CoDependency and freedom

Co-dependency is one topic I know firsthand, and it is a battle to get set free from, but he who the Son sets free is free indeed, and there is much freedom in looking inward and working on ourselves. Being born again is just the beginning of our journey.

While writing this, my mind went to Samuel. He is given to the Lord by his mother, Hannah, and taken to the temple and taught at an early age. Samuel can hear the voice of the Father at a young age, and Eli helps him learn to listen and fine tune his gifts. But the High Priest Eli has not corrected his children. Adonai points this problem concerning his son’s out to him time and again.

Now Eli’s sons were worthless men; they did not acknowledge Adonai” ( I Sam. 2:12, TLV).

Now Eli had grown very old. He heard all that his sons did to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear evil reports from all these people concerning you.  No, my sons! For this is not a good report that I hear Adonai’s people spreading around” (I Samuel. 2:22-24).

Eli does not remove his sons from their priestly positions. The Father sends a prophet and warns Eli that he is going to kill his sons, and the passage is very curious because not only that, but he also says that everyone connected to his lineage will die an early death or be so pitiful people will look at them and be in shock. Bear with me as we get to the main topic, Co-dependency. The following passage is one that is hard to read:

 Now there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus says Adonai: Did I not reveal Myself clearly to the house of your father when they were in Egypt belonging to Pharaoh’s palace? Also did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My kohanim, to officiate at My altar, to burn incense and to wear an ephod before Me? Did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of Bnei-Yisrael Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by fattening yourselves with the choicest of every offering of Israel My people? Therefore, Adonai God of Israel declares, I indeed said that your house and your father’s house should walk before Me forever. But now declares Adonai, far be it from Me! For I will honor those who honor Me, but those who despise Me will be disdained. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that no one in your household will reach old age.  Moreover, you will behold the distress of My dwelling, despite all that is good that has been done to Israel. So no one in your household will reach old age, forever. Any man of yours that I did not cut off from My altar would make your eyes weep and your soul grieve. So all the increase of your household will die as young men. Now this will be the sign to you that will come on your two sons—Hophni and Phinehas—on the same day both of them will die.” (I Samuel 2:27-34, TLV).

This is a prime example of co-dependency. Eli is in a dysfunctional relationship with his seed. He does not deal with the issues. He slaps them on the wrist and lets them continue. And guess who else had sons that weren’t the most righteous? Samuel. Did he learn this from Eli? Did he spend more time trying to deal with King Saul and David? Was he busying himself with the people to the point, he overlooked his son’s wicked behavior?

Now when Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second Abijah—they were judges in Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain—they took bribes and perverted justice. (I Samuel 8:1-3).

What is Co-dependency?

“Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship dynamic where one person assumes the role of “the giver,” sacrificing their own needs and well-being for the sake of the other, “the taker.” The bond in question doesn’t have to be romantic; it can occur just as easily between parent and child, friends, and family members.”[1] (Psychology Today)

The following short video was beneficial. Here is a short list of signs concerning co-dependency taken from the video below. That does not mean I believe or agree with everything on this YouTube channel:

  1. Constant reassurance seeking. Do you love me? Are you mad at me?
  2. Feeling responsible for problem-solving.
  3. You can’t say “no.”
  4. You need to avoid conflict. Do you worry about asserting boundaries?
  5. Do you say and do things you usually wouldn’t do around certain people due to fear.


One of my biggest struggles used to be caring too much about what people thought–taking everything personally.  Wanting people to like me or love me because I had not come to love myself and felt invisible as a child. Each topic in this series is for us to overcome and recognize why we do and say the things we do. Or why we don’t speak up or have boundaries in place. Many times, due to open wounds, rejection, being abandoned, or being hurt and abused, we need time alone to heal–Get to know ourselves and wrap our arms around ourselves. Another sign of co-dependency is, Co-dependents will make excuses for other people’s behaviors. Recovery connections have a list of questions to ask concerning this topic to see if we may have some of these issues.

