Do not miss:
Home » Healing » Trials » 17 Characteristics of a Codependent
17 Characteristics of a Codependent

17 Characteristics of a Codependent

codependentI am a recovering codependent and survivor of a narcissistic abuse. See my story here. I believe this problem is widespread in the homeschool movement. I want to share some of the resources that have really helped me.

Codependents have a tendency to get involved in abusive painful relationships with people who are unreliable and emotionally unavailable.  My situation is described in The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook perfectly:

We became a catalyst to the needs of those around us and in some ways our sense of self was entirely dissolved. Unable to identify this pattern or the reasons behind it, we were caught in a viscous cycle of attempting to help, fix, change, and please others, while at the same time feeling empty, angry, disappointed, and disconnected.

Once you understand the pattern, you can break it; once the light bulb is turned on, it stays on and gets brighter, revealing more and more truth. The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook  is an excellent read, from a Christian worldview,  to help codependents break free from bondage. Excerpts from the book are below.

What is a Codependent?

The definition of codependency is a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism, alcoholism, or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. The codependent in the relationship thinks “If the addict loves me enough they will change.”

Codependency can develop or exist wherever relationships (past or current) are love-deficient. It also occurs when we look for something from the outside to fill the “inner void” on the inside. Since that inner void can only be filled by God, a codependent unknowingly attempts to put a person, situation, or thing in God’s place. Before we get overwhelmed by that definition, recognize that by default all human beings do this. Therefore, it would be technically correct to say that all people are at one point “codependent.”

17 Characteristics of a Codependent

These patterns and characteristics are offered as a tool to aid in self-evaluation.

      1. Believing a relationship with a significant other will fill the ultimate need for love
      2. Depending on relationships with emotionally unavailable people to meet one’s own needs
      3. Bound in relationships by performance (what I do) rather than core value and worth (who I am)
      4. Obsession with other people’s problems and needs
      5. Overly caring for other people to the neglect of self needs. Feeling victimized and “used” as a result
      6. Inability to say “NO”
      7. Tolerating mistreatment or abuse from people while justifying their behavior and trying to defend them
      8. Avoiding conflict with other people to the point of being unable to speak true feelings or ask for valid needs, oftentimes countered by fits of anger or rage
      9. Covering up for irresponsible people in life by lying or “filling in the gaps” to “help” them
      10. Doing for others what they should be doing for themselves
      11. Attempting to protect a person from emotional pain or consequences of unhealthy behaviors, such as using drugs and alcohol. Unaware that doing so creates enablement of the problem rather than solution
      12. Directly or indirectly attempt to fix, manage or control another person’s problems, even if meant in a loving way
      13. Trying to please people in life by going out of the way to be helpful, thoughtful or caring, and then becoming angry or discouraged if the desired response does not help (Motives were to get the person to respond rather than to try to bless them.)
      14. Migrating toward people that need help, yet having a difficult time receiving help from others
      15. Being willing to compromise personal belief systems or morals to please another person or to have emotional needs met
      16. Worrying about other people’s feelings so much that it has a direct effect on one’s own feelings. Being bound to another person’s emotions (happy when they are happy, upset when they are upset)
      17. Losing one’s own interests and identity in close relationships. Believing that the people in one’s life are a direct reflection of self. Fear of being alone or isolating out of fear of close relationships

 The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook

christian_codependenceThe Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook starts you on a journey toward awareness, understanding, application and genuine recovery from the destructive emotions and behaviors of codependence. It also challenges you to engage in new relationship and love styles based on God’s truth and guiding principles. You will:

      •  Understand codependence from a biblical perspective
      •  Learn defining core issues associated with codependent tendencies
      •  Embrace application points to overcome root issues and emotional strongholds
      •  Find genuine freedom in God’s purpose and identity for your life
      •  Apply God’s healing principles in relationship issues

Codependent_2

In The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook  we confronted the distorted patterns of codependence and faced the lies that held us back from seeing God, ourselves and others accurately. This next book will move beyond the lifestyle of codependence and self-sufficiency to embrace God’s plan for love, intimacy and wholeness.

Workbook-2-iconA House that Grace Built

A House that Grace Built Moving Beyond Codependence to Embrace God’s Design for Love, Intimacy and Wholeness is another excellent workbook that leads us beyond codependence to discover a life empowered and led by our Creator.

