Is It Bad To Be Codependent?

Have you ever wondered whether you are too dependent on your partner? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines codependency as “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin)” or “broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another”. Of course it is bad to be codependent based upon the first definition; the broad definition is where I believe many people run into trouble.

Codependent is a misleading and often misinterpreted word. I have seen numerous posts on social media basically referring to any relationship where you’re “co-depend” on one another as toxic…that we should have everything in our life together and figured out before we even try looking for someone to date. This thinking is not only a misinterpretation of the word, it is toxic itself.

If you’re waiting until you have everything together and not going to bring any baggage or negative energy into a relationship before you look for one, you’re either going to die single or you’re a liar. No one is perfect. Everyone brings negativity into relationships. Of course if that’s all you’re bringing, that’s a problem. But my fear is that many people buy this lie that we should have everything figured out before we jump or that our partner shouldn’t have any issues.

This attitude breeds a toxic idea that will consume any relationship. If your expectation is that you or your partner should have all their shit together, shame and judgement are going to run rampant in your relationship. Worse, it eliminates the possibility of real love and turns marriage into a conditional contract, ripped up anytime either person makes any major mistakes (which is undoubtedly going to happen because both people are flawed humans).

If you don’t depend on anyone for anything, you are the one with the problem. Humans are built to rely on one another in community. We do need each other. Any healthy relationship is co-dependent in terms of each person relying on the other for some of their needs. A healthy marriage is one of give and take, sharing responsibilities, sacrificing, and putting their needs in front of your own (as long as these are healthy needs).

Being codependent in this way is not weak…it is love. This toxic view that you’re weak or broken or disqualified from a relationship because you are going to “need” or rely on something from that other person is prideful, arrogant, and selfish to its core. Unfortunately, this self-reliance on steroids is killing people’s chance for happiness and love.

The Tragedy of The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Every time I read The Parable of the Prodigal Son I am struck by the behavior of the oldest son. Ever notice how we never really get a resolution at the end of the story? The story doesn’t close with the oldest son saying, “You’re right, Dad. I’m so glad my brother is home – let’s go celebrate.”

My gut feeling is that the oldest son storms away from both his dad and brother, allowing his pride and anger to get the best of him until his resentment grows and turns into hate. It becomes pretty clear by the end of the story that he always did what was right with the expectation of getting favor from his father and an elevated status in the household. As soon as that assumption is questioned by the father receiving the younger son with open arms, the older brother’s real motive comes out.

We often read the story through the lens of the younger brother, relieved that God is a father of love and mercy, ready to receive us back with open arms. What we fail to see, though, is that more times than not we are the older brother – judging and prideful. The younger brother did not just sin against the father; he sinned in some of the worst ways possible. He spat on his father’s reputation so he could have money to have sex with whores and live in squalor.

Most of us in the church have never gone this low. Sure, we’re not perfect, but we’re not included in the lowest wretches of society either. And the pride of every Christian loves God’s forgiveness in his or her own life but scorns it in elsewhere. Don’t believe me? When’s the last time you invited a recovering drug addict, abuser, murderer, rapist over for dinner? Which one of us would have no problem introducing a prostitute to all of our church friends?

You see, God’s love isn’t fair. It’s radical. So radical that it bore nails for people that torture children, rape the innocent, kill for fun. I’m being a bit extreme to make a point. But seriously. Those people have just as much right to the love of God as the most ardent churchgoer. All it takes is for them to recognize their sin and come home like the youngest son did. Ugh. That’s not the kind of grace we like. We like our moments of anger, our quick unclean thoughts, our occasional gossip to be forgiven….But murderers? Rapists? Sadists? Those people need to pay.

And there lies the pride that quickly puts us all in the place of the older brother. Are you happy to see the worst of society in your church? Do you run to embrace them and welcome them home? Or do you wonder what the hell the lady with the short skirt and tits practically out is doing in church? Are you appalled by the stench of liquor on the man sitting next to you?

I relate with the older brother. I hate the fact that God reserves the same place at his table for people who have drifted in sin all their life as for the saintly. I deserve a gold star if I wait in line the whole time and not just cut to the front. That man who killed his wife sure as hell better not get the same reward as me.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a relief but mostly, it’s a tragedy. We all like to think we’re the broken son who gets embraced by his loving father. We can even see God running towards us – smile on his face and his arms opened wide. Unfortunately, for the most part, that’s a fantasy. We’re the pissed off brother in the corner fuming, asking, “What about me?” We’re the one questioning the fairness of love that sees everyone equally. We’re the one saying, “How dare you not give me my due for all the time, energy, and devotion I gave you.”

No single sin disqualifies you from the love of God, but your pride disqualifies God from your love. It is the deadliest and most serious of all sins. Yes, even worse than murder. Maybe not in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of God. It is easy for a murderer to know he is wicked. Blood is stained upon his hands. If he wants redemption, he comes broken. “My God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” But for the “good” pride causes a major blind spot, we come to God with chin up, head held high saying, “I’m not THAT bad.” In order to receive the grace and love of God, you must first know you need it. Pride is deadly because it convinces us that we have nothing to be sorry for, that there’s nothing that we need from God. And paradoxically, the son who never walked away is still the farthest from the father.

The Town Mouse and Country Mouse Love Poem

The Town Mouse and Country Mouse

I was in love with the country,
and she, in love with the city.
We were in love with each other
but were split by the hand of destiny.

She preferred nights on the town
and I, counting country stars.
We woke up side-by-side each morning,
yet the distance between our lives was far.

For what did I know about hailing taxis?
Or her, about forest pines?
Though we surely knew each other's hearts,
our paths were never aligned.

I was alone with the country
and she, alone with the city.
In love but living separate lives
inevitably led to tragedy.

