“Lord, lead me out of the crazy place.”
The following list was compiled from a number of sources and embellished with personal observations.
|Uses others’ problems to avoid facing own problems||Uses substance as self medication to avoid facing own problems|
|Protects addict from consequences of behavior||Relies on codependent for cover for behavior|
|Emotionally manipulated||Emotionally manipulative|
|Enmeshed with addict in exploitative relationship||Enmeshes others and exploits them|
|Denial of abnormal situation||Denial of own abnormality|
|Self centered perspective||Self centered perspective|
|False agreement/cooperation||Extreme dishonesty and deceit|
|Illusion of control over self and others||Illusion of control over self and others|
|Life centered on problems and crises||Life centered around problems and crises which are often deliberately instigated|
|Dualistic evaluation of self and others as all good or all bad||Dualistic evaluation of self and others as all good or all bad|
|Fabricates and instigates personality conflicts||Fabricates and instigates personality conflicts to keep others off balance|
|Difficulty, often extreme,in listening to others and communication with others||Forgetfulness and memory loss: does not learn from own mistakes or from others|
|Fearful||Self centered fear of loss|
|Externalization of problems on others; the ‘selfless victim’ of abuse||Externalization of problems on others: projection, scapegoating, blameshifting, isolation/abuse paradigm|
|Emotionally stifled||Emotionally frozen when sober|
|Prefers excited misery to calm, growing, collaborative relationship of equals||Instigates conflicts through triangulation, covert aggression|
|Unsure of and guesses at normal behavior||Whitewashes own character flaws as being actual virtues and not harmful to others; claims of ‘good intentions’ justifies anything|
Interpersonal Rules of the Addictive System
- Do not talk about problems; deny that they exist.
- Do not express feelings openly; do not feel pain, sadness or joy.
- Communication must be indirect, through third parties (go betweens and buffers). Technical term: triangulation.
- Show no weakness; nothing must threaten the image of being good, right and perfect.
- Appease and make those in control look good at all costs.
- Those in control have the right to be selfish but no one else does.
- Do as I say but not as I do; follow the words but ignore the example.
- Do not play or be playful; spontaneity and humor is childish.
- Do not attempt to change the status quo.
- Those in control follow no rules and are responsible to no one.
- Everyone must anticipate, follow and cater to the moods of those in control.
- What matters the most is personal relationships is control. Might and position makes all things right.
- Those in control know it all; those not in control know nothing.
Seven Characteristics of Addictive Relationships
I do not know the source for the following list. It is in my personal notes. Its relationship to the above is obvious.
Magical and Unrealistic Expectations
The fantasy is primarily that the relationship with the right person will fix me and my problems. It is not companionship with someone to share mutually satisfying activities.
Desire for Instant Gratification
The relationship with another person is treated pretty much as a drug to escape one’s own problems rather than as sharing love and companionship.
Consistent and Pervasive Dishonesty
Key character flaws are kept under wraps rather than gradually and honestly disclosed as part of mutual understanding.
Compulsive Overcontrol and Coercion
Personal cooperation and free choice are rejected even when freely given because personal control is all that matters.
Lack of Trust in the Other Person in the Relationship
There is no rational trust in someone who has proven love and trustworthiness.
Outsiders are a threat to the special and forcibly exclusive relationship.
Recurring Cycle of Intense Pain and Intense Pleasure
The cyle is described as:
Intense pleasure in a very charming, seductive relationship ->
Intensifying pain and anger from differences and disagreements ->
Intense verbal abuse and physical violence ->
Disillusionment with the other person and complete blameshifting for the conflict ->
Fear of abandonment by the other person leading to desperate attempts to make up for the abuse and violence ->
Intense pleasure again.
The repeating cycle reinforces itself through the periods of painfree pleasure to where the periods of pain become bridges to more perceived pleasure and pseudo-intimacy.
Characteristics of Adult Children
I do not know the source for the following list either. Again, its relationship to the above is obvious. It lists the characteristics of adult children. Adult children are people whose maturation has been arrested, stymied or sabotaged through growing up in an addictive family system.
Alienation: no sense of belonging
Inadequate sense of appropriate public and social behavior.
Fear of abandonment from unreliable childhood familial connections.
Easily infatuated with the emotionally unavailable.
Continues in familiar cycle of emotional abuse and physical violence as perpetrator or victim.
