Codpendency and Christian Beliefs
This session continues exploring how beliefs in the Critical Parent part of the psyche influence codependent behavior. In #6, we addressed this topic in general; now we will examine how certain Christian beliefs are often co-opted by the Critical Parent and used to reinforce codependency. Chapter 6 in "Freedom from Codependency" will be our primary resource for doing this exploration. Keep in mind as you read through this chapter the distinction we made earlier between caring-for another versus enabling behavior.
Pages 78-80 lists 11 belief statements that have both a healthy and unhealthy interpretation. Here is what I recommend you do for each belief statement:
1. Write down each belief, reflect on it briefly, and jot down a few notes about what you think it really means, and why.
2. Consider how this statement could be interpreted to support codependent behavior. Write a few examples of how it has influenced you to do so.
3. Get in touch with the judgment implied for breaking this rule. What does it feel like?
4. After you do this reflection, read through pages 78-80 again, comparing your reflections with what's noted in the book.
What I'm guessing will happen is that you will see more clearly how some of your codependent attitudes and behaviors are directly tied to some of these beliefs. What a predicament that can be when our religious faith seems to be responsible, in part, for keeping us locked in to unhealthy behaviors! I have come upon this many times in my own life and in counseling with others about codependency. They can go along, to some extent, with the idea that enabling behaviors only make things worse, but they eventually find themselves struggling with the prospect of changing those behaviors as it seems that conflicts of faith and/or moral principles are being called for. As far as I know, "Freedom from Codependency" is the only work that addresses this issue directly and attempts to show how codependency skews our understanding of Christian moral principles. Some authors take a different approach, insinuating that Christian teaching is the problem, and that recovery calls for moving away from such unhealthy beliefs and a judgmental God.
Chapter 6 goes on to explore the meaning of Christian love, attempting to promote a healthy image of God and sound principles for loving self and others. As you will see, Christian love includes what we sometimes call "tough love" -- i.e., letting others experience the consequences of their behavior. After all, that is how God loves us, so there must be something to it.
Please use this thread to share your thoughts and responses on the exercise and Chapter discussion.
I've been strugling for many years trying to make peace with my christian(and other) beliefs and my so-called "codependency".
I think this forum will help me clarifying my mind very much regarding such matter so I want to thank you alot for it.
Take care amigo (I'm portuguese)
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