give and take

Relationships thrive when both parties give 100%, when they’re all in and support one another to a healthy degree. On the other hand, lopsided relationships have a tendency to fall flat and fail. No one wins when someone pours themselves into the drudgerous role of caregiver and the other someone takes and takes and takes some more. 

Caregivers may complain about the lopsided relationship, but they get something out of the unhealthy union or they wouldn’t stay. In fact, the relationship becomes an addiction. They’re desperate to glean a higher self-esteem by tending to this person’s needs, proving that they are a good person … all while suffering.   

Psychology Today reports, “Healthy relationships are mutually beneficial, providing love and support to both parties. Codependent relationships, on the other hand, are one-sided, casting one person in the role of constant caregiver. By being caring, highly functional, and helpful, that person is said to support, perpetuate, or “enable” a loved one’s irresponsible or destructive behavior. For example, helping an inebriated spouse navigate an embarrassing situation or providing living quarters for a substance-using adult child is said to be counterproductive, a way of forestalling recovery and actually perpetuating the problem.”

Sadly, the caregivers have learned this behavior and employ it as a crutch to deal with their own shortcomings, a traumatic past and low self-worth. 

Mental Health America advises, “A lot of change and growth is necessary for the co-dependent and his or her family. Any caretaking behavior that allows or enables abuse to continue in the family needs to be recognized and stopped. The co-dependent must identify and embrace his or her feelings and needs. This may include learning to say “no,” to be loving yet tough, and learning to be self-reliant. People find freedom, love, and serenity in their recovery.”

God gave us relationships to enhance our lives, not distract from them. The most important relationship we can develop outside of God Himself, is with ourselves. To genuinely like ourselves so much that we value time and space alone. Once we nail that, we can develop healthy relationships. 


This week’s practice:

•  If you put others before you, avoid confrontation, value other’s opinions above your very own and abhor compliments, then I invite you to draw out your notebook and write down what you’re getting out of these relationships. 

In order to gain confidence, write an “I am” mantra to put on your mirror or somewhere you look often. Examples: I am confident. I am an overcomer. I am strong. I am independent. Be sure to start out with a mantra you can wrap your head around so you don’t give up. You can always upgrade your mantra later. Become comfortable in saying “no” and take care of you. If needed, seek professional help. It took a long time to develop these behaviors, so be patient as you unravel them.   

Remember, you are a powerful child of God and everything you need to rise out of the ashes of the past lives on the inside of you. 

I’m truly blessed by your notes of encouragement, questions and prayer requests.

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