zondag 28 september 2014

Recognizing a codependent parent

8 Signs You May Have a Codependent Parent

The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the term “codependent” is usually an abusive boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. However, this is not always the case. Believe it or not, most codependent relationships are between a parent and child, not romantic partners. In a codependent parent-child relationship, the lines between overprotective and codependent, over-involved and engaged are often blurred beyond recognition. The caregiver-care receiver nature of a parent-child relationship makes codependency particularly difficult to detect. Here are a few signs to help you figure out whether your parent-child relationship is codependent.

The codependent parent is always plays the victim but is the one who is powerfully in control and victimises others.

1. The codependent parent has a victim mentality.

We all face obstacles in life, but the codependent parent believes that the other people in their life, particularly their children, owe them penance for the wrongs committed against them. Often this manifests in guilt-tripping behavior intended to garner sympathy from the child for negative experiences the parent has been through, with the end goal of altering the child’s behavior in a way that will set things right. This is where the problems begin. Rather than dealing with the traumas and difficulties in their own life through healthy and empowering means such as self-reflection and seeking out therapy, the codependent parent latches onto a child and demands compensation.

Compensation can take many forms. Many times a codependent parent will live vicariously through a child. For example, a mother who got pregnant in her teen years may demand repayment of the burden she faced by putting expectations on her daughter to seize advantages in life that she missed out on. A codependent father may demand that his son excel in sports to make up for his own lack of athleticism in childhood. If the child shows signs of taking their own path in life, the parent will use guilt to manipulate them into compliance.

2. The codependent parent is never wrong.

In normal relationships, one party is right some of the time but never all of the time. In a codependent parent-child relationship, the parent is always right. Even when the child is an adult, the parent will refuse to approach an argument or even a simple discussion with openness to the possibility of being wrong. Instead, they will seek to impose their own view of the situation and “correct” the adult child, as opposed to engaging in a discussion where neither party is presumed right by default.

No or insincere apologies

Even if it becomes apparent that the codependent parent is wrong, they will not apologize - or, if they do, it will come off as insincere. The codependent parent requires absolute dominance over the child, and any admission of wrongdoing on their part would be a sign of weakness and an invitation to challenge their dominance in the relationship.

3. The codependent parent is overly emotional.

People cry, yell and give the silent treatment during the course of life’s ups and downs, but the codependent parent has turned these acts into an art form. When they feel that they are losing control of a situation or the upper hand in an argument, they will resort to crying, screaming and other acts of intimidation to restore the balance in their favor. If called out on this manipulation tactic, the codependent parent will often accuse the child of being callous or insensitive, or feign ignorance altogether.

If the child cries, expresses hurt or anger, the codependent parent may get unusually angry and claim that the display, no matter how genuine, is insincere and being used to manipulate when, in reality, they are upset that their tactic is being turned around on them.

4. The codependent parent never truly listens.

Many children of codependent parents complain that speaking with their codependent parent is like “talking to a brick wall.” In fact, one doesn’t speak with a codependent parent as much as to them. No matter how valid the argument, the codependent parent will not be moved in their position. Instead, even when prevented with irrefutable facts that would cause a normal person to reconsider and re-evaluate their argument, the codependent parent will either refute the facts or move onto a different argument without addressing the point being made.

5. The codependent parent parrots words and phrases.

If the child claims that the parent is hurting their feelings, for example, the codependent parent will, perhaps seconds or even hours later, return with “You’re hurting my feelings!” Whatever concern the child expresses, the codependent parent will find a way to turn it around and regurgitate it as their own, thus reversing the defensive and offensive roles in the conversation. If called out on this behavior, the codependent parent will ignore it, become angry or act bewildered and confused.

6. The codependent parent has mood swings.

These can happen over a couple of minutes or a couple of days, but the codependent parent has the ability to rapidly shift from one mood to another. This is especially true when their manipulation tactics have succeeded in garnering the child’s acquiescence. The codependent parent may be yelling and screaming one moment, but once they get their way, they may be exuberant or, conversely, they may sulk in an effort to rebuff any guilt as a result of their power play.

For example, a mother screaming at her son for not calling often enough may eventually get him to give in and promise to call more. Once she attains what she wants, in an effort to keep her victory and her role as the victim, she may say something like, “No, never mind. I don’t want you to call. You’ll just be doing it because you have to.” Then, the son will not only have to call more, but ensure her that this is what he truly wants to do of his own free will, thus absolving her from any responsibility and guilt.