God gave us all the resources necessary to rebuild and redesign a future that aligns with His established purposes. A House that Grace Built offers the blueprint of how God desires to grow us through His grace, redeem our human relationships and carry out our life calling. This process includes:

      • Learning to embrace healthy coping mechanisms to replace and permanently eliminate the destructive emotions and behaviors of codependence
      • Allowing the process of true change and growth to be developed in and through us in our mind, emotions and decision-making capabilities.
      • Detaching from unhealthy relationship styles while embracing God-given methods of intimacy and love
      • Cleansing and purifying each relationship using the resources of grace and redemption
      • Developing healthy tools of defense based on God’s weapons, not our human methods of self-protection
      • Gaining an unshakable foundation of hope and security in the eternal promises and reality of who God is, and who we are through Him—both now and throughout eternity

codependent on god

codependent  relationship Jer 17.5

 

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

Jeremiah 17:5

 

6 comments

  1. Oh, Robin, our awesome, amazing Abba Father has brought you and your message across my path…and I am so very grateful! Earlier this year, my 20+ year prayer was answered (“God, what’s wrong with me?!”) …I am codependent, married to a narcissist (didn’t even know what that word meant when I first heard it!). Abba has lovingly been working ever since and I’m so grateful for the insight you have presented here – thank you.

  2. abused wife

    God’s timing is always perfect. I am living a lie to protect the perfect image of a Christian family, while enduring abuse. My reason for staying being that he has never hurt the children. In fact he leaves all the discipline to me, so that he is seen as the good guy. I just don’t know how to let go of the dream of a perfect Christian home. Hoping this book will help strengthen me to let go of my pride and move forward in HIS strength. It is a hard pill to swallow.

  3. Dear hurting ladies.
    As a man, husband and father, I concur that Robin has identified a minefield, buried within the church, families and our communities. we have broken this cycle, though its taken more than 20 yrs so far.
    We began innocently, joining a small rural fellowship, homeschooling, becoming back to the lander’s and a home based business. None of it would have been debilitating if the church dynamic hadn’t added fuel to the slowly diminishing fire of being rejected, self rejection and the inevitable rejection of others. We were figuring it all out as our marriage rolled along but the ongoing and increasing dysfunction in the church kept dragging us back to ground zero. My point being, the church is supposed to be the resource we can go to to find normal.
    Id suggest the reason almost no one can go to their church though is because they are dysfunctional too, for many reasons.
    All this to say, have you weighed the collateral damage and embarrassment of going public against the damage of continuing to keep it in the family? Have you considered systematically revealing your dire straights to trusted folks at church,family, or even friends? They may in fact not be able or equipped to deal with such openness, because it seems Christians are the best at forgiving behavior and attitudes that we shouldn’t, instead of confronting them.
    Your kids might thank you someday for your courage, even if it meant turning a silent mess into a public mess. Our 4 kids, after 13 yrs of my wife and I suddenly taking responsibility for our own trajectory, which included walking away (with tears, not anger) from my entire biological family and the church we had helped start and been part of for over 30 yrs. We had to make a statement, because to try to argue with them, or explain it to outsiders would have been to hand the bat to them instead of just get on with the healing.
    Now, after more than a decade, they are near the end of their rope, and getting desperate, even calling and dropping in on us. It’s awkward but we smile, serve, wait, pray and cry, sometimes with them. We forgave long before we left, so we’ve been expecting (love hopes all things) this, and just like us, it’s their kids that are moving the goal posts.
    And our kids… well the two older girls remember the most and have painful, empty spaces in their history and present, but they have both forgiven, and areboth very strong, even if they are a bit long in the tooth. The two younger boys don’t remember anyone, but have grown up hearing tales of pain and distrust spoken openly, in the context of hope, love and forgiveness. As my wife and I have slowly unlearned co-dependence, they have learned trust and caring for others, without losing their own responsibility to themselves and God.
    Maybe consider taking the risky step of losing what you probably cant keep at the expense of not getting what you cant lose, that being the respect, trust and heart strings of your children.
    The church may or may not be there for you, but somebody, somewhere will be, and do you care if its your favorite people?
    I could, like Robin, probably write a book on this, but they’ve been written already. Usually, what is needed is simply to do the hard thing that we might already know.
    blessings
    Greg

  4. I recently read a book that was phenomenal and addressed many aspects of codependency. So, I thought I’d share with you guys. Book is by Diane Jellen and it’s called My Resurrected Heart. More info can be found here: http://dianejellen.com/

  5. If you search with a #, Pinterest will return every pin that has been identified with that phrase.
    Once you create an account start by pinning a few images,
    pictures or graphics from your website. She partners with entreprenuers who are in pursuit
    of financial freedom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>