Fixing God - Codependency's Need To Fix

"Codependent Discipleship"

"What is Codependency?"

Nick Galieti and Jennifer Roach discuss their book, Codependent Discipleship. We discuss the interrelationship of codependency with God and with the church, as well as codependency with others.

Codependency can be a type of counterfeit charity. Those with codependency "need" others to need them and then much of their purpose becomes to fix others or situations. Guilt, punishment, and insecurity can all play a role with codependency.

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 Raw Transcript


the atonement didn't come about to make
feel guilty right and
on top of that it did not require a
victim if we look at christ as a victim
then we're putting something on him that
he didn't choose
and then thinking if we're to be like
then that's the version of love we need
to mimic
we need to lose in order for other
people to win
all right welcome to quick show i am
your host greg matson i am with authors
jennifer roach
and nick gilletti who have recent
recently uh
authored the book co-dependent
i want to open up with this guys uh you
open up in your book
by quoting section 88
in the doctrine and covenants 8891 which
says and all things shall be in
and surely men's hearts shall fail them
for fear shall come upon all people
now this is a book about mental health
are you applying
uh the scripture here and saying that
men's hearts shall fail them
and fear shall come upon them to a kind
well to our current circumstances where
it seems to be that mental health is
kind of exploding on the scene anxiety
and depression
are increasing is this
uh a prophecy of of our time and what we
see today you know i
i would say i haven't had my
conversation with either yurum or thumb
okay so i'm not i'm not offering
prophecy or interpretation thereof
but it does seem to be an apt descriptor
some of what we are seeing in the world
and particularly
the way that people are manifesting this
does come through the channels of
mental health so that scripture to me
felt like it was appropriate to share
because when you're talking about um any
it could be how god sees it or it could
be how
man sees it and that's just seemed like
a really good descriptor of how we as
mortals would resonate with what we see
around us in this time
and it's not an end of day's prophecy
but it is certainly like i said a good
description of
the way that at least someone in a
mental health and particularly a
mentality might be feeling and looking
at the world
i think it's very apt um
what you focus on in the book is is
codependency this is something that i
i was not familiar with with look before
looking at the book
what is codependency yeah so
is uh you could roughly call it a mental
health condition
however it's not an official diagnosis
it's not in the dsm
which is the kind of book that
therapists and psychologists use to
mental health disease so it's not that
it's more like a syndrome
it's a collection of symptoms that work
together to produce an effect
and the effect is um
loss of agency more unhappiness um
having your life driven by other
people's agendas being acted upon
instead of being the one
acting it actually the the word actually
comes out of the um
alcoholics anonymous community started
literally to describe people who were
the partner
of someone dependent on alcohol they
were a co-dependent
and um not in not in a helpful way
in a way that actually takes away some
of the consequences
of that addiction so that the addict
themselves didn't have to face it as
they the codependent is kind of the one
who rushes in and solves all their
for them the end result being they can
carry on in their addiction
the definition has morphed and changed
since then they're like there's no one
body who says this is what it is
um one definition that i really like is
it's referred to as the lost self
you you are not acting as yourself
you're acting kind of on other people's
okay so so co-dependency then
because when i first hear it like i
think about interdependence
is my first thought right it's like okay
you're you're you're dependent in a
relationship on each other but it's
it's healthy this is not a healthy thing
right co-dependence is not a healthy
i i want to go over something that you
you have here in the book that i'm going
to quote from the book on
on a little bit of a descriptor here of
codependency it says codependency is
typically defined by a distinct set
of compulsive behaviors that includes
fixing other people's problems taking on
the burdens of others
or managing the consequences that arise
from the actions misdeeds tragedies
or trials of others for whom they feel
i mean superficially you could say well
isn't that just being a good human being
what what is the line between say for
being responsible and
and being codependent with those around
i'll start with that and i know
jennifer's got some great thoughts on
um the word compulsively is a real
key determining factor in deciding what
is codependent and what's otherwise
a healthy rational behavior for for
expressing love or care for someone when
say that something's compulsive we
clearly mean that
it's nothing that per a person has a
choice over they kind of just
do it and they don't know how to
function outside of that much like if
someone was having a chemical dependency
this is a process addiction this is
something where someone
has a need to
to fix other people and to take away
