Codependency Defined

For the following few weeks, we are going to concentrate on a very prevalent epidemic, codependency.

codependency1In a codependent relationship, you allow someone else to take the place that God alone should have in your heart…You allow another person to be your “god.” If you have a misplaced dependency, you will have neither peace with God nor the peace of God. But if you put the Lord first, living each day dependent on Him, you will have God’s peace, even when others are not peaceful toward you. This is one reason God says to us, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

The word “codependency” may be fairly new, but the concept is age-old. We can certainly see how supposedly strong Samson violates his values by giving in to seemingly dependent Delilah. But this compromise of codependency was not his first. During the time of his seven-day wedding feast, Samson gave a riddle as a wager to the Philistines (the godless people of his new wife). His wife cried the entire time, “You hate me! You don’t really love me… You haven’t told me the answer” (Judges 14:16). On the final day of the feast, Samson was worn down and told his wife… Then, in turn, she told the Philistines. As a result, violence and bloodshed ran rampant … only because strong Samson didn’t act with the strength of his convictions. Instead, he became weak-willed, following the persistent pleading of his weak wife. Samson needed to …

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10)

Definition of Codependency:

  • A codependent person is anyone who is dependent on another person to the point of being controlled or manipulated by that person.
  • The word codependent was first used in the 1970s to describe a family member living with an alcoholic. The prefix co- means “with” or “one associated with the action of another.”
  • Codependency became the word that describes the dysfunctional behaviour of family members seeking to adapt to the destructive behaviour of the alcoholic.
  • Codependency is a relationship addiction. Just as the alcoholic is dependent on alcohol, the codependent is dependent on being needed by the alcoholic … or on being needed by someone who is dependent.
  • The “enabler” is a codependent person who enables the alcoholic (or other dependent person) to continue with the addiction without drawing and maintaining boundaries.
  • Codependency involves being too dependent on someone or something that cannot meet your needs.
  • Codependency can be compared to the sin of depending on false gods that are powerless to help or depending on a broken water well that won’t hold water. It simply won’t work!

Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

You are an enabler when:

  • You perpetuate another’s destructive behaviour by protecting that person from painful consequences that could actually serve as a motivation for change.
  • The enabling parent allows the teenager’s drug habit to continue with no repercussions, even to the detriment of other family members.
  • The enabling wife calls her husband’s boss to say that he has the flu when in fact he has a hangover.

Ask yourself: How many lies have I told to protect the reputation of the one with the destructive habit? The Bible has strong words to say about those who protect the guilty. Proverbs 24:24 “Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent’—peoples will curse him and nations denounce him.”