A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect him or her and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior. Melody Beattie
Meditation: When we come from addicted, controlling or abusive family backgrounds, we very likely develop codependent behavior or traits. In systems where emotional freedom and respect for boundaries of the individual is not an option, everything that happens to one person, will happen to all persons in the same system. There is no difference anymore between “We” and “I”. When our sense of identity is defined through addictive, controlling or abusive dynamics, it makes sense that we have not learned to draw healthy boundaries. It makes sense that we do not know how not to allow somebody else’s bad choices to become our nightmare. And on this background it also makes sense that in order to feel some sense of self-agency and power (as real freedom is not possible), we would ultimately try to control that person’s behavior who causes us such nightmares. It is a logical circle, and yet a failing cycle of attempts to gain freedom by controlling others, which is impossible! Our control attempts will have to fail, as we ourselves become the other person’s nightmare, and they are starting to now react against us. What do we do? Are we doomed to repeat this painful codependent cycle forever? Thank God, we can learn to draw healthy boundaries. God can free us from the nightmare caused by choices another person makes. God will empower us to draw boundaries. Yes, we will experience false guilt and shame when we draw boundaries. Yes, we might feel like a failure when we practice freedom and when we stop “caretaking” the person who hurts us. Yes, it will be a sometimes slow and sometimes frustrating recovery from major anxiety and from years of victimization. And sadly, often our family members of origin are the last ones to support us in our recovery, as they themselves are still stuck in the nightmares they cause each other. Our family does not necessarily want for us to become free, as they are not either.
Prayer: God of freedom, we pray that we can enter and remain in recovery from co-dependent behavior patterns. Help us find a community of people who are all healing and recovering from the craziness of abuse, neglect, addiction and oppression. Help us learn more about codependent patterns, so that you can set us free. Give us recovery peers and friends who rejoice in our recovery and who do not burden or sabotage us. You encourage and nurture our ability to set healthy boundaries and you cheer us on as we break the cycle and stop trying to control others. Amen
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1