Top Ten Questions to Ask About Codependent Behavior

  1. Do you avoid confrontation?
  2. Do you neglect your needs to attend to another’s first?
  3. Do you accept verbal or physical abuse by others?
  4. Do you take responsibility for the actions of others?
  5. Do you feel shame when others make mistakes?
  6. Do you do more than your share at work, at home or in organizations?
  7. Do you ask for help?
  8. Do you need others’ validation to feel good about yourself?
  9. Do you think everyone’s feelings are more important than your own?
  10. Do you suffer from low self-esteem[2]

What is co-dependency parenting? Healthline blog has a great definition:

“A codependent parent is one who has an unhealthy attachment to their child and tries to exert excess control over the child’s life because of that attachment.

Codependency can be found in the full range of parental relationships: A codependent father may rely on his daughter or son to keep him mentally stable and emotionally happy. A codependent mother may rely on her son or daughter to take responsibility for her physical well-being.

While codependent parents may claim that the close relationship, they covet is a sign of a well-functioning family, their preoccupation with each other is a sign of dysfunction.” [3]


Where is the good news in all this introspection? Well, first, we know everyone in the Bible had issues. Many issues. We have murder in the first family. We have men driven by fear asking their wives to lie and say they are their sisters. We have twins in the womb wrestling. What we bring forth from the womb has to do with many traumas our own mothers carried, but the good news is we are made new in Messiah. We are a new creation. We are born anew. We have hope. We have freedom. We do not have to carry all the baggage that our families carried. We can set the suitcases down and walk away from those heavy things. But to get set free, we must work on ourselves. Our inner man, and often if we don’t understand why we do what we do, we keep doing it. It’s like the revolving doorway. The cycle continues. We keep getting tested in the same areas over and over again.

Often, we walk away feeling unloved, unseen, and unrecognized for our beauty, gifts, work, or worth. No one thanked us. No one mentioned our name. No one acknowledged our post. No one gave us a gift or credit for the gift we brought. No one ate the food we prepared for the meeting. On and on it goes. We tip-toe around, worried someone will get upset–we lack boundaries.

When was the last time you turned everything off and opened an old photo album? A devotional? Got to know you. Looked in the mirror and fell in love with who the Creator of all the universe created you to be. Aww, it’s the first step to freedom. Embrace His Word and the commandments—they keep us safe. We need healing. We need balm. We need alone time. The silence can speak. Cry the tears for the little girl or boy who never felt loved, held, or treasured. Bring your WHOLE self to the next chapter of your life and show the world how lovely you are. How brave you are. How your boundaries are up. Dress for the occasion. Light that candle and let it shine. Shadow work is hard.

A snippet from Jumping for Joy in the Midst of Sorrow:

But what measure of love can we give to a broken world if we do not fall in love with who we are and who He created us to be? Find a mirror; run and look at yourself with His eyes. His heavenly hands formed you. Masterful fingertips were shaping eyes and painting them with hues unique to only you. Your mind and thoughts and gifts are here to serve a purpose. His hands wrapped you in light and fed you in the womb. Look at your reflection and say aloud, “I am awesomely and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14, NASB). You may have never noticed how amazing you are. Yes, I am talking to you. Each freckle, scar, mole, and wrinkle are all signs of life. Like trees, we shed leaves, change hair colors, and stretch our branches towards the heavens. Living things grow. Dead things do not. Sometimes we lose our identity along the way or perhaps never found it to begin with. With the busyness of life, work, tasks to complete, motherhood, and fatherhood, we often need silence and the therapy of being alone with our authentic selves. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves out on a date.

When I first was divorced years ago, I was not used to the sound of silence. I left home at 17, married a military man, and started having babies. I was now 30 and had never experienced silence. Not even the car rides home from work because I either had the radio on or was on my phone or both. The first weekend my ex came to pick up my children, I thought the walls would collapse and the silence would deafen me. I started taking a book and the crossword puzzle from the newspaper to the local Waffle House. I would sit at the bar top counter and drink coffee, order a pecan waffle, and strike up a conversation with usually the person who sat next to me. After I tackled this type of eating alone in public, I ventured to bookstores or coffee houses, but I never tackled my fear of silence and loneliness.

