Healing from Codependency

Codependency is not an unchangeable personality flaw or some genetic fluke. Any of us can move from codependency to a healthy, mutual give-and-take in our relationships. Following yesterday’s steps to healing, here are a few more steps to put into practice to heal from codependency:

  • Confront Your Current Codependent Relationship: Acknowledge your codependent role in the relationship and cease relating through codependent patterns. Acknowledge your destructive behaviours. (Write them down). Then replace them with constructive behaviours. (Write them down). Acknowledge the natural pain of emotional withdrawal (common to the healing of addictions) and focus on God’s supernatural purpose (conforming you to the character of Christ). Romans 8:29 “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”
  • Confront Your Codependent Focus: Stop focusing on what the other person is doing and start focusing on what you need to do to become emotionally healthy. Stop focusing on the other person’s problems and start focusing on solving your own problems (those resulting from your neglect of people and projects in your life). Stop focusing on trying to change the other person and start focusing on changing yourself. Proverbs 14:8 “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”
  • Confront Your Codependent Conflicts: Do not allow yourself to become trapped in heated arguments or to become emotionally hooked by the bad behaviour of the other person. Instead, say to yourself several times, I will not argue – and then disengage from the conflict. Decide ahead of time that, when agitation begins, you will distance yourself. Do not defend yourself when you are unjustly blamed.… Instead, say only once, “I’m sorry you feel that way…that doesn’t reflect my heart.” Do not be afraid to leave if the conflict continues. State, “I will be gone for a while.” Then calmly walk away. 2 Timothy 2:23 “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
  • Confront Your Codependent Responses: Remind yourself that “problem people” have the right to choose wrong. Don’t react to their problem behaviour – they are independent of you. Remind yourself not to return insult for insult – refuse to raise your voice. Remind yourself that your Christ-like role is to respond with respect – even when others are disrespectful. 1 Peter 3:9, 15–16 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.… But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
  • Confront What You Need to Leave in Order to Receive: Leave your childhood and your dependent thinking (I can’t live without you). Then enter into healthy adulthood (I want you in my life, but if something were to happen, I could still live without you). That is reality. Leave your immature need to be dependent on someone else and embrace your mature need to be dependent on the Lord, who will make you whole within yourself. Leave your fantasy relationships (thinking, You are my “all-in-all”) and instead nurture several balanced relationships of healthy give-and-take. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
  • Confront Your Need to Build Mature Non-codependent Relationships: Establish several interdependent relationships – not just one exclusive relationship. You need mature relationships in which your codependency issues can be resolved and your needs can be met in healthy ways. Establish emotionally balanced relationships without being needy of the extreme highs and lows of codependent relationships.   Establish personal boundaries in all of your relationships, saying no when you need to say no and holding to your no. Hebrews 6:1 “Let us … go on to maturity.”