Anonymous asked a question:
How do you fix or work against codependency?
Hey dear friend, I wrestle with the very same thing, and I wish I had an easy answer for you. There are so many different reasons for codependency, and extracting ourselves is a messy process that requires a tough self-examination, sometimes daily. One of my reasons is that I constantly need approval to be certain of my self-worth. I’m hugely insecure for long stretches of time, so I tend to surround myself by people who are overly gushy or positive. When I hear criticism, it totally crushes me.
Other reasons might be that we affix value on ourselves by the number of relationships we have, or we need company to avoid facing our own inner-demons, or we need romantic love to fill the gap of love we never got as children.
There’s no easy fix, but here are two things to consider.
The first is that we do need friendships. It’s not wrong to have deep fulfilling company. If we constantly second-guess ourselves about having friends, we’ll end up even more neurotic. So yes, we can enjoy our rooms full of people and laughter and memories, and we can feel the sting of nostalgia and loneliness, because it’s part of being human.
The second thing (which has helped me) is to have a detached self-awareness about my own rhythms. Which means, whenever I feel a “pull” towards another person, I suddenly exit out of my body and recognize what’s happening. Preparation is half the battle. I can tell myself, “I’m on to you, buddy. I know what you’re trying to do.” So I still feel those codependent feelings, but I don’t have to make decisions from them. They don’t control me because they’re not me. I can feel insecure but choose to do the right thing, all at the same time. It’s tough, but each time, it gets easier, and my codependency begins to subside into celebrating others.
Just so you know, God wired us each a specific way. I think God designed you to have a heart for people because you’re more empathetic to their needs; you care about how people are feeling in the room; you want what’s best for everyone. The way to flip your codependency is to turn these feelings into a healthy output, so that you’re now using your old codependency as a weapon to love others and to serve them, not as a symbiotic squeezing, but really truly giving your heart regardless of what you get back — like Jesus did.
The main thing is that we can love others without needing them. We can love people without pulling our identity from them. That means loving them more and needing them less. So it’s okay to feel how you feel. But those feelings are just what happens to you; you don’t have to go along for the ride every time. This won’t go perfectly, but that’s okay too. Praying for you today, dear friend.