their consequences think of it
some people might even say a helicopter
parent is a term
that might be more familiar to people
where they're constantly striving to
to pull away all the different ways that
someone could be hurt
because if they get hurt then that
becomes another thing they have to fix
and it becomes unmanageable because what
you're doing is not freely chosen
and and again it feels a little
irrational maybe to some people to look
at it that way but
that's kind of the point it is a
compulsive irrational kind of response
yeah it's this idea that unless you can
freely say no to someone
can you actually freely say yes to them
if yes is the assumed answer
every time you're asked for something
and saying no is
going to cause problems what does your
yes actually mean
so when we're looking at codependency
we're looking at the person who is
to say yes and couldn't say no even if
they needed
to it's a feeling that you're required
to help every single time you're asked
matter what is actually going on in your
it's not being able to put up boundaries
with people even
people who might be doing you harm that
that's not um that's not patience and
long suffering to put up with someone
who's actually
like abusing you or harming you in some
way that can be codependency
another version of it is
the person whose own anxiety drives them
to be solving other people's problems
because other people's problems seem
easier to solve to them right i got
problems in my life
they're complicated they're taking me a
long time to work on um
but your problems are nothing like i can
manage your problems no
no sweat but that's not really true
i i can't manage i can't manage your
problems your problems are complex to
but it could make me feel better to
swoop in
and kind of save you from the
consequences of your bad choices so that
that's what we're getting at for
would that also be something that where
someone is afraid of their own problems
right facing themselves and so
it's easier to say well i know i'm
supposed to be doing right i'm supposed
to be doing something
let me go outside of myself and help
somebody else instead
yeah in um so i'm a mental health
therapist in my work
i see this a lot clients who are just
individuals who can't sit inside their
own head
for five minutes because they're too
overwhelmed by their own anxiety
and so they're not actively engaged in
making the world a better place because
that's what the heavenly father has on
the agenda for them that day
they're actively engaged in just trying
to quiet their own anxiety
so we'd be looking at this then as as
you say a compulsive behavior
let me bring this up here you you you
you say this in the book it says
codependency is like
regulating someone else's life and
chaotic emotions
and expecting your life to get calmer
okay is there a sense that controlling
or fixing another person's situation
will bring calm to this person well it's
complicated because
there's a sense in which that actually
for the person like if you have um
that you're assigned to minister to
someone and they have all kinds of needs
that you
are driven that you feel compulsed to
solve their problems for them
you're going to get a little temporary
dopamine hit in your brain
for being helpful to them it's socially
acceptable they're going to be grateful
your church leaders are going to be
proud of you
like there's lots of stuff built around
it that's gonna feel great that's why
people do it
but at the expense of their own selves
it works short term it doesn't work long
term and if i could add to that
real quick um one of the my side of this
is the
experiential i this is my life this is
how i've kind of had to deal with things
through a series of my own life events
from my personal experience one of the
things that
is key here first of all we're not
trying to make angels and demons here
there's people are very complex and at
stages in kind of a spectrum here but
one of the things that i found in my
was that i tied my value very much to
how i
how many people i fixed so if there was
a situation where perhaps
what i was wanting to uh if i started to
feel like i wasn't
a good person if i went and fixed
someone else then i thought
okay at least i'm a good person in that
if i'm a bad father maybe i should go
out and try and help
minister to other people's families
because maybe if i can fix other
people's families
i'm not going to be such a bad father or
maybe people won't look at me as a bad
there just becomes a lot of complex
and really under the surface reasons why
we may
do something or feel compulsive
you know urges or attending anxiety
if we don't do those things and so it's
really hard to see from the surface it's
not something that you should
kind of casually diagnose on someone and
say that
that person right there is codependent
you may be able to
but just because you sneeze doesn't mean
you have a cold and
and some of the things that we're
talking about might resonate on micro
levels but it doesn't mean you are
a co-dependent person is this something
that is in line with
a clinical uh diagnosis then of say ocd
um no so ocd
that the similarity there that you're
picking up on is the
the c the compulsion part of ocd
but in ocd that's repeated tasks
that are intended to quiet down the oh
the obsession
so the classic example is someone who
has to wash their hands exactly 47 times
why are they doing that well they're
doing it
