Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Co-Dependency vs. "Losing One's Life"

Comment #54 by Russell Arben Fox - Auld Lang Sin (By Common Consent)

"The New Testament emphasizes the idea of losing yourself, of serving God and feeling His love through forgetting oneself and serving one’s fellow man. In my experience (which I have had too much of, unfortunately) this scriptural call is one that struggling addicts can (sometimes knowingly, sometimes not) abuse, as can their co-dependents; both can end up embracing the idea that the sins or needs or deficiencies in question must be constantly attended to, that everyone else has an obligation to put life on hold and make exceptions for the person in need of help.

Of course, all us addicts – all us sinners, which includes every person reading this comment, not to mention every person on this planet – do need help. But a “help” which makes someone feel that their first obligation is to put their own relationship with the Savior on hold, and spend their time “cataloging/covering up for/taking the blame for/internalizing/shielding/blaming/hiding/down-playing” (great list, by the way!)…well, that’s not truly losing yourself in the service of another person; that’s having allowed another person to so completely define and inhabit you that his selfish (whether he realizes it or not) interests become your selfish interests. At its extreme, co-dependency becomes a perverse and sad sort of self-love (”I need him to love himself so I can love myself again!”). Obviously, that isn’t at all what the Lord wants for us – for any of us."


Anonymous said...

Yes! There's a huge difference between self-annihilation and selfless service.


FireTag said...

The same principle/problem can also apply in larger social contexts where solving immediate hurt is seen as a NT requirement regardless of long term cost -- even to the people we are trying to help. It's tough for congregations and other religious and non-religious institutions to avoid slipping into either a "co-denpendent" or an "uncaring" mode.

Anonymous said...

I think we have to be asking ourselves the question 'why am i doing this?'.The answer is sometimes not too pretty.