S09 Ep11: Codependency – Part 2

Codependency is a main issue that keeps relationships from experiencing health. Living codependent keeps us in toxic relationship patterns, while never experience the health and wholeness we were made for.

In this week’s episode, I want to continue providing insight into the deception and stranglehold of codependency. I want to compare codependency with interdependence

  • Codependency vs Interdependence
  • Why do we become vulnerable to codependency?
  • Complex Trauma, Codependency & Narcissism 
  • Christian Confusion and Codependency
  • How to Break Free from Codependency

Video Broadcast:

Show Notes and Outline

Understanding Codependency

Codependency creates an unhealthy orbit around each other with unhealthy bonds and patterns. In its simplified form, codependency is an excessive emotional reliance on another person. It often involves an addiction or addictive relationship pattern. There is usually one who is “needed” and the one who is “needy.” Enabling and forms of control are involved. Included in codependent relationships have a dynamic of being one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. 

Comparison of Codependency and Interdependence

The opposite of codependency is interdependence and here are some the differences. 

Interdependence Codependency
Love is a Powerful Decision: you choose to be with them. You work on yourself and bring that to the relationship.  Love is a “High,” reactionary, compelled, rushed, pressured, driven, intense. You “need” the person to be better for you. 
Identity Preserved: you still have an identity of your own Identity Drowning: identity is lost into the other person
Healthy Reality: personal responsibility for personal growth, growing maturity Unhealthy Illusion: we cannot live without each other, this relationship is my life, immaturity
Consistent: growing stable and grounded Melodramatic: constant ups and downs
Trusting Commitment Possessiveness
Stable Self-Esteem Self-esteem hinges off other person’s swings
Openness to the Future: new and good things that are good and DIFFERENT from the past can and will open up. Familiar Repetition: inward drive to repeat and recreate the dysfunctional – yet comfortable past. Bubble life. 
Willingness to Surrender Need to Control
Trust in God

Trust building Christian Fellowship 

Fear of Abandonment

Why Do We Become Vulnerable to Codependency?

You do not just magically become codependent because a light switch went off in you. There are legitimate factors that influence why you become codependent. 

  1. Your upbringing and home life. (The brokenness of your home and how you responded to it.)
  2. Your relationship with your parents.
  3. Your empty and broken hearts are looking for love, but you lack the references on what true love looks like. 
  4. You became a caretaker early on.
  5. Mis-targeted Love Source: You look for a person to be a core source of fulfilling your need for love, a place only God can fill, but you are blind in how to connect to the true love of God. 
  6. Trauma

Complex Trauma, Codependency & Narcissism

Recommended Resource: Tim Fletcher – YouTube

Codependency often develops from an emotionally abusive environment, with a narcissist being the abusive one, and it develops in an emotionally dishonest environment (the needy ones/enablers never get honest about how things really are).

Recommended Resource: When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse

Common Signs of a Narcissist: 

  1. They live as the center of attention.
  2. They lack empathy and do not show genuine interest in your life. As a result, they turn every conversation back to themselves. 
  3. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance. 
  4. They have an extreme sense of entitlement.
  5. They practice gaslighting: causing you to doubt your reality . . .
  6. They are all about preserving their constructed image.

Three Common Types of Narcissists:

  1. Exhibitionist: always talking about themselves, to the point that it puts everyone else down 
  2. Toxic/Malignant: they are sadistic . . . feel alive when they cause pain to others. (BULLY)
  3. Covert: never put themselves out there, they seem depressed, seem to hate themselves. But they subtly communicate, “Please make everything all about me.” 

Narcissists will train you to become very codependent in life. 

Narcissists often come from MASSIVE neglect in their upbringing…massive. They entered life with their tank beyond empty when it comes to love. Therefore, they become the most dangerous people relationally, stemming back to their lack of love and complex trauma upbringing. 

Note: Many people think that narcissists love themselves too much. That is not the case. In fact, narcissists hate themselves so much, they have to immerse themselves in a world of presenting themselves in a certain way and setting up relationship interactions in a controlling way, so they never have to face the shame of how much they actually dislike and hate themselves. 

Because of their lack of love, narcissism forms. They end up leaving a trail of neglect and twisted interactions. 

The biggest trigger for a narcissist: perceived rejection or messing with their image. 

Codependency Confusion in Christianity:

In Christian circles, when you meet a believer who is codependent, many of the words and manifestations can look like and sound like Christian virtues and values, unless you are discerning:

  • Christians are supposed to put others first. 
  • Christians are to deny themselves. 
  • Christians should give themselves away.
  • Christians should forsake all. 
  • Christians need to be willing to give up their life. 
  • The Christian life is all about serving. 

If Christians consider the life of their own heart, they can often be told: 

  • That is selfish. 
  • Life is not about you. 
  • Life is about others. 

The problem is that these statements can actually reinforce codependency in epic ways. 

“The differences between a life of service and codependency take several forms. Motivation differs. Does the individual give herself and her service freely or because she considers herself to be of no value? Does she seek to “please people?” Does she act out of guilt and fear? Does she act out of a need to be needed?” (From Celebrate Recovery

Jesus on Codependency:

Jesus was, of course, the ultimate example of walking without codependency, yet He was incredibly influential and effective when it came to relationship interactions. 

But He knew how to say no, he lived in continual boundaries and was able to tune into the heart of the Father throughout his day. 

No imagine this: Jesus came to save the world! That is a heavy burden on his shoulders. Imagine having that as your calling and mission! Yet even in that world changing “world on your shoulders” type of calling, He still did not live codependently. 

In fact, He made a lot of people upset. There are many times he went opposite of what people asked Him. And He also spent a lot of time being away from the crowds. 

Even as a young child, he was already starting to develop a sense of growing into a man and coming out from under His father and mother’s covering. “Don’t you know I am about my father’s business?”

Jesus, Codependency and His Mother

Matthew 12:43-50 (NKJV) 

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 

44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 

45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” 

46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 

47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” 

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 

49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 

50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” 

Jesus Words to Break Free from Codependency

Mark 12:30-31 (NKJV) 

30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 

31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

Eli’s Codependency as a Parent

1 Samuel 2:22-36 (NKJV) 

22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 

23 So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. 

24 No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress. 

27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 

29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 

30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 

Christians and Enabling

Quite often, Christians can say they are operating in grace and love, but can also be enabling . . . 

Beware of calling something “love” and “grace” if you have a pattern of people pleasing or false responsibility. 

Defined: reacting to a person in such a way to shield him or her from experiencing the full impact of the harmful consequences of behavior. Enabling behavior differs from helping in that it permits or allows the person to be irresponsible. (From Celebrate Recovery

How to Heal from Codependency: 

  1. Be willing to see it in your life.
  2. Take a shame-free journey of discovering what areas of your childhood influenced these behavior patterns.
  3. Get in touch with the hurt, emptiness and brokenness that fueled codependency, how you see yourself and how you see your world.
  4. Learn what true love is. Especially in the way you have not been shown.
  5. Begin to pay attention to the health of your heart in a healthy and compassionate way.
  6. Ask yourself the question, “What is it that I really want?”
  7. Find consistent, mature help.
  8. Practice new boundaries out of love and respect for yourself.
  9. Let go of the addictive compulsion to control, fix or save anyone.
  10. Get to know who you are apart from being codependent with another person. Get to know who you are apart from the codependent roles you had. 

Recommended Mark DeJesus Resources: 

Other Books: 

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