Here we are at week two of my weekly installment of the 12 Steps to Conquering Codependency. I received a lot of positive feedback from my introduction last week of this idea of mine and so I’m hopeful going forward it will touch more readers.
This week we will jump right into step two of the twelve steps:
Step 2 – We increasingly believe that God can restore us to health and sanity through His Son Jesus Christ.
Before we dive in let’s revisit a couple more traits of the codependent personality.
Codependents have three main symptoms that cause us three emotional results:
- Warped Sense of Responsibility
- Lack of Objectivity
- Being controlled/controlling
The result of those symptoms listed above are guilt, loneliness and hurt/anger. This then causes the Codependent Lifestyle. We are afflicting ourselves. The solution is to have God actually operating in our lives and trusting in Him to make the necessary changes in us. Once again…the concept of “Letting Go and Letting God”.
As a codependent, we tend to also make excuses for others. Our defense mechanisms go into full effect and we don’t see the truth. Without seeing the truth, you can’t start the recovery process.
- Codependents will be selective in filtering information – hearing bits and pieces of what they want to hear. They want to believe a promise so badly that it doesn’t matter that the person giving the promise has a poor record of actually keeping them.
- Codependents will defend the offender – always an excuse. Instead of letting ourselves feel honestly hurt or betrayed we protect and defend the offender that has hurt us.
- Codependents will redefine the pain – shifting the source. Instead of dealing with deep hurt head on we may internalize the pain causing psychosomatic illnesses. For example, migraine headaches or other ailments.
- Codependents will use all type of activities to keep busy so they don’t reflect and feel any emotional pain.
- Codependents will exchange emotions – worry equals love. Because a codependent normally doesn’t experience healthy support and genuine love they will substitute one emotion for another.
- Codependents will alter words instead of speaking their true emotion. This is so they don’t hurt the other person’s feelings and possibly lose them from their life. They are not objective with their emotions. They will use words that don’t reflect how they really feel….maybe a description of being FRUSTRATED instead of coming out and saying you’re ANGRY. Yes, I’ve been there before, but I’m learning to speak my mind more clearly. This is very important or you can become a slave to people pleasing and not learning to accept your emotions for what they are and effectively communicate.
What is your concept of God?
Did you know that your parents actually shape your view of who God is? It will alter our perceptions. If our parents were loving and supportive we will probably feel that God is loving is supportive. If your parents were harsh and demanding, we will also view Him in that same distorted manner. This really hit home for me personally! I always felt like God was ready to “catch me” and “punish” me for something I’d done wrong. I’ve had to work hard in reshaping my mind into who He really is.
Here is a really good exercise for you to do if you are unsure. There are a list of words below.
- gentle, harsh, loving, stern, disapproving, kind
- distant, intimate, angry, caring, demanding, supportive
- interested, discipliner, gracious, harsh, wise, impatient
- unpredictable, sensitive, encouraging, passive, strong, wise
- just, unreasonable, good, trustworthy, holy, joyful
Get out a piece of paper. Find one word on each line that describes your concept of your Father. Write it out in a list from top to bottom. You should only have five words to describe your Father. Now do the same with your Mother. Finally, write down the five words that are your concept of GOD. It’s very important to be honest.
This was such a pivotal point to me because I could draw parallel lines through the similarities between my mother and my father. The end result was how I viewed God. The results could be wonderful or tragic.
If you have a warped concept of God, then the second exercise is to meditate on Psalm 139. This Psalm brings together our “head knowledge” of God and our emotional concept of Him.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting
Renewing our perception of God will take time. The Bible is our resource for understanding God. It is His love letter to us. Understanding its truth is key for restoration because codependency is a disease of habit. OUR ACTIONS ARE BASED ON OUR BELIEFS!