At the risk of sounding stupid, what exactly is codependency and how does it play out in our lives and the ones we live our lives with? —Evellina
Evelina, I want to thank you so much for having asked the question.
The official term co-dependency has been so named via the field of psychology. It is an apt description of many “sick” relationships we’re all familiar with. However, psychology has merely observed these things and labeled this dysfunction. Truth be told, it goes far deeper than is given credit for. If we were to consider any given list of the Spirit’s “fruit” we will discover that a corresponding fleshly counterpart exists … only that the outcome qualifies as yet another example of co-dependency.
So, you are absolutely correct when you also asked:
Doesn’t the institutional Church kind of promote codependency towards it?
Now, the institutional church may be a ripe field of co-dependency, but that’s only because it’s filled with people just like you and me who learned our sick relationships according to the mind of the world. We reinterpreted the fruit of God’s spirit by their fleshly counterparts, so that “love” incorporates the same sickness we learned in the flesh. In other words, co-dependency is the only way the flesh knows how to relate.
Don’t make the mistake of identifying co-dependency by the appearance of strength because the “weak” have also learned how to manipulate others to do what they want. While it may be easier to recognize an obvious manipulator, to assume that such a personality defines the co-dependent would only blind us to the truth. Consider that people will even take physical, mental, and sexual abuse in order to get the payoff they desire (“long-suffering”, eh?). Co-dependent relationships (and here I’m only considering pairs) may be composed of two overly abusive or strong characters, they may be two weak and/or withdrawn folks, or they may be one strong and one weak. It doesn’t matter.
Seeing it for what it is all revolves around knowing who we truly are, for in this we see the life of another, which is the only life that is not co-dependent. This is the life that is miraculous. This is the life that is imitated and yet such imitation falls far short. This is the life that is in a true union and doesn’t suck the essence out of that which it is connected to!