Reflecting Co-dependency

Are you codependent on someone or something? There is a high majority of people who have experienced co-dependency through someone or something in their lives. The cycle of codependency is the co-dependent person feels impaired and/or helpless in the relationship while viewing themselves as victims.

Co-dependency often affects relationships, family members, friendships, and/or co-workers of a person afflicted with dependence on someone or something in an unhealthy manner. In the past, a co-dependent person was described as possessing biological dependency, forbearance on others, or being in a relationship with addicted people. People who struggle with co-dependency are alleged to have been raised amidst dysfunctional family dynamics.

Scripture teaches about co-dependency in Galatians 1:10 (ESV), “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

It was easy to persuade men while stationary with the task to induce God. The easy route became attractive for personal or professional gain. However, Scripture does not negate the original concept of co-dependence (interdependency) of being equally responsible to others while sharing a common set of principles. For example, in the case of relationships, the 7 Army Values teach selfless service which is seen to work as a team to accomplish the mission. This was echoed in the “Golden Rule” of doing unto others as you want them to do unto you. Lastly, couples (husbands and wives), according to Scripture indicate that both spouses are equally yoked and must depend on each other to complete or endure all things.

Although interdependency was established for productivity, it was distorted and used to support addictions, abusive people, and/or being emotionally affected by relationships suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness. These compulsive behaviors cause a person to possess poor self-esteem; when this occurs, the person begins to pursue anyone or thing outside of themselvesto clinch on to feel better. Some of these compulsive behaviors are workaholics, gambling, and/or undiscriminating activities. Those who serve as benefactors to individuals with compulsive behaviors try to rescue them from experiencing difficulty.

Repeated rescue attempts become a problem for benefactors as they believe they are rescuing the needy individual; however, they are enabling destructive development by allowing the needy person to become more unhealthily co-dependent. It is important to recognize when the caretaking becomes compulsive, and seek aid from either Chaplains, Behavioral Health (BH) therapists, or Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC). Some of the signs of co-dependent people are:

  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • Extreme need for approval and recognition
  • The compelling need to control others
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decisions

Treatment. The first stage in changing unhealthy compulsive behavior is to understand it. It is important to educate people about the cycle of co-dependency and how it extends into their relationships. Treating co-dependency often involves the assessment of early childhood issues of disparaging patterns. This means co-dependent individuals must rediscover themselves, identify self-sabotage behavior patterns, get in touch with feelings that have been buried during childhood, and be optimistic in the process of rebuilding relationship dynamics. On a healthy level, this will support and allow needy people to independently mitigate their feelings of insecurities that lead to co-dependency.

If you need to talk about problems out of your control, please seek out your chaplain or call 760.380.3562 and schedule an appointment. It is important to note that you are not alone, I encourage NTC/FT Irwin community to work successfully through the problems and enjoy a rich and fulfilling life. Blessings to our Soldiers, DA employees, and their Families.

Pro Deo Et Patria

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