Life is hard and, at times, unbearable. Codependency creates problems that make life hard. Due to the broken foundation from your childhood codependency formed in you. You need some tactics to rebuild your broken foundation to heal the codependency that rules your life.
Not sure you need to continue reading? Take this short quiz first. Then return here to finish learning the tactics to rebuild your broken foundation.
Codependency in relationships is the opposite of dependency on God. It naturally forms from the brokenness of your foundation. You were born with the perfect foundation, but through life experiences, it became cracked and uneven due to adverse treatment you experienced as a child. Then you attempted to build relationships on that faulty foundation. Now, you’re having difficulties making decisions without asking everyone for their advice. You have a hidden fear of failure intertwined into the foundation you tried to build. Your cling to your relationships by doing anything and everything to keep everyone happy.
I struggled with codependency in life. Joy and peace were absent. I thought my life was never going to change. It was hum-drum, apathetic, and dull. Because I was always afraid of being used up in relationships that I craved the attention from them. I lost my sense of identity.
It wasn’t until I recognized several areas of my life where focused understanding began to make a difference. With an open mind, read through the sections of this blog. Understand your need for God to rebuild your broken foundation through a dependency on Him.
Victim Role in Codependency
I know, you thought I was going to tell you how to change, not explain how you’re acting. Well, the first step toward change is to recognize you need to change. You’ve been so busy acting like a victim you never stopped for one moment to realize how your behavior has affected you, your family, and all your other relationships too.
Here’s a (comical) fictional example:
Ashley lived in the city. She walked to work every day. Two days ago it was raining, and the streets flooded. Unfortunately, that day she had forgotten to wear her rain jacket or bring her umbrella.
As she was standing near the corner of the busy street, waiting for the light to turn, a city bus turned the corner, drove through a huge puddle which then splashed dirty water all over her. Dirty from head to toe, her hair a mess, and her dress soaked through to the skin, she realized she was too far from home to go back to change her clothes before the workday began.
She rationalized with herself, “That stupid bus driver! He did this to me!”
When she arrived at work, her co-workers laughed at her. Then they plugged their noses, disgusted. The smell from the filthy water was horrible. Her boss told her she couldn’t stay at work all dirty and smelly like that because it was upsetting the clients as well. She became angrier at the bus driver, “Look what you have done! Everyone thinks I am stupid! You need to pay for this!” she thought.
While preparing the evening meal her children arrived home. She ran toward them expecting a big hug, but they stopped, repulsed, and questioned, “Ewww, what’s that smell?” Then they ran away from her. She stomped into the kitchen feeling lonely and rejected thinking, “This is not my fault! That stupid bus driver did this to me!”
Finally, her husband arrived home from a long day at work. He found Ashley laying on the bed angry and feeling sorry for herself.
He asked, “Why are you laying there in all that filth, smelling up the bed? Get up and finish dinner – I’m starving,” and then walked out of the room.
She yelled back, “This is so unfair! Why are you persecuting me? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t splash this dirty water on myself! So, I shouldn’t be the one to have to wash it off!” Ashley was left alone, victimized by her co-workers, boss, kids, husband, and the world.
The next day, at the same corner, she thinks about who is to blame for it all. And one day that stupid bus driver will have to come and take responsibility for his actions. She’s just going to wait, dirty from head-to-toe until he does.
Ashley took a minor event and turned it into a primary source of persistent pain for herself because she felt like a victim. She refused to “clean yourself off.” You’re sitting there reading this thinking of someone right now who hurt you. They should pay! It’s not your fault; they did this to you, they should make it right. Although it’s true in some ways, you have turned your victim-status into the foundation you are trying to rebuild.
Sometimes things happen in your life that are much bigger than getting splashed which makes it hard for you to stop blaming. Do you think it was easy for me to stop blaming the people in my life who sexually abused me? No, it wasn’t. But, it was a choice I made with God’s help. I took control of my life by recognizing that the people who hurt me weren’t going to be the ones who would help me recover. It was time for me to stop blaming others for the lack of love I had in my life and ask God to “clean me up.” God helped me let go of the pain from the abuse. The victim chain was broken and replaced with forgiveness. Forgiveness is a tremendous tool used to free you from your pain, and blame game. Forgiveness frees you from re-victimizing yourself.
