celebrate Recovery, I felt stuck. Yet, I denied that I had issues that were keeping me stuck and frustrated and beaten down. Through Celebrate Recovery, God is helping me find freedom by giving Him my hurt, shame and depression. Not only has my journey in CR given me hope, but it has also given me a support group and accountability partners to walk with me. Real people with real issues helping me figure out how to give God the things that I cannot control and to deal with the things I can, in a healthy way. And more than anything else, Celebrate Recovery is leading me to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with my Higher Power, Jesus Christ. And, although I continue to work on my growth, praise God, I no longer feel stuck! I invite and encourage you to join us at Celebrate Recovery. Come and experience God like never before and find freedom in your life with Christ!
--A Woman in CR