A Compulsive Need to Rescue

“For each one shall bear his own *load.”1

A Daily Encounter reader writes, “My friend Jane (name changed) is broken-hearted. Her boyfriend of four years broke up with her and the guy still keeps in touch with her. She still loves him so much. Jane is now so much pained especially that the guy told her he impregnated his current girlfriend. She feels very much responsible for him. Until now she still feels responsible for him and blames herself for letting him go astray and of not being strong enough for him. How can I help her get out of being in that state?”

Here is another example of co-dependency which is when someone takes on the responsibility for someone else. This of course isn’t love. It’s need. That is, one needs to feel needed (rescue others) in order to feel okay about themselves. One would ask, “How in the world could Jane be responsible for a man making another woman pregnant?” Boggles the mind! But that’s not the way the codependent sees it. They don’t see it as a Messiah complex.

The codependent’s problem is just as real as the problem of the one they are seeking to rescue. As long as they are doing this, they don’t have to face their own issues. This is like seeing the holes in the other person’s head but unable to see the matching bumps in their own head!

Among other things, the codependent is always seeking to short circuit the natural consequences of somebody else’s negative behavior. Only as the codependent gets out of the way and allows the problem person to face the consequences of his/her self-destructive behavior, does this person have a chance of facing reality and getting the help they need to get well. There’s no guarantee that they will, but as long as we keep rescuing them, that’s almost a guarantee that they won’t get well.

So for all we rescuers (of whom I was the “chief of sinners”), we need to face and accept our problem and get the help we need to get well. Codependency can look like it is Christian, but it isn’t. It is also stopping people from becoming dependent on God by keeping them dependent on us. It’s a sickness from which we need healing and deliverance.

from DailyEncounter, 03-07-2008

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