Quitting is a natural part of life that gets a bad rap.
For example, what would it be like if you stayed at your first job? Or if you married the first person you had a crush on?
There are many instances when quitting is the right thing to do. Recognizing codependency in relationships is crucial for personal growth and establishing healthier dynamics.
So, how do you know when to stay and when to walk away?
Sometimes it’s obvious, like when you’re being pressured to do ungodly things and it’s clear you shouldn’t be in a relationship with people like that. But what do you do in those less obvious situations? How do you know when God is giving you the grace to endure under a trial, and when He’s telling you to give up on someone?
How to recognize codependency in relationships
Sign #1: They treat you poorly
Being treated poorly doesn’t mean that others are not giving you what you want or even disagreeing with you, but rather that they are disregarding you as a person. This can be done through ridicule, gaslighting, manipulation, taking advantage, contempt, disregard, indifference, and stonewalling, just to name a few.
The end result is an utter lack of respect for you regardless of what their words say.
Their words may say “I’m sorry,” but their actions prove that there’s been no true repentance.
When the relationship brings more pain than joy, it’s time to reevaluate it. Staying in a disrespectful and abusive situation can lead to further abuse and codependency and even trauma bonding, as your happiness remains wrapped up in their emotions and behaviors.
It may help to remember the wise words of Proverbs 19:19: “A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.”
So ask yourself. Am I being a burden bearer or a sin enabler?
Sign #2: They bring out the worst in you
Are you constantly triggered by their guilt-inducing comments? Do you find yourself always arguing?
While we are all responsible for our own behavior and I would encourage you to get help for the areas that may be triggering for you, there are just some people whom you don’t do well with.
Maybe you find yourself catering to their dysfunctions or kowtowing to their every emotion. This is not how God calls us to be in a relationship and it’s certainly not one that will likely glorify Him.
Remember 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
If you find yourself unable to maintain healthy boundaries with this person, I suggest that you treat this relationship like any other temptation that God would want you to flee from.
Do they cause you to slip into slander? Fall into falsehood? Stumble into sin? God calls us to be sober-minded and self-controlled. If both of these areas are in jeopardy, consider taking a break in the relationship and getting help from a good Christian counselor.
In Eph 6, God tells us to put on the whole armor of God so that we can withstand evil. But does this mean that we should intentionally walk into evil? Of course not.
Just as we are called to strengthen our immune system to withstand the germs and viruses that look to attack us, it doesn’t mean you need to lick a petri dish. You shouldn’t invite yourself into evil, tempting relationships. Stay away when needed.
Sign #3: You’re codependent
In a nutshell, codependency says, “If you’re OK, I’m OK. If you’re not OK, I’m not OK. So I need you to be OK so I can be OK.” In some cases, it needs the other person to change so you can feel OK.
My friend, this is not OK. That anxiety within you needs to be addressed.
While on the outside, the relationship may seem loving and each perfect for the other, the main problem in these relationships is that God takes second place. That’s because codependents rely on each other, and not God.
Remember the wise words of Proverbs 29:25: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Codependents are loyal to a destructive degree to the extent that they support sinful and even illegal behavior, all in the name of ‘love.’ Healthy boundaries are avoided in codependent relationships as each looks to the other for needs to be met.
God may not be telling you to give up on the relationship but it’s likely that He IS telling you to give up on trying to be who this person needs you to be and focus your trust and attention on Him, and on setting godly boundaries.
It may feel unloving as they will likely struggle without your constant support, but it’s actually the most loving thing you can do.
If you struggle with letting people go, it’s likely that you struggle with boundaries too. To get better equipped, be sure to check out this episode right here.
And definitely grab a copy of our FREE toxic people survival guide.
Recognizing codependency in relationships is essential for personal growth and fostering healthier dynamics. While it may initially feel unloving to let go of constant support, focusing on setting godly boundaries and trusting in God’s guidance is ultimately the most loving action one can take.