The past few weeks we’ve been tackling codependency, especially the destructive impact it has on marriages. Today we conclude the series by comparing the codependent who chooses to ignore her negative patterns, with one who is living in recovery.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have experienced some eye-opening moments… maybe even a few cringe-worthy ones. You might not be ready to examine how co-dependency is eroding your most important relationships. You may just want to close your eyes and slip back into denial of the problem. But don’t, because that’s a destructive path to walk.
Codependents are often angry or depressed because of the weight of unexpressed feelings bottled up inside.
Feelings of anger or resentment build, because codependents:
- Fear confrontation and avoid necessary conversations
- Stockpile their unexpressed feelings or needs.
- Expect others to make them happy.
- Say “yes” to more things than one person can handle.
- Do not express their expectations of others.
- Try to control people and things, with little/no success.
- Don’t set boundaries which could prevent abuse or unwanted behavior.
With all these causes for anger, the codependent will (a) go into denial because they have difficulty identifying what they are really feeling, (b) minimize how they really feel, and/or (c) stockpile resentments and become passive-aggressive (sarcasm, blaming, nagging, silence, or irritability).
When codependents DO express anger it’s likely to be an explosion of pent-up energy or an attack, followed by regret. Not pretty. Never productive. A very bleak future.
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
What’s a wife to do?
Once you recognize even a hint of codependency in your character, you cannot retreat into the bliss of denial again. Ultimately, codependency is hurting your relationship with God.
The good news is that there is an answer, and if you are courageous and follow the steps, you can be living a life that is joyous and free. You recognize that you’re not God and have stopped trying to step into His roles. That’s the first step – literally.
There are resources available to help you better understand and address your codependent patterns (we are a varied bunch!). I referred to several of my favorite books on the topic a couple of weeks ago, but my #1 recommendation for dealing with codependent areas is in fellowship with other Christians who are recovering from their own hurts, hang-ups and habits. Celebrate Recovery is a Christian 12-step program that relies on Jesus Christ as our higher power, and gives Him the glory for our recoveries. CR meetings are held in churches all over the world on different evenings of the week. Every CR has a different flavor, so if you visit one that doesn’t quite fit your personality, try another.
I dare you!
Read Dare to Respect, the novel where a codependent wife faces her own codependency.