The Counterfeit Love of Codependency
"A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again."1
Codependency comes in many forms. One aspect is doing for others what they should and need to do for themselves. It may make the other person feel good for the moment, and us important, but it keeps them over-dependent on us. This kind of a relationship is extremely unhealthy.
Another aspect of codependency is rescuing people from the logical consequences of their negative behavior. This, too, keeps them immature and over-dependent on us. Furthermore, as long as we're covering for them, why do they need to take care of themselves, resolve their problems and recover? They don't. As Solomon indicated, if we keep rescuing someone from their problems, we'll have to keep doing it.
For every alcoholic (or other addict), who is already over-dependent on his alcohol, they say there are four codependent enablers supporting him and his addiction. As long as they keep doing this, he never sees his need to get better.
If he refuses to acknowledge his problem, get into a recovery program, and resolve his problem, there comes a time when those who are enabling him need to say enough is enough! They need to exercise tough love, quit protecting him or her, get out of the way and let him crash! This is the most loving thing they can do after they have tried every other avenue of tough love and found that none of it has worked.
The bottom line of codependency is that need is mistaken for love. The codependent needs to feel needed in order to feel loved. But it's not love. It's need. It may look like love and it may look very Christian, but it's neither. Furthermore, the codependent person wants to fix others to avoid facing his own issues. He is addicted to the addict and is doing what he is doing for himself. Always! His motive is awry.
Besides, when we allow people to stay over-dependent on us, they never learn to become self-reliant, mature, or dependent on God.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to know what my motives are when I am helping others and not be a people-fixer in order to avoid facing my own unresolved issues, nor to confuse need with love. Help me to accept full responsibility for my issues and quit trying to rescue others who need to face their issues. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 19:19 (NIV).