When talking about Codependency, We often hear it coupled with the personality trait of narcissism. I graduated college with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. So, this toxic type of relationship is not foreign to me. Though I studied this type of personality trait in school, I have also been the actual co-dependent. I briefly shared in my last blog that I grew up in an abusive household. My abuser was a narcissist and I learned to be codependent. My survival depended on it. As I grew up, I continued in the ways I was raised and found myself in codependent friendships. Yes, I even had a codependent friendship with my roommate in college, where I was studying psychology. I look back now and find humor in the irony.
Well, what is codependency you might ask? If we take a closer look at the word, we find a clue. Codependency at its most basic definition is a person's dependency on someone else. This usually takes the form emotionally. I cannot say that my friends were narcissists like my abuser was, but there are certain personality traits that work well together. Two needy people are usually the ones found in this type of relationship. In their own ways, they are both (‘co’) getting something out of the deal.
What Does it Look Like?
To be codependent is to have the desperate need of another. There is such a dependency that a person cannot imagine life without the other. There is a strong attachment, like and invisible chain tying the two people to each other. At a certain point, the codependent loses their identity. They become whatever the other person would have them to be...or what the co-dependent person ‘imagines’ the other would have them to be. The other person takes on a role that determines the codependent's worth. The codependent desperately wants the approval of the other. They only see themselves worthy if the other person believes they are.
As Christians, those who are bound to Christ, you can see how dangerous and sinful this type of relationship is. This can happen in every type of relationship; with parents, spouses, friends, etc.
The issue is that we are chained to a person and not God. If we get our worth from another human, then where does God fit into the picture? He doesn’t! Also in codependent relationships, we take a kind of ownership of a person. This is “MY Friend.” So essentially, a person becomes our god. It becomes idolatry. And if we were to take a step back and look at it like we do when we think about the Israelites, with the golden calf, we see just how ridiculous it sounds to put so much trust and praise on something that was created. A human being.
What to Do?
We see the issue. But what is the answer? The answer is always the same in our walk with the Lord. It is to run to Christ! We are to repentant of the sin and cling to Christ again. When we do, we find that He really is all we need! He satisfies our every desire.
It is Not So Easy
Now, that is the kind of answer that we can leave off on and call it good, but that would not be very helpful. When we repent of our sins, we are turning away from it and turning towards God. Breaking a relationship that can be described as I said above, like an invisible chain, doesn’t come without pain. I mean REAL pain!
What is required is separation, even if just for a season. What you will find, just as I have, is that there is a massive emptiness without that relationship. Again, this can be with any type of relationship. The great thing though is that if we stick it out and stay at the feet of Jesus, If we tell Him all of the hurting and the sorrow and the emptiness we feel, He will prove Himself to be All-Sufficient. He will show you the truth of how He sees you and will bring you closer to Himself. It is better than any type of codependent relationship!
He will show you that you are chosen.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16.
He will comfort you.
Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:15-16.
When you feel rejected and lost, He will draw you in.
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 1 Peter 2:4
He will show you His love, a love that drove Him to the cross willingly, suffering so that He could have you as His bride. He will show you the promises He has made to His children. Promises like Him never forsaking you.
However, all of this should be in the time where there is a distance from the other person. It is when you find yourself lonely that it's quiet enough for you to actually hear God’s voice. Take a time of distant silence. After the pain, you will experience the sweetness of Christ’s love.
The Body of Christ
God has given us the Body of Christ. A blessing and a needed grace! It is through the Body that we serve and love God, and where we grow closer to Him. However, we must remember we are all members, and we all have one Head! He should be our only God and Ruler. God shows approval of deep friendships in the Bible. We see the relationship between Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathathan.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women. 2 Samuel 1:26
Friendships are gifts; they just make poor gods. God made us, and only our Maker can truly bring about a deep satisfaction to our soul. Human love is wonderful, but it is frail. We should all find God to be our All in All. One of my favorite Authors is C.S. Lewis. He has a way of saying truths clearly, but also in a way that touches the heart. I will end with a quote from Him on this subject of human love.
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of His.”
As always, If you have helpful comments to add, please share below.
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