because they have some anxiety and the
anxiety only gets
assuaged after 47 hand washings
it it it's a that's part of codependency
you're doing one behavior to to get rid
of some anxiety
not at the same level as ocd um and it's
it's working with a little bit different
function than ocd is because what comes
to my mind
is is is you know
the non-clinical uh
diagnosis of control freak right
yeah it can be okay it's like because
that's oftentimes someone who who is
ocd or what we would say at least
culturally you know
yeah i've got ocd you know it is someone
who's very much
they need control of the situation maybe
spills out over into their entire
environment therefore it's relationships
in needing to control and fix those that
that are around them that's that's what
kind of comes to my mind yeah
one of our favorite examples is the a
person on social media
who feels compelled to correct
everyone else on their opinions right
the the
well actually um blah blah blah
and and like maybe they're doing it to
look smart but
maybe there's a motivation in there that
says oh i've got to save this person
from their wrong opinion
and save anybody who could potentially
be reading them from from their wrong
opinion and you could just
make yourself create like there's no end
to what you will find on the
on social media of opinions you could
and so it can just stack and spin out of
control for folks
you had mentioned that this had come out
of alcoholics anonymous right these some
of these terms and
and the ideas behind this what how is
how is this on the other side of that
you're talking about actually helping to
fix an alcoholic
but how how is this itself an
addictive behavior well it's addictive
in the same way that
any behavior that can feel good is
addictive right if you
do a pro-social action
your brain is going to release chemicals
dopamine and endorphins and all the
feel-good stuff
and it's intended that way your brain is
trying to get you to repeat
behaviors that feel good so it gives you
a chemical marker a
happiness marker that says do this again
it's good
and there's a lot of dopamine that can
be released in your brain when you're
helping people
it's not the same addictive quality as
something like
alcohol or street drugs would be right
that's going to give you
a whole stew of chemicals at a much
higher level
but this is enough for some people to to
get the feelings of
oh i need to continue correcting people
i need to continue always saying yes
just so that my brain can get the little
chemical hit and be happy
how does well how might
guilt play a role in motivation for this
i i would say that my experience is
feels very similar to anxiety to the
person that has codependency
it's guilt with urgency and and so
when you talk about um like
there was a time in my life that um my
wife had depression for 13 years i was a
real estate agent in 2008
and was which is terrible time to do
that anxious time
exactly i was i had no income
we were losing our house there was
postpartum depression
on top of regular depression and
i found that my world as that scripture
at the beginning described was in
chaos and i felt that my heart was
failing me because
my identity was wrapped up as i'm the
if i'm a good faithful latter-day saint
that pays their tithing
shouldn't i have my temporal needs
managed and taken care of and yet all of
these things
were falling apart around me and
one could honestly say yeah that sounds
kind of urgent
you know if you're losing your house you
need money right there's there's a time
kind of connected to it but the guilt
that came with that was i'm failing as a
i'm failing as a husband because if i
was a good husband my wife wouldn't be
and certain toxic thoughts certain
thought distortions creep
in and cause an anxiety and an urgency
to that anxiety that goes
i need to fix something somewhere
to so that i feel that i have value to
anyone because right now my family life
is failing
my fiscal life is failing and in some
ways you could say my spiritual life
became the only place where i might
have had a chance to influence someone
for good and feel
value so the anxiety became
i need to feel xyz i need to feel
that i have value so i'm going to go
be extra spiritual i'm going to go do
extra home teaching i'm going to visit
more people than anybody else or
whatever it was so a codependent's going
to kind of try and reach out
to wherever they feel they can fix
something so that they
calm a little piece of what's going on
calm a little of the chaos
but also to feel that they have value
you become so desperate to feel that
that the the addiction is such that
even if you do get a little little fix
like any other addiction that fix needs
to grow in order for it to have value
and meaning in your life so
you need to start fixing more people you
need to start doing more things
in order to have that baseline i'm a
good person
and so it can drive you and very
interesting and
perhaps again from the outside
irrational ways
yet the the reason that we talk about
codependent discipleship
is that there are unique ways within our
faith tradition
where sometimes we place
responsibilities and burdens on
as a scapegoat as a way to
fix any of those pains that we might be
and maybe even encourage people to say
if this is happening then this will
solve it
so in my mind i've heard a thousand
of people that get up and say i paid my
tithing and miraculously
a thousand dollars ended up in my bank