7. The codependent parent must maintain control at all costs.

Control is the end game of all codependent relationships, whether the means are love, money, attention or anything else. Most codependent parents expect a level of devotion and love from their children that is unhealthy and unnatural, intended to make up for that which they lack in other relationships. Often the codependent parent wishes to garner from their child the love and/or attention they failed to receive from their own parents. This creates a dramatic role reversal of the parent-child relationship and turns it into a vampiric dynamic rather than a mutually beneficial one.

Meltdown shows the true nature of what is in the co-dependents heart

Whatever it is that the codependent parent seeks to gain by controlling the adult child, when it becomes clear that they won’t succeed, a meltdown will often ensue. If the parent controls with guilt by appearing frail and playing the victim card, they may become uncharacteristically venomous and aggressive when the adult child refuses to give them what they want. A codependent parent who controls through subtle manipulation and passive-aggression may suddenly become dominant and plainspoken. It is important to remember that these dramatic shifts in the face of lost control are not a mood swing or an “episode.” Instead, the codependent parent is revealing their true nature as opposed to the façade they must maintain in order to keep things going their way. Once there is no hope of getting their way, this façade will become useless and be easily stripped away.

8. The codependent parent manipulates – subtly.

The most effective form of manipulation is the kind that you can never be called out for directly. Examples include the silent treatment, passive aggressive comments, denial of wrongdoing and projection, among others. The codependent parent will leave the child in a state of confusion, wondering who really is “the bad guy”.

Codependent are not always aware of their manipulation

In many cases, they will be genuinely unaware of their own manipulation. Many codependent parents truly believe that they are doing what’s in their child’s best interest and execute some of the most unsettling control tactics and manipulative power plays with simultaneous mastery and obliviousness. In fact, when called out on their manipulation with specific examples, the codependent parent will often be genuinely, deeply hurt and bewildered.

Codependents do not know how to relate to people they cannot control

In fact, the codependent parent does not usually manipulate because they want to; the codependent parent manipulates because they have to.They simply don’t know any other way to communicate with the adult child who is beyond their direct control. Thus, they will manipulate with finances, emotion, guilt and any other tool at their disposal to maintain the imbalance of the codependent relationship.

Codependent No More - Summary

This is not an exhaustive list but it does cover the basic signs and symptoms of codependency to watch out for. In my experience with my own codependent parent, many of these are hard to recognize but, on closer inspection, they deviate significantly from the norms of a healthy parent-child relationship.

There is no single, quick and easy way to deal with a codependent parent. In some cases, the only thing the adult child can do is sever ties with the codependent parent completely. In others, carefully imposed boundaries, discussion and family therapy can be used to maintain a healthy relationship for both parties. It depends on the individuals as well as the severity of the codependency within the relationship.

Information from: http://lanablackmoor.hubpages.com/hub/8-Signs-You-May-Have-a-Codependent-Parent

vrijdag 19 september 2014

The narrow road to true Spiritual Maturity in Christ


Colossians 3:12

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering"

Phil. 3:12-16, 18-19

12 I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13 My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.

18 I often warned you that many people (in the church) are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again 19 that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.

God wants us to be spiritually mature, Christlike and wear his spiritual garments. He expects us to approximate our daily condition to our heavenly condition as people belonging to God. He wants us to put off the sins of our old sinful and selfish disposition and put on the disposition of the new man, our new nature in Christ. BUT, we cannot put on the robes of the new man until we have put off the rags of the old man.

It is not befitting a Christian to come to God wearing the rags of criticism and bitterness, of slander and malice. We cannot put on the robes of the righteousness and love of Christ over those rags. We should wear ‘tender mercies’, ‘kindness’, ‘humility’, ‘meekness’ (gentleness) and ‘longsuffering’ (compassion & solidarity). Clothed in these robes of Christ-like righteousness we should strive to live responsible, caring Christ-like lives of doing good to all people whenever we get the chance, particularly to those in the family of God (Gal. 6:10), but also to outsiders, even to our enemies (Col. 1:10; Eph. 2:10; 1 Peter 2:12; Heb. 10:24). It is for this purpose we are in the world as Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8; Titus 2:12-14) as we make our light shine in the darkness of this world, and provide the world with a foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God (Mt. 5:13-16, 43-48).

