What is Codependency?

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What is codependency?

Codependency is a pattern of detrimental, behavioral interactions within a dysfunctional relationship. "A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior" (Beattie, M., Codependent No More).

Sometimes, the codependent is in a familial or other relationship that involves alcohol, substance abuse, physical abuse, pornography, gambling, or other destructive behaviors. The codependent has learned to interact or behave in such ways that they believe will help but never do.

They often feel tremendous guilt, responsibility or need to "fix" by controlling the actions of others, especially the one who owns the original problem. The codependent develops intense feelings and will try anything to make the family or relationship survive.

It's very common to "cover up" the behavior of their loved one; this is called enabling. By enabling, they are allowing the behavior to continue and cause avoidance of natural consequences. Codependents don't want to "rock the boat." They therefore are willing to do most anything just to keep peace. This too is where other family members learn to function in this manner creating the all too common "dysfunctional family."

The codependent will often accept blame for the situation. For instance, in a dysfunctional relationship the codependent will either accept or proclaim that "It's entirely my fault; it's because of something I did wrong."

This fits the source of dysfunction or dependent just fine since the person looks for others to blame for their actions. The dependent is denying, floundering, and usually very capable of using whatever means of escape possible. They are not beyond threats, coercion, or manipulation to avoid taking responsibility.

We don't have to struggle alone. God has not left us alone in our troubles; He wants to come alongside us and within us to help. His Spirit will empower us. The secret to a changed life, our own and our loved ones, is to submit to His control and let Him work.

The only cure is to change the dynamics of the problem - the behaviors and the consequences. One of the slogans used in 12 Step Programs is to "Let Go and Let God." Simply, this means that once we realize we cannot control others, we need to pray and allow God to work on the situation - DO NOT take it out of His hands. Yes, it is difficult to let go of learned bad behaviors. However, in Matthew 19:26 Jesus says that with men things are impossible, "But with God all things are possible."



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