account and i was able to make all my
and then we start to equate well if i'm
if i'm paying tithing and i'm not
getting a thousand dollars in my bank
account and i'm not hitting
some spiritual marker therefore i need
to try
and up my spiritual game so that i'm i'm
at a place where god has to bless me
there's no way around it he has to
because i'm this righteous as opposed
to this righteousness and and so
sometimes again we
we equate things and we maybe perhaps
even interpret scriptures
culturally in a way that can feed that
and i'd say globally though codependents
still look for the same things
we just sometimes in our faith tradition
look towards our faith to do that
so let me let me let me interject there
a little bit so let's just say
right any of us because i've gone
through this too i mean you
go through a time of difficulty in your
life i mean my first inclination
and i think it's the right inclination
to turn to god
right and to uh
take an accounting of my life maybe
where am i spiritually and and and
what am i doing and and maybe there are
voids there somewhere right that maybe i
should be addressing
again how do i entangle that between
what you're saying
in in a codependent uh
um compulsive behavior and entangle that
with what
might be a natural righteous spiritual
yeah to anxiety and depression in my
life the codependent way to do that is
you do it in such a way that you're
almost trying to force god's hand
if i check all the boxes then god will
bless me
right you're you're almost treating god
in this codependent kind of way
um instead of saying there's some things
in my life i need to fix
and rather blessings follow that or they
don't i still need to fix them because i
have this relationship the spiritual
does that make sense yeah
it it does in the sense you know again i
still i still
i i understand what you're saying i
guess what i'm fishing for a little bit
here is
um right if there there's there's
certain blessings
that are they're predicated on certain
commandments so to speak and so
maybe i'm looking for that um maybe i'm
expecting that i i
kind of feel like i should expect
yeah i want to i want to expect
i think i should and and yet at the same
um you know i guess i'm trying to to to
divide between
what would be a righteous desire there
and a proper
hope so to speak and i think that that
where some of the complexity lies and
no book or podcast interview can fully
the intricacies of how you got to where
you're at
in your life and maybe why you're
thinking the way you are
um or for for anyone for that matter
but to kind of get at and i think you're
trying to get to is how
how do we not treat god like
the feel-good vending machine how do we
not look at god as the blessings vending
in times of trial and sorrow and stress
i think it's important to understand
that what we're talking about here is
the nature of a relationship
and how an individual views other people
you don't have to be code you you don't
have to be
codependent with something that is
dependent that's how it originally
but the the way that codependency is
used nowadays is it describes rather a
from one person to another person or to
a thing
even to god in some ways so the
the nature of the relationship to god in
that situation
is such where you are viewing god
in a way as to you're here to calm
my anxiety you're here to
fix something for me it's very
and not very relational in the sense of
it's not about faith at that point it's
a spiritual bank account where you're
cashing in your chips
and there's an expectation that you have
on god
and if for whatever reason god chooses
in his infinite wisdom and love
to not bless you in the way that you've
demanded that he bless you
that you're going to see that
relationship is broken you may even have
a faith crisis
and deny the existence of god because he
didn't bless you the way that you wanted
him to bless you but i was righteous
enough why didn't he bless me
well there may be other reasons but it's
so hard to
pick apart that in the moment because of
that anxiety because of that
sense of urgency that we need the
blessing now because we're calming
something in us that isn't based on
faith if there is a faith there we trust
to be there when we need him so as a
part of this then
this behavior this this thought process
this uh need a
it sounds like what you're explaining is
often what is kind of what you've been
explaining before
about those around you it's this
innate desire to fix
right yeah yeah the desire for a
outcome without sort of holding that
loosely like in the example with god
being able to say god is god and
maybe i get the extra thousand dollars
in my account and maybe i don't
it here here's my here's maybe my best
a young man takes a young lady out for
dinner for their first date and he's
he's hoping for a kiss at the end of
that date there's nothing wrong with
that hope
right but if she feels that as pressure
well i bought you dinner i deserve a
little lip
um it ain't gonna happen right like that
like everything just got destroyed it's
if she can't freely um lean into that
or freely not the whole thing is ruined
right it's the
it's the pressure and the expectation
that's exactly yeah okay that that helps
a lot that says exactly what that nick
was saying in the terms of a transaction
versus the relationship you know that
makes a lot of sense okay so we've moved
into the spiritual side of things
here's another quote and this is a