Justin Farley


She is the Sun Love Poem For Wife

She is the Sun

She is the sun rising in the east
rousing me from the heaviness of sleep.
Kissing my eyelids open wide with her light.
Restoring my sight when I've grown blind to beauty,
inspiration once again surging through me;
a vigor vital to my sanity.

It is her dawn that drives
the shadows into the recesses of my room.
Strips the gloom from my skin like soap.
The suds lathered in layers that provide 
a thick hide of protection
from the grime of the world outside.

She is the sun that drives me like a bird to sing
sweet songs of melody tweeting in the morning
perched happily on the wire of love 
content and at peace like a cooing dove
basking in the rays that fall down from heaven. 

Keep me not in the realm of night,
but pour out your bright light
through the dinge and dirt of my window,
so I can see out into the meadow
where butterflies dance fluttering
in a weightless prance through the summer air.

Because you are the sun rising in the east,
and summer ceases without your amber glow.
You are the deliverer of my winter,
the melter of my tundra's ice and snow.

So rise! Rise and awake me, Dawn
from this shadow-land of sleep!
Flood the riverbanks of my heart,
and alight the forest of night dark and deep.

Justin Farley

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Poem About Life Journey and Inner Peace – Adventure

Adventure
Poem About Life Journey and Inner Peace

 Adventures never have destinations.
It's experience that gives us what we need to find.
Leave the need for answers and your expectations
behind you, unpacked from your mind.

Modern life has lost its sense of mystery.
The need to know shatters our sense of awe.
To live out your true purpose and destiny
recognize that, at times, reason can be a flaw.

Don't ask me to explain love.
Or the chemicals released when I look in her eyes.
It's beyond what the human mind can conceive of,
lifeless facts that'll never explain what the heart testifies.

We must stop seeking adventure "out there";
true adventure is a journey of the heart.
The calling to discover, to dare
is where inner freedom starts.

Justin Farley

Baby Smiles – Poem About Parents Love and Raising Children

Baby Smiles
Poem About Parents Love and Raising a Child

Beauty's reflected in your eyes - 
a gift I never thought I'd actualize
in my roller coaster ride of a life. 
But the moment you were born life changed, 
the desires of my heart were rearranged
with you occupying the largest chamber
and given unlimited room to expand.

I knock out rotting walls of old interests daily
every time your eyes are set ablaze
and you smile at me.
With each laugh you set me free,
and I throw another selfish bit of me on the fire
because I desire to be more available to you,
which I can't be if I've already reserved
the moment for myself.

I'm realizing there's more wealth
in the poverty of simplicity
than in the time cards stamped with overtime hours
because you miss out on far too many memories
that time quickly devours.
I'll never get another chance
to watch you grow at this stage of your life.
I'll never be able to earn time back
regardless of how hard I work,
no matter how my investments pan out.
The only interest that pays
is the one compounding in the present moment - 
the more time I invest,
the more laughter I hear and
the more smiles I see.

I'm leaving worldly pursuits behind
because I've found something better
in your little hands,
in your little feet,
in teaching you how to speak,
and even in the mounting hills
of diapers changed
because even in the shittiest moments
I'm learning how to serve
and that may be the greatest education
I could ever receive. 

Justin Farley


Like the Birds in Spring – A Love Poem For Her

Like the Birds in Spring
A Love Poem For Her

I'll follow you like the birds in spring
flapping their wings wherever
their mate goes across an endless sky.
Tweeting a tune of sweet reply
whenever your heart calls me.

I fly to you because your nest is my home.
Roamed restlessly until you beckoned me
and assured me I wasn't perching on this wire alone;
you too were covered in feathers 
that had been ruffled just like mine.

Don't think about winter.
Or whether we'll migrate.
Just say "yes" to an adventure,
submitting to romance's allure,
and leave the rest up to fate.

Sing to me a song of invitation.
May it jump from your heart in jubilation.
Won't you dare me to join in love's game
as you flit into a flight of seduction
begging to be tamed?

I'll follow you like the birds in spring
with a heart that tweets and sings
every time I look into your eyes.
And I promise to keep beating these wings
as long as you want to fly with me across life's skies.

Justin Farley

Dreams Unrequited Love Poem

Dreams

I've seen you in my dreams
splitting through the seams
I've sewed, trying to keep you out.
Pressing play on the same ol' scenes
of what was like a movie classic stuck on loop,
even though I've already swept you from my stoop.
Yet, my dreams teleport my heart
upon this ragged, wooden sloop -
a prison you made for me.
Still stuck upon this sea
with sails that only catch your wind,
a sailor bound in captivity.
I've lost fear of drowning
but feel like I'm burning
beneath a sweltering sun
and despite this intense yearning
for a drink of your waters
my heart knows our tale is done.
Wake up my sleeping heart!
Awake and don't depart!
To resist the reins of impossibility
is a painfully learned art.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Living in Love Poem About Loving Yourself and Others

Living in Love

To live in Love
we must first accept
the imperfection within ourselves
before we can accept
the imperfection in others.

To live in Love
we must first bandage
our own wounds
before we treat
the wounds of the world.

I grant grace to you
in your weakness
to the extent that I allow
God to grant grace
to me in mine...

Such a simple request,
such a simple gesture, 
requires opening
such a tightly clasped lock
by speaking the hardest phrase
known to mankind:
"I need help."

Humility precedes Love - 
you'll never find Love
until you quit trying to fool yourself
into believing you don't need Love.

We grow in grace
by first accepting our mistakes.
Once we grasp the extent
of our own limitations and flaws,
we begin to see
the world, others, and ourselves
as we are - 
flawed and limited
but nonetheless deserving of love.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!