The Curse Of Dependent Relationships
Ever since the Fall of man, our inner security has been thwarted by sin and
separation from God. The resultant guilt and alienation continues to
undermine us today in our inability to develop proper relationships.
An underlying motive for developing relationships with others, male and
female, gay and straight, can be a desire to maintain inner security, a
basis which makes the relationships shaky. This desire for security stems
from our need for approval and acceptance, plus the need to be a free
individual. We enter into dependent relationships hoping they will supply
the needed self-worth and self-acceptance. (I'm not suggesting we become
independent loners. In Christ we are one and interdependent.) The problem
I'm talking about here is one of focusing on another person to be our
Selfish Motives Are The Basis.
In essence, when we make another person responsible for our security, we
are saying, "I want your life so I can live." This handicaps relationships
in that the result can only be possessiveness which cancels the freedom
that is the basis for true godly love. We put our expectations on the
other party in the relationship, only to discover that the other person is
doing the same thing. It's like two drowning people trying to use another
to climb to the surface. It is an on-going circle marked by continual
conflict. The destructive elements in these relationships are the
bitterness, anger and hatred that come when that deep need for security is
not met. The situation is resolved when we let go of the dependent
relationship as we find something truly secure: the real Saviour, Jesus
Dependence In Gay Relationships
Dependence is the very thing that causes gay relationships to break down.
People will argue that some homosexual relationships do work, but I say
that gay lovers remain together not as a result of fulfilment, but rather
out of a mutual fear of being alone. This is a characteristic of all
dependent relationships, not just gay ones. Another characteristic is that
we settle for second best: we compromise our personal values and force the
other person to compromise, all for the maintenance of personal security.
In my relationship with my ex-lover, I compromised my moral values and
personal expression to maintain my security. I was shallow and passive in
the way I related to him, failing to express my true feelings. I was not
real. Every time I would strive to be real, the relationship would begin
to quaver. I would feel guilty and fearful, second-rate and dominated. I
felt alone, as I wasn't secure within myself. Depressed and anxious, I
knew that I had to run, but I was afraid to let go of my reasonable
facsimile of security.
Within this pseudo-secure relationship, I felt frustrated. I tried to get
this other person to open up, but nothing he did was ever enough for me.
When we became sexually involved, I can't say it provided anything for me
and it only created greater lust. I could never get enough hugs or
compliments. I wanted more, the more the better. I could never accept
what was there already, I became angry and bitter towards my ex-lover, but
hid my feelings deep inside. On the outside, I was all smiles and
platitudes. Near the end of our relationship, my disappointment and
resentment began to take its toll on my emotional health. I began facing
the fact that I was gong to be empty for the rest of my life. No matter
who I was with, they were going to sap me of my life, and I would do the
same thing for them.
The Death Grip.
This kind of relationship is commonly known as the "death grip." What it
does is destroy the personalities of those involved because each is placing
conditions on the other. If either party fails to keep the conditions, the
relationship is at stake. Dependent relationships put people in boxes.
There is no freedom to grow or to be unique. Personal identity becomes
increasingly hazy. These are love-hate relationships in which the
participants are mutually oppressed and suppressed. Each sets standards
over the other which are never quite met, or which are moved higher when
they are met. Each sees himself as better than the other.
Slavery To Self.
The more I progressed into dependent relationships, the more I became a
slave to my own needs. I was losing myself through my efforts to preserve
my own life. I could never escape the fact that my insecurity began with
my sinfulness and separation from God. The first thing a person will do
when separated from God is to seek a substitute, which I found in gay
relationships. The futility experienced in placing my hopes for security
in another person showed me the hopelessness of trying to fill my inner
void with anything other than God. Since I have been back with the Lord
and learning to have my security needs met in God, I've been gaining
victory over my dependent behaviour.
Steps In Overcoming,
In leaving my ex-lover to come back to the Lord, I learned some steps in
resolving dependent relationships. The first step is to determine if your
self-worth and self-acceptance are based on another's attitudes toward you.
If this is true, you will be feeling both guilt and condemnation for
failure to measure up to another's expectations. There may also be
frustration and feelings of anger and bitterness directed toward the other
person because the need for security has not been met.
The next step is to examine yourself and the way you relate to others.
Sometimes we fail to be honest about what we are feeling, lacking firmness
and giving in to passivity. We need to realise that passivity is often a
cover-up for negative feelings, and can be considered a form of lying,
deception, and manipulation. If we can face the fact that our deepest
security needs will not be met through any human means repentance and
commitment to Christ will bring the solution to the security problems. He
is the only one that can save us from our loneliness and separation.
If we have Christ to rely upon, we find that letting go of another person,
while painful, will be anointed by God's strength and grace. Our ability
to be honest and "up-front" with another will not be dependent on their
reaction, but on God's love and acceptance. Wrong relationships will come
to a halt and strained ones will experience reconciliation. Our
relationships with others will become creative rather than destructive as
we pass along the love and forgiveness we've received from God "We love
because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) The destructive element in a
dependent relationship is making another person responsible for the way we
feel about ourselves. Only Jesus willingly accepted the penalty for our
sinfulness, alleviating our insecurity. He alone is the path to absolute
and profound security in the Father.
"And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by
Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
-- by Bill Hernandez
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