Weeks before I walked through the door for my first counseling session, I had already identified my problem. Texting my new friend, I exclaimed: “I’m here to face the giant.” The giant was not the appointment. The giant was not the therapist. The giant was neither my newfound friend nor her words of affection. The giant was not even myself. Already facing giants of grief and depression, the meanest, most despicable goliath in my life was the decades-old and newly resurrected entrapment of emotional dependency, working itself out in relational idolatry.
Writing Crushing Codependency and Relational Idolatry has been a therapeutic component of a tumultuous journey that began a few years ago with my husband’s home going. It was at that time, as God put me on a path of healing, I cried out to Him and submitted my will to His. I began to heed an admonition I had memorized long ago: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV).
On these pages, I describe my battles with emotional dependency not from a detached clinical perspective but from the challenge of living through the struggles. I write with hope that you will feel relief to find you are not the only one with feelings you don’t understand. Each day, we face challenges in relationships with family members or friends. Perhaps you struggle with discomfort when you are around certain people or in certain situations.
In processing my exit from emotional dependency, I discovered fear and negative emotions spawned by faulty religious teachings had driven me headlong into finding fulfillment by people pleasing. The entire time, God’s remedy was perfect love. His Word says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18). I had believed God was out to punish me; instead, in his love, grace, and mercy, He wanted to relieve me of years of guilt and shame.
Perhaps you, also, grapple with a load of heavy emotional baggage. Is your heart locked behind walls that you fear cannot be penetrated? Are you stuck in an addiction similar to mine?
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