For two years, I pushed the idea away.
I read about it and a dear friend gently, but persistently, suggested I consider it.
In my work to understand & heal from betrayal, I faced the trauma of discovery. Beyond that, I dug into issues arising from my Family of Origin, wrestled with my lack of understanding around setting Boundaries, and struggled moment by moment to find & grow my Voice.
I could not get a handle on Codependency. What did it really mean? What might it imply about me in my marriage? To be honest, it sounded more like it was connected to people in relationships with addicts, and that wasn't my situation. My husband was a decent man, a provider and a helper to others. We looked "okay", even "normal" to other people who only saw the outside of our marriage. Inside was a different matter altogether.
Also, if it was true, what might it mean about me, period? Did I have this problem in whole? In part? It sounded yucky – a label I didn't want to have to face. If I didn't see it, then I didn't have to own it or do the very hard work of fixing it!
The therapist who came to our support group described one aspect of Codependency with these words:
"As long as you’re okay, then I’m okay. So, I need to make you okay for me to be okay.
And if that means I need to compromise my values and not share my thoughts, feelings or dreams with you, I’ll do that, because I am dependent on your emotional state in order for me to be okay.
I am completely dependent on how you are doing."
And there I was – facing me.
The reality: for 30+ years, the state of my gut has been tied to his moods, his demeanor, the look on his face. While codependency has several facets and I don't struggle with all of them, this was the piece, the dysfunction that I needed to face.
Hard work for a quiet, conflict avoidant, people pleasing type to untangle this mess, but I knew in that moment I needed God's healing in this area. He wanted to grow me up & make me stronger, so that my "okayness" was anchored in Him and not my husband.
I know God wants me whole, complete, mature – and that means no little amount of work on my part.
So. I am …
For me this work can't be done without also naming & laying down my anxieties at the Foot of the Cross and waiting for (and experiencing) the Peace that passes understanding, even in the nitty gritty of daily interactions with my husband.
The progress is slow, some days it feels minute, or feels glaringly absent, but I cling to Philippians 4:6,7 and its promise. It is slowly, surely becoming real to me.
In all of this, I fully recognize that I cannot do this journey alone. I have a burden too big to bear. God has been amazing in supplying resources uniquely suited to me: a Christian therapist who prays with me and creates a sanctuary for my tears, my voice, my growth (and sometimes tells me to get those Big Girl Panties on!); faithful friends and prayer warriors who hold me up and also speak truth into my life; written words in books and blogs that speak to my soul; songs that wrap themselves around my heart; and sometimes, a beautiful sunset that reminds me of my Creator.
At the end of the day, I need to rest. In Him. The hardest but most necessary thing of all.
Dear sister –
Maybe you see yourself – even a little bit – in my struggle.
My prayer is that the things I am doing to heal would be things that you can make your own as well, or that you can find the path of healing God is designing uniquely for you.
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