Can a Christian woman be too helpful? Can she be too nice? I believe the answer is yes. When we are so “nice” that we enable our husband or adult children to act irresponsibly or to stay immature, we are being too nice. And many of us fit this description. We are too helpful. We are codependent. We train our loved ones to be dependent on us, instead of God. We train them to rely on us to do things for them that they should really do themselves as responsible adults. Often, we also train them to expect us to bail them out of the natural consequences of their foolish or sinful decisions.
Why are many women codependent? We become codependent when we subconsciously depend on others to meet a deep emotional need of our own, such as feeling loved, secure, or important. Instead of looking to the Lord for love, security and significance, we exhaust ourselves trying to get people to meet those needs. Then, because we pin all our hopes on these people, we MUST cater to them in order to keep them in the relationship with us. We fear that our “source” of love and security will leave us or withdraw their love if we don’t cater to them. We start walking on eggshells. We bend over backwards to keep them happy because we fear losing them. However, the Bible says in Proverbs 29:25 “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be loving and kind. Of course, we should. However, we go too far when our “kindness” enables immature and irresponsible and even sinful behavior in others. We go too far when we try to spare our loved ones from consequences and when we carry their responsibilities. We go too far when we become neurotic people-pleasers in the relationship just so the other person is more likely to make us feel better about ourselves!
Here are 2 questions you can ask yourself today:
1) Are my actions preventing my husband or children from becoming mature and responsible?
2) Am I expecting my husband or child to meet my deepest emotional needs or am I seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord to meet those needs?
One thought on “Recognizing codependency”
This is exactly what our son is doing with his wife. Totally enabling her. She has no responsibilities because everyone is picking up the jobs that should be hers around the house, and even with her little daughter that she doesn’t want to spend time with. A very sad situation.