We know that some of our readers have been told that they are co-dependent. Some victims of abuse who find our blog describe themselves as co-dependent, or as learning to not be co-dependent.
When victims of domestic abuse first learn about the concept of co-dependency they might initially think it’s a helpful concept. They might report that their therapist has told them they are co-dependent. Or they tell us they’re attending a co-dependency group which is helping them become assertive in setting healthy boundaries against the conduct of the abusive people.
If you are are someone who thinks that the co-dependency model is helpful to victims of domestic abuse, we have some information that you might find a bit surprising. But we also want to affirm for you that:
- It’s wise to set healthy boundaries against the conduct of abusers.
- It’s healthy and godly to dis-attach from abusers and their manipulative coercive control.
Setting boundaries and learning how to be assertive are part of developing a godly and mature character. But the co-dependency model is not essential for those things. In fact, we believe that the co-dependency model unduly pathologizes victims of abuse because it pictures them as people who have something wrong with them, some deficit, some deficiency, some “pathology”. So we invite you to recalibrate your ideas by reading the following posts and articles:
Are Abuse victims Codependent?
Interview with Catherine DeLoach Lewis (part 2)
The Myth of “Stockholm Syndrome” and other labels which are used to discredit and pathologize victims of abuse
Honouring Resistance: How Women Resist Abuse in Intimate Relationships