During the pandemic, many of us experienced extreme loneliness. There have been some who died alone with no human touch. But there has always been a pandemic of feeling alone and that no one cares. Almost every one of us has experienced a dark period in our lives. We can be in a room full of people celebrating and feel as dry and parched as a camel trekking through the desert. We can spend hours on websites interacting, commenting, growing our friend lists on social media or hours counting our “likes” and page views, getting the degree, the dream job, a new marriage, and, amidst the applause and approval, be incredibly lonely or feel dead inside. There is a longing to fill an emptiness inside each of our souls that is louder than any sound we will ever hear, and without Yeshua, the Messiah, our souls can be as empty as the tomb on resurrection morning.

How can we reach a point where we understand and feel  this loneliness for what it is? Can we sit up straight and look loneliness in the eye with all her shades of barrenness, nakedness, and emptiness and ask, Loneliness, who am I? The Creator of all knows. What is my soul longing for? Why am I here? Alone? What am I created to do? Father, why can’t I see my own beauty and strength? Why do I not cherish my very breath—this precious life you have given me? Why haven’t you sent me a mate? Or why doesn’t my spouse know how empty and unfulfilled I feel?

What if we were to drink in loneliness and depression like a hot herbal tea with honey allowing it to do its complete work without calling someone on our cell phones, leaving the house, or getting on social media to drown out the sound of silence? Silence is loud. Silence rushes into a room and, at times, suffocates us. The walls lean inward and asks us where our true friends are? Family? Mate? Anyone? The echoes of loneliness ricochet off our hearts. In this empty place, this place of silence and waiting, instead of chasing noise or trying to better ourselves, we quiet our soul like a weaned child. We begin to like ourselves. We start to dab cream and massage the bags that sit under our eyes. We send the children to spend time with their fathers, aunts, grandmothers, or another level of the house. Instead of a quick shower, we wrap our hair up and soak in a salt bath. We recognize that we deserve to light a candle for our soul and gently sit it on the edge of the tub. We speak to ourselves differently. Instead of saying things like, “I’m getting so old, ugly, fat, skinny, useless, stupid, and unworthy, we begin to wash our skin and love it. We tell ourselves we are a pot on His kiln spinning into perfection. From glory to glory. And when that voice filled with dark words erupts, we say, “shhh, hush now.” “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me” (Psalm 131:2, NASB).

In silence, we begin to wrap our souls in garments of grace and give Him our shame, our gaping places, or we soak in the pain — the fellowship of His suffering. Yeshua stands before us, holding out a cup. He asks us the same question He asked His disciples, “Can you drink from the cup that I drink?” We raise the cup to our parched lips and take in the reality of carrying a cross and dying to ourselves. We allow His surgical knife to cut away our rotten flesh. And unexpectedly, one day, without any warning, we are mesmerized by a sunrise, a tree in bloom, birds singing, and tiny insects we never noticed in such intricate details. We plunge our fingers in the dirt and plant things that grow, blossom, and produce fruit. We stop and look at our children with fresh eyes. We acquire eyes that disregard every wrinkle on our mother’s face and see her smile. We watch our aging father stooped over, shuffling to the kitchen to put the kettle on, and it is the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. Life is full of wonder and aging. Like the seasons that change, winter will come to us all with its frosty winds and majestic white landscapes covered in snow, pure white snow, and grey hair from a head that has experienced a long life and acquired wisdom.

In the silence, if we will allow it, there is a strange remedy at work—a slowing down. We no longer feel the need to have attention placed on us or to give unneeded attention to those distractions that come. We stop craving the approval of our colleagues, friends, or family.  We have no titles as they have dropped off or burned off. We are excited about the rose bushes, a bird singing, and the threading of a sewing machine. Others can no longer define our worth by their nods, grimaces, or looks of disapproval. We no longer seek refreshing water from social media, shopping malls, wine bottles, prescription drugs but, instead, find the refreshing water.

Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.

–John 4:13-15, NASB

The Master has spiritual water, and like trees or plants, humans cannot bear good fruit without cultivating the soil. We need fertilizer, water, and sunlight, but we all start as a seed.

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

–Cynthia Ocelli

You, my friend, are changing.  And the seed buried under the dark winter nights will come forth and bloom with fragrant flowers and fruit—precious fruit. “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1, NASB).


Tekoa Manning

To purchase devotional click HERE






[1] Codependency | Psychology Today

[2] Top Ten Indicators that You Show Signs of Codependency (

[3] Parent Codependency: Recognizing the Signs (


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