Codependent No More?

When I was in my early twenties I worked at the Pasco County Clerk’s Office. Part of my duties as a new case clerk was to assist petitioners in filing for domestic violence restraining orders and simplified divorces. Often a counselor from the domestic violence center for women would bring in the petitioner that I would assist in completing the paperwork for the restraining order. One of the counselors was a Christian and she loaned me one of the shelter’s handbooks and a book called Love is a Choice, a book on codependency. As I read this book, I discovered that there is a lot more to codependency than just being in a relationship with someone who is an alcoholic or an addict. It has a lot to do various types of compulsive/obsessive behaviors, such as workaholism, food addictions, sexual obsessions, the need to control others, approval addictions, etc. It also has a lot to do with dysfunctional relationships in general; roots of rejection, a false or overactive sense of guilt, the obsessive need for approval, being a people pleaser, the need to control others or allowing others to exert an undue amount of control over one’s life.

I started teaching a class based on this book a few months ago. One thing I have learned is that when you teach, you learn and just when you think you’ve conquered something, it may resurface. It has been said that receiving mental and emotional healing is like peeling an onion; it comes off in layers.

Some of the things I have struggled with is approval addiction, the need to try to make others happy or “fix” people, a false sense of guilt and feeling overly responsible for the mental and emotional well-being of others. Although wanting to make others happy is a good trait, when it becomes obsessive, drains us and causes us to become unhappy, it is unhealthy for us. Although I have come a long way in recognizing these things and dealing with them, I recently noticed a reoccurring pattern. Often when I have had opportunities to speak, teach or share a word, I may feel really good about it at the time, sense the presence of the Lord, etc. and then afterwards, I start rehashing what I said and having doubts and fear that I said something wrong or someone took it the wrong way, that I offended or hurt someone, etc.

That happened to me this past weekend. I shared something on Friday night, felt good about it, but by Saturday morning, I started having obsessive thoughts and feelings that maybe I offended someone by something I said. Then I started texting and apologizing and probably made an issue out of something that should not have been an issue. On Sunday morning, we had a good service at church, I sensed the presence of the Lord, but by the afternoon I started having obsessive thoughts again and then started feeling a demonic presence. As I prayed against this demonic attack, I thought “What is at the root of this?” I then realized it was doubt and the fear of rejection and being disapproved of and an overactive sense of responsibility for other people’s feelings and emotional and mental well-being (all things that have to do with codependency). As I realized this and began rebuking the spirit of fear and doubt, the obsessive thoughts and feelings subsided. These were familiar spirits that had plagued me since my childhood and although I had won the victory over them to some degree, I now realized that they had found a new way to attack me in the area of ministry and had been doing it for sometime, but I did not recognize it as codependency. We live and learn and hopefully keep on growing. Now that I know this, I anticipate that I will begin having more victory in this area of my life. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.

The word saved in the Bible means: to be saved, healed, delivered, made whole, total soundness of being. The Lord is interested in healing our whole being. Jesus died not just so we could be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven when we die, but so that we could be made whole in every area of our lives, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Isaiah 53:4-5 says:

4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains (of punishment), yet we (ignorantly) considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement (needful to obtain) peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes (that wounded) Him we are healed and made whole. (The Amplified Bible). God bless you all.

In Christ –Kelly Rowe