“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Are you co-dependent?

What is codependency? It’s a term that was coined in the 80’s and is still popular today. Hemfelt, Mirnirth and Meier (1998) define codependency "as an addiction to people, behaviors, or things. Codependency is the fallacy of trying to control interior feelings by controlling people, things, and events on the outside. To the codependent, control or lack of it is central to every aspect of life. The codependent may be addicted to another person. In this interpersonal codependency, the codependent has become so elaborately enmeshed in the other person that the sense of self - personal identity - is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person’s identity and problems" (p. 11). I have had several clients come in and readily admit, “I’m co-dependent.” In the Counseling Women class I’m currently taking, one of lectures was on codependency. Here’s some of the characteristics of codependency shared in the lecture. A codependent person usually-

· Lacks objectivity, that is the person is unable to see reality clearly
· Views life in black and white; it is either good or bad
· Feels responsible for other people’s happiness
· Easily controlled by the desires of others
· Is a master manipulator in order to maintain control
· Has layers of defense mechanisms to block pain
· Makes excuses for the offender and may often blame his or herself

In working with the self-professed co-dependents (and those who don't realize it), I recommend the book, Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. In their book, they address the need to define who we are and who we are not. It is a great book for those who are co-dependent. It is likely because of past pain and hurt the person has never learned to delineate healthy boundaries. The co-dependent person is likely unwilling to say no and accommodates others needs before his or her own. With good personal boundaries, a person is free to see reality, take ownership and responsibility of oneself, and not manipulate.

Sound like something you’d like to work on? You can pick up the book on Amazon.com for under $5 used. Click here to buy the book on Amazon

You may also be interested reading the book, Love Is a Choice: Click here to buy the book on Amazon

Hemfelt, R., Mirnirth, F., and Meier, P. 1998. Love is a choice. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers

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