Awaken to your victim role. Awaken to those to whom you are pointing who you believe have harmed you. Write down their names, pray for help from God, and then forgive them – whether they deserve it or not! Remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you the strength you need. (Philippians 4:13)
Control Freak in Codependency
It’s exhausting to try to control the world around you. The expectations you carry never get met. The people in relationship with you are always disappointing you. Soon, because you cannot control them, you become the victim again.
Are you tired of that? I know I was tired of the constant breaking of my heart because people wouldn’t listen to me or do what I told them to do. My world was full of drama!
It’s time to surrender your drama to the care of God. How do you do that? It’s not simple, but because of the strong desire you have to control your environment, you must submit the drama every day. It’s not always a “once-n-done” sort of thing. I didn’t know how to do that, so I began by asking Holy Spirit to help me submit. I would say, “Holy Spirit help me to offer my attempts to control [insert name here].” After a few days, I began to feel complete freedom from trying to run the lives of people around me. But, after I stopped for a few days, I could feel the control freak in me begin to rise. I had to ask for help every day.
You can do it, too. Remember, you are not responsible for the actions of people in your life. You are only accountable to God for your actions. Don’t try to be responsible for your wayward son by trying to control him. It’s not going to work. Ask for help from the only one who can help you submit – Holy Spirit.
The movie The Soloist is a great example of taking the focus off oneself. Let me give you some background:
A newspaper columnist and homeless man come together in a most unusual way. The reporter was a newspaper columnist looking for something original and exciting about which to write. He found that “something original” when he saw a homeless man beautifully playing a battered stringed instrument along 3rd Street in downtown L.A. The homeless man had lived there for years, but on that day the columnist noticed him because he was experiencing hardship and doubt related to his life as well.
This is not fiction. The homeless man, Nathaniel Ayers, may have been a brilliant, educated musician, but he suffered from bouts of schizophrenia that manifested at any time. The reporter accepted his problem because it added more intrigue to his columns. Then he accepted it on a personal level. Their friendship ultimately became real and meaningful.
You gain a sense that the reporter needed the friendship even more than the homeless man did, which is exactly the point I’m trying to make here. Often it is our reaching out to help someone in our despair that not only helps them but helps us all the more.
When I started helping people and mentoring women one-on-one, I found my troubles minimized as God worked through me to walk with them on their journey. My journey already helped give them hope for their future. We helped each other in unexpected ways.
To aid in rebuilding your foundation you need to take the focus off yourself.
Heart of Thanksgiving
Thanking God means not cursing God either when things don’t go your way. Often it is easier for you to ask God why something bad happened instead of thanking Him for each blessing.
The story of Job in the Old Testament speaks loud and clear about how we are to thank God for everything. His wife and friends all wanted him to curse God and die because Job was losing everything – from his kids to his possessions, and nearly his life. But do you know what Job said? He said, “I know my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” (Job 19:25) He refused to curse God.
If I hadn’t gone through the garbage of my life – and a lot of it by my hand – I couldn’t testify to the faithfulness of God! And, trust me, I love testifying to His love and faithfulness. If you want to read some of the ravages of my life, check out my testimony here.
Having a heart of thankfulness replaces negativity, and it also helps with the last tactic “re-focus” as you replace yourself with God on the throne of your heart.
You’re at the end of this blog, and you’re wondering, “Am I suffering from codependency?” It is my hope that you will take this Codependency Self-Test which should help you gain a deeper understanding of codependency and how it applies or doesn’t apply, to a broken foundation and lack of dependency on God.
It’s a complicated process to find freedom from the grip of codependency. However, several good Christian 12-step groups can walk with you on this journey. Get the help you need to rebuild your broken foundation.