However, it requires that we let go of worldliness and impurity, of everything that hinders us from becoming mature and ready to be used for all kinds of good (2 Tim. 2:21). For us who compared to 75% of the world are rich it means letting go of our arrogance as if we are better than those who are poor. It also means no longer putting our trust in our wealth but in God but instead abound in doing good deeds, being very generous in helping those who have less than us as 1 Tim. 6:17-19 reminds us:

17 Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18 Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19 This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like.

But if we fail to live like this and instead live as enemies of the cross by mainly being focused on worldy things we will not reach the glorious destination God had in mind for us. With tears in our eyes and sorrowful hearts we warn you as Paul did that you are headed for hell (Phil. 3:18-19).

dinsdag 16 september 2014

The life worth living

To reach the wonderful destination God predestined for you, and to experience a foretaste of His kingdom on earth and its fullness of life you need to live in such a way that you can receive His blessing:

3 God blesses those people
who depend only on him.
They belong to the kingdom
of heaven!
4 God blesses those people
who grieve.
They will find comfort!
5 God blesses those people
who are humble.
The earth will belong
to them!
6 God blesses those people
who want to obey him
more than to eat or drink.
They will be given
what they want!
7 God blesses those people
who are merciful.
They will be treated
with mercy!
8 God blesses those people
whose hearts are pure.
They will see him!
9 God blesses those people
who make peace.
They will be called
his children!
10 God blesses those people
who are treated badly
for doing right.
They belong to the kingdom
of heaven.

11 (for) God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 (so don't be depressed but..) Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.

13 (if you live in this manner then...) You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt (if you do not live like described above), how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on (religion that is not lived has no value).

14 You are like light for the whole world (that is your task while still on earth). A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, 15 and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. 16 (so) Make your light shine,(do it for Gods glory) so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:3-16.

dinsdag 9 september 2014

Worship in Spirit and Truth

John 4:21-24

21 Jesus said to her: Believe me, the time is coming when you won't worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans don't really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. 23 But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.

Worship Him in Spirit and Truth

In response to questions concerning the dispute between Jews and Samaritans where and in what manner God should be worshiped Jesus explains that what God really seeks is people who worship Him in Spirit and Truth. God does not need people to sing his praises or extol His virtues while they themselves are living a lie! All of us can be gradually tempted until we reach the point that our lifestyle does not reflect the Lordship of Christ but rather a service to the idols of this world, whether money, sex, success or power. None of us is immune, even those who serve in Christian ministry can fall in these traps. We need to regularly self-reflect in the light of Christ's example and if we recognize we have gone astray we need to repent and learn again what it means to follow the One who is the embodiment of Truth.

Too many people wear their outward religious masks in church or religious gatherings but in their daily lives they are ferocious wolves that mainly look after themselves without much concern about the needs of others, particularly the weak and powerless. They are not genuine in following the example of Jesus and seek to hide behind a mask of religious ritual and outward religious experiences. Their outward spirituality which can be very convincing is in fact hiding the self-centered evil and ferocious darkness which is hidden in their hearts. Some of them are full of resentment, self-serving pride, envy, or bitterness as they stubbornly refuse to forgive and let go of the evils which were committed against them.  Some have turned to being victims of the destructive work of the devil into becoming his agents as they project their resentment, hatred and abuse on other victims. No better way to hide this darkness by pretending to be in the light. However, even if we succeed in fooling people, God cannot be fooled. He knows those who have learned from Christ to be humble and gentle, forgiving and kind. Those who demonstrate by living a life of doing good even to those who oppose them that they are truly children of the Father.

The genuine followers of the way of Christ are truthful and honest about themselves. They face their weaknesses and faults rather than hiding them.  Confident of God’s loving kindness, forgiveness and abundant grace they cast themselves upon Him. They strive to follow Christ in everything in trust that He will empower them to do so by His Holy Spirit.  Redeemed by Christ and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to make the most of every opportunity to do good to all humanity they become living sacrifices. Their loving holy lifestyle of doing good to all humanity, even their enemies, being the kind of religion God seeks: a life of worship to God in Spirit and Truth.