Defiance of authority
Hypersensivity: takes innocuous remarks personally very easily.
Overcontrolled and fearful of spontaneity.
Some years ago I heard Barbara Cook share the following material. I copied much of it down on the spot, since I was then the pastor of a congregation where most had come from an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family. Much of the following material is also contained in her book, Love and Its Counterfeits.
Other than a number of the sermons of Erwin Lutzer, I cannot remember ever hearing any pastor call trying to control another person and its attendant deception and emotional, verbal, physical and often spiritual abuse, as sin. Yet Christ is the actual Lord of any believer, and each believer is actually responsible to him completely and eternally (Romans 14:4-12, Ephesians 1:21-23). Pastor Lutzer additionally called it a sign of demonic influence, and I would agree. It’s a sign of someone listening to a deceiving voice telling that person, ‘ . . . you will be like God . . .’ (Genesis 3:5). The unbelievably low cunning and determination which a controlling person can manifest beyond all reason can definitely point to the malicious and deceptive instigation of spiritual wickedness behind the controller. I would challenge all pastors to point out these sins in their preaching in the future.
Obsessions of the Controller
Biblical, Christlike love is servanthood, not control: “. . . serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:14). It is seeking the highest good of another person according to the standards of the Word of God. Attempts to control others pollute love, sabotage their God given responsibility for their own lives, and may eventually destroy the relationship. Here are some of the self deceptions of the person who attempts to control others in their lives.
1. Self Deception: “I believe that a person who changes to my specifications will be a better person.”
Reality: This is a dangerous arrogance of personal authority and presumption of personal knowledge of what is best for another person. Only God can be the real judge of what is best for another person.
2. Self Deception: “I am responsible to make another adult do what he should do.”
Reality: Each adult has his own responsibility before God to follow his will, and will answer personally to God for how he has fulfilled that responsibility.
3. Self Deception: “God has given me special insight and capability to help this person make necessary changes in his or her life.”
Reality: This is mistaking the voice of obsession for the voice of the Holy Spirit, and is a rationalization of attempts to play the Hoy Spirit in another person’s life. The real agenda of the Holy Spirit is different than that of another human being, and he does not originate nor stand behind obsessions.
4. Self Deception: “I would be happier if this other person changed.”
Reality: Happiness is dependent upon your personal choice of the will of God.
5. Self Deception: “I meet my emotional needs by exerting power over others.”
Reality: God wants you to find satisfaction in a humble walk with himself.
6. Self Deception: “I am overprotective of those whom I love.”
Reality: God alone is sufficient to protect and defend his people.
Biblical Truths for Rescuers
1. “Results in another person’s life are not my responsibility.”
2. “My preconceived notions of what the end result of my helping may be far from God’s actual intentions for another person.”
3. “I cannot change another person, no matter how much I care and want to help.”
4. “No strings of control are to be attached to my gift of love.”
5. “I am not needed in the role of Messiah.”
6. “I must never underestimate my own human vulnerability.”
7. “I must never overestimate my ability to know what is best for another adult.”
8. “I am not superior. I am just a friend, a person who has chosen to love.
9.”Only eternity will reveal the fruit of love I have sown in other’s lives.”
10. “When I love another person, I offer it as a gift to Christ.”
1. You have given another person power over your emotions.
2. You have given away control of your identity to another person.
3. You have violated your moral standards and beliefs.
4. You have assisted another person in the continuance of a destructive behavior by allowing that person to escape the destructive consequences of that behavior.
5. You have been victimized, manipulated or used.
6. You have submitted to treatment that makes you feel worthless, treatment tht ignores your Godgiven human value and right to respect.
7. You have been refusing to take a serious look at reality.
8. You have repeatedly endangered your physical health and safety and endangered your life.
Guidelines for the Chronic Victim
1. Do something about your safety.
If you are suffering physical abuse or harassment, inform the authorities, and physically separate yourself from the situation.
2. If you are suffering physical abuse, insist that the abuser get help immediately.
Do not return to live with him until he has demonstrated radically changed character and actions through moral responsibility for his behavior. Accept no apologies or promises of change as sufficient without concrete steps to change and demonstrations of change.
3. Let others help you out of your situation.
Form a support system of concerned, trustworthy friends and relatives, especially among brothers and sisters in Christ.
4. Examine your attitudes about love and trust in regard to the scriptures.
5. Go through a life pattern inventory of how your situation has affected you.