Since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, there has been a tendency for every person to fall prey to codependence. A more Biblical understanding of this is that codependence is a type of fleshly living better understood as relational idolatry. In essence, relational idolatry believes that a person can meet needs for you that only God can satisfy. These include love, acceptance, worth, and security. We help people in our counseling examine how three fleshly characteristics of codependence may be a part of their ways of attempting to meet these needs. They are the flesh patterns of Caretaking, Persecuting, and/or Victim.
CARETAKING is the belief that you are responsible to make certain a particular person is happy. This may include trying to fix their emotions, taking on their responsibilities, anticipating their needs, then trying to meet them, attempting to fix the person’s problems, excusing their bad behavior, and blaming yourself for the other person’s negative behavior. You may often feel worried, panicked, unworthy, guilty, and burned out. If this describes any of your relationships, the first step in your freedom is to recognize this flesh pattern. Christ died for you, so you are greatly loved and have great worth to Him. Your freedom is in believing this and learning to let the other person take responsibility for the things they are responsible for. (1 John 4:18)
PERSECUTING is the belief that you must punish a person who is not responding the way you want them to so you can feel loved and have worth. Why? This is in hopes that they will change so you will feel better about yourself. This may manifest itself with anger, yelling, intimidation, threats, silent treatment, guilt manipulation, and at its worst, violence. (If someone is treating you with violence, please call the Domestic Violence Support Hotline at 800-799-7233.) If this describes how you treat someone, drop your pride and admit it to yourself and God. Then, realize the person you are persecuting is not your source of love and value. Christ in you is your only Source. (2 Peter 1:2-3)
VICTIM is the belief that you are a victim in the relationship because the other person will not meet your God-given need for love and value. You hope that the other person will feel sorry for you and do what you want them to do to meet those needs. The tendency may be to withdraw, feel sorry for yourself, get depressed, play helpless, cry a lot, and complain to others. You may also feel trapped, helpless, hopeless, unappreciated, and unlovable. If this describes any of your relationships, the first thing to do is to admit your flesh pattern of acting like a victim. Then, remember and tell your heavenly Father that you are not a victim but are an overcomer in Christ. (Romans 8:27) (This category is not minimizing that some people are truly victims of abuse. That is a different matter.)
In these three fleshly patterns, be confident that your need for love, acceptance, worth, and security is met in Christ Who lives in you. Otherwise, your relationships are dysfunctional in a fleshly way instead of functional in God’s way. You may also need counseling to help you break free from any or all of these. If so, please call or text us at 704-522-9026 for a consultation. This is an issue we help people with often.
Live Free in Christ!
Mark Maulding, President and Founder
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