Sometimes we do not know if a relationship is heading into codependence. All my codependent relationships did not start out that way, but over time, I became the rescuer. Maybe the person didn’t need my rescuing; but I recast the relationship into that, and I was always available. Am I to blame? Was that person? Does it matter?
If you are stuck right now in a relationship that drains you, and you want to help but you feel guilty about limiting the help or even walking away, this questionnaire is for you.
A Journal and Honesty
So, spend some time in prayer and then under the Spirit’s guidance, write the answers honestly in your journal. There is no need to blame yourself or the other person. What you do now is important to your healing as a CoDeWo (Codependent Woman).
Please write out your answers. If you just glance over the questions, and tally the answers in your head, you won’t really see the larger picture. The larger picture is this: You may be drawing your identity from how you help others, rather than seeing yourself as a child of God.
It is not selfish or unkind to evaluate the person seeking your help. Asking these questions are not meant to be dismissive or insensitive to others. It is a kind of self-care.
Think of it this way: Which would you rather have fighting a war on your behalf? A happy friendly soldier who goes into battle with a t-shirt and flip flops or a soldier who is dressed, prepared and knows what he is up against?
The first soldier isn’t coming home, sorry to say.
The second one will live to serve his country another day.
Here we go. Being prepared is not selfish. It is self-care.
Section A: The Person I Seek To Rescue
1. Am I always available, but my friend is not, unless she has a crisis, then she has all the time in the world to tell me about all her woes?
2. Is there a person behind my friend who will veto all of our discussions, so nothing really changes? She will return to the same problems over and over, because she is codependent to another person who has way more power in the relationship than she does, and refuses to change. Is your friendship based on helping her manage this imbalance of power with the other person, and because she is stuck, so are you?
3. Are you helping your friend do things she could do for herself? Why won’t she do them then? Do you step in and take them over?
4. Are you helping your friend do things others could assist her with, but she says they won’t help her? Why won’t they help her? Do you then step in and save the day?
5. Do you know all about your friend, her history, her family, and yet she knows very little of yours—because she’s never really asked—and has no real interest in learning about you?
6. Is the friendship based on you meeting her needs and when you are unavailable to do so, even if you have a good reason, you receive a frosty response, and not an “OK, we can do this later” kind of response?
7. Do you sense that your friend doesn’t really want to change her situation, for it will demand some significant changes on her part and some hard decision making? That she may have to confront herself and the poor decisions she is making? Or she may have to face those people she is being codependent to, and face their wrath? In other words, she would rather just unload on you than face the real reasons she is so unhappy?
8. Does your friend seem to flourish in chaos and has a spiritual pride that says that personal chaos really is a kind of special testing from God? Does she view her “testing” as making her superior to her other brothers and sisters?
9. Does she monopolize your time? Even when you make it clear you must go, does she continues talking, because she is not done yet?
Section B: You
1. Do you feel needed when you help your friend, because you can dispense spiritual wisdom and guidance—whether she follows it or not?
2. Do you derive spiritual pride from being the “only one” who can help her, and that no one else understands her the way you do?
3. Do you feel anxious, upset, or nervous when you think about her situation, as if her problems are your problems?
4. When your time is over with your friend, do you feel emotionally drained by your interaction with her?
5. Do you feel trapped? Do you feel that there is no way to extricate yourself from this situation without hurting her, so you stay, even if you are exhausted by the friendship?
6. Are you worried that if you speak truth into the situation, you risk her anger, her disapproval, and you will hurt or offend her? You are worried that your faith will be questioned, because she will think you are uncaring or cruel?
7. Do you worry about what others will say if you remove yourself from the relationship?
8. Do you resent others for not standing by you to help you as you help her? In other words, do other people walk away, leaving you feel more and more trapped?
9. Do you worry about her life, ponder solutions and look forward to the next “fix-it” session so you can share all the new revelations you’ve had?
10. Do you feel guilty for all the good things and people in your life, and that guilt motivates you to help her, so she can enjoy life like you do?
11. Do you let other relationships go, such as family and close friends, because you spend so much time rescuing this person? Do you feel angry when they point out you do not have time for them?
12. Do you ever wonder why does serving Jesus make you feel so miserable, especially when no one around you ever seems to change?
13. Do you sometimes question this whole “serve the Lord” thing and wonder what the truth really is?
These questions are not intended in any way to make you feel condemned. They are based on real experiences that I have had and have felt; I hope they have opened up your mind and heart to thinking about your efforts in a new way.
The next chapter reviews 1 Corinthians 10:13. That verse has the word "exit" in it. God does call us out of our situations and then shows us the way out.