<<an addiction>>

This occurs when two or more people rely on and foster each other’s weaknesses with the result they are all worse off and suffer from a lack of self-esteem. This happens because their own personal identity is crowded out by another’s identity and problems, resulting in a dysfunctional relationship, characterized by manipulation or excessive, unnatural caretaking, a desire to control or be controlled. The constant craving for acceptance, negatively affects their relationship and quality of life. Often there is an alcohol or drug problem underlying such a destructive and abusive relationship. Boundaries (which provide security) need to be established and maintained to curb any such detrimental behaviour.

Codependency is a mixed-up motivation to help. That doesn’t mean we ignore legitimate circumstances of children or those who are sick, elderly, or disabled. Instead, it means we seek the Lord’s wisdom about our motives and whether our friend or loved one has a true need.

An undesirable co-dependent association is in contrast to beneficial interdependency where two or more people stimulate growth, drawing from each other’s strengths and enabling each to become better and stronger. A healthy marriage is a good example of how, as each spouse fulfills their role the other benefits, with both experiencing freedom

Regularly review your relationships for signs of unhealthy dependency

and growth (Eph 5:22-33). The church is also designed to operate interdependently as “Each one uses whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:14-31; 1 Pet 4:10). As believers, we are dependent on other believers to enable us to become mature in Christ; hence, in humility we are to “Spur one another on to love and good deeds…” (Eph 4:11-16; Phil 2:3,4; Heb 10:24,25).

See also: boundaries, control, dependence, dysfunctional, independence, relationships.