From Codependent to Interdependent Relationships

Like babies grow people can grow from immature adults to maturity. Built within little, immature children is the ability to grow to maturity. Why should it be any less for immature adults? They too can move from their immaturity and develop mature relationships. The question is “How?”

Once we understand the goal of each developmental stage for reestablishing healthy relationships, we can set out to accomplish those goals. Many have done this by “taking the hand” of the heavenly Father and allowing Him to “re-parent” them. You too can do this by having a plan and then working your plan with the caring support of others. It is an important journey with gratifying rewards. This is the journey God intended for you to take from the beginning. Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

  • Make it your goal to develop an intimate relationship with God and to form interdependent relationships with significant people in your life: Commit to becoming actively involved in a group Bible study, reading God’s Word on a daily basis and memorising Scripture. Commit to finding an accountability group and a Christian “relationship mentor” who will be available to you, spend time with you on a regular basis, be honest with you, and coach you in your relationships. Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together … but let us encourage one another.”
  • Make a plan to move toward maturity in your relationships: Ask God to help you discern where you are stuck in the relationship developmental stages. Ask your mentor or another wise person to help you identity your relationship needs. Ask your accountability group to hold you accountable to set up proper goals to meet each of your relationship needs. James 1:4 “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
  • Make your relationship with your parents complete: Choose to resolve any unhealthy patterns with your parents. Break any unhealthy bond and, if possible, establish mature, adult bonds with each parent. Choose to not be emotionally enmeshed, needy, or controlled by your parents. If necessary, separate yourself emotionally until you can respond in a healthy way with “no strings attached.” Choose to identify and process your “family of origin” problems, forgive your offenders, and grieve your losses. Say, “That was then; this is now – my past is not my destiny.” Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
  • Make a vow to be a person of integrity in thought, word, and deed: Learn to free yourself of any family secrets – refuse to carry them any longer. Learn to listen, to say no, to set boundaries, to give and receive, and to ask for what you need from people.… Then practice, practice, practice these new, healthy patterns. Learn to feel your feelings, to express hurt, and to withdraw and think about what you need to do or say. Write out your action plan; rehearse it; then do it. 1 Peter 1:13–15 “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”
  • Make a new job description: My job is to discern the character of a person and to respond accordingly with maturity. My job is to be a safe person for my friends and family and to be present and attentive in my relationships.        My job is to take care of myself and to be responsible for myself without hurting, punishing, attacking, getting even, or lying to myself or to others. Job 27:6 “I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.”
  • Make a new commitment to yourself: I will let go of the “old,” self-centered me because I am growing into a “new,” Christ-centred me. I will exchange the lies I have believed about myself for God’s truth about me according to His Word. I will no longer betray myself by making immature choices, and I will redeem my past, bad choices by making good, mature choices. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
  • Make maturity, not emotional relationships, your highest goal: Focus on forming friendships in which you are free to learn, grow, and mature, not emotional attachments that lead to roller-coaster relationships. Focus on any potential relationships that might trigger your codependent tendencies and guard your heart from the emotional highs and lows. Focus on building relationships with trustworthy, mature Christians whose goal is Christlikeness. During a severe time of trial, David’s dear friend, Jonathan …“… helped him find strength in God” (1 Samuel 23:16)