We have spoken repeatedly about the perils of co-dependency along with the value of self-love. To love oneself is vital to health and well being we maintain. We must all learn to cherish that which most belongs to us – our very selves. But what of others? Some small part of me asks.
You have lectured sweet Maria, lovingly scolded her, and pathologized her generosity, reducing her giving spirit to a modern day illness.
What acts of kindness have we witnessed that manifest her sickness? Her willingness to open her home to friends, family, and even strangers? Her hours of labor freely given on behalf of others for no pay? Her love offerings of hot meals, financial assistance, and the countless errands she has ran for shut-ins? The sacrifices she has made on behalf of her own and other people’s children? The numerous favors she so willingly grants? This is the life-long pattern that has conjured up your diagnosis – the personality disorder of co-dependency.
How will we heal her? Teach her to look away from the suffering around her? Instruct her to place her own needs above those who are needier? Encourage her to direct her energy inward, so that she can grow to be all that she can be? Advise her to indulge herself more often, inform her that she should give less and play more?
And when we have healed her, my wise friend, the world will have one less co-dependent. But what else will it have lost? I wonder…
Written by: Tammie Byram Fowles, author of BirthQuake: The Journey to Wholeness