little bit longer but i want to parse
this out a little bit
talking about charity you say charity is
and universal love charity is not
a vehicle for guilt or punishment
nor is charity a drug used to numb the
pains of mortality
yet there are times where we have
extended acts of service
as the means of making ourselves feel
or as some sort of hope that by fixing
someone else
we are hoping to fix ourselves
toward the beginning of that quote again
charity is not a vehicle for
guilt or punishment
you're reacting to something here right
in in your writing here as as
your experiences in therapy i'm guessing
or your personal experiences nick
what do you mean by that charity is not
a vehicle for
guilt or punishment
do you want to take that one nick uh
sure sure
um so
there's also a quote a little later on
that that may be
kind of the bookend to this and that is
love doesn't require a victim
and so what we're talking about here is
understanding that the pure love of
it does the atonement didn't come about
to make us feel guilty right
and on top of that
it did not require a victim if we look
at christ as a victim
then we're putting something on him that
he didn't choose
and then thinking if we're to be like
then that's the version of love we need
to mimic
we need to lose in order for other
people to win
we need to um manipulate
someone by forcing them to feel
guilt to forcing them to feel some kind
of loss
as a vehicle for love and i know that
that can that sounds a little
conflated and and hopefully we can parse
that out a little bit more but
the idea there again is that charity is
where both
are benefited both are are uplifted
um and both are benefited by the
by the relationship
when you love someone with the pure love
of christ your aim
isn't to make them feel guilty about
your aim is to if they feel guilt
would be that they under it's simply an
understanding of
an error but our job is not to impose
guilt it is to help them see and travel
the path to self-improvement and
i think that sometimes we see this with
um we're a parent oh i love my child i
have charity for my child
but we often feel that the way to get
them to change their behavior
is by making them feel guilty we need to
lay out all the terms as to where they
were wrong
because they need to feel guilty first
before they can change
maybe there's a better teaching method
and i believe the charity
loves and invites them into better
behavior rather than guilts them into it
would you would you say that you know we
were talking previously here
then that guilt is a personal motivation
for someone with codependency also
not just that you're trying to lay it on
to somebody else so is that kind of just
kind of
putting out maybe the way i act as a
person where i'm acting out of guilt
that i would i would project that to
somebody else
it can one one helpful
distinction here might be between guilt
and shame
guilt is simply here's the thing you did
you drove 20 miles over the speed limit
it doesn't actually mean
you're bad you're wrong you're you're
anything it means here's a
behavior that you did shame says there
is something wrong inside of me and i
have got to fix it
right and so shane gets played out in
codependency when we're actually
trying to kind of outsource the fixing
trying to fix somebody else to
soothe our shame when when really
it it's us that needs fixing up them
okay um also in that quote
toward the end here uh
there are times where we have extended
acts of service
as the means of making ourselves feel
better or as some sort of hope
that by fixing someone else we are
hoping to fix ourselves
how does this apply to uh
to our church callings how does this
apply to
to operating within the church
i would say that for me one of the
reasons that
codependency is really complex is that
the same actions in one person versus
one person it could be codependent and
the other person it could not be because
the act itself may not be the wrong
thing it may be why we're doing it
so in the case of what we're saying here
if we go into an act of service if we go
maybe moving someone on saturday morning
out of their house or into their house
or whatever active service we're doing
if the idea is my home is such a mess
and that my life is such chaos that the
only time that i'm going
to feel any control or any
value or goodness in my life is when i'm
out doing an act of service i'm going to
everything else and i'm going to go to
that saturday morning move in and i'm
gonna go help someone
because i really need to feel like i'm
doing something good in the world
and so it's not saying that doing
acts of service can't result
in you having good feelings and feeling
like hey that was a good thing
i having a confirmation of the spirit
that what you did was good that's
but it's is that why you're doing it
and a codependent will often look
outside themselves to fix the inside
and that's what we're talking about here
is is that your main goal
can can having that feeling and doing so
much for others to try and fix
them is that something that could
i mean i would imagine could impede
that other person's progress spiritual
absolutely if you are if you are
fixing somebody else's life all the time
you're not giving them the opportunity
to fix their life if you're swooping in
saving them at the last moment like that
might feel
great for you um but they didn't learn
how to solve their problem all they
learned how to do was rely on somebody
else to solve their problