Boundaries and Codependency

Boundaries and codependency - Can I say no?

Can we set boundaries and learn to say no when we are codependent? Absolutely! In fact, we must if we are to have any hope of unhealthy relationships changing for the better.

When we are codependent, allowing someone else's actions or behaviors to determine our own, we can become trapped in the same kind of controlling and manipulating ways they use. This kind of relationship swirls in a vicious cycle of twisted practices. Within a family, the children and other loved ones also learn to function in this manner. These behaviors are thought necessary for survival. This prohibits any change and restoration toward a healthy family life.

Change toward a healthy family goal must begin with the codependent's change in self. Our ultimate dependency belongs only on God alone. A positive goal is not to be dependent on any others in an unhealthy way. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 says "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

We must be responsible for our own actions and decisions in all areas of life. We can hardly be effective if we do not have respect. By submitting to the Lord, we are entrusting Him with our lives. Our Father can deliver us from an unhealthy codependency just as He can deliver an alcoholic or substance abuser from their addictions. To seek His guidance and ways, we are defining the boundaries for our lives. We cannot do it alone because our fleshly nature is weak and too often operates out of emotion rather than wisdom.

The Serenity Prayer, so often used in 12 Step Programs, contains some very significant lines. "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." We cannot change others. It sometimes takes a great deal of courage to change what we can (usually within ourselves). Change is possible with God's help; if we ask He will give us the wisdom. "So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly" (Ecclesiastes 7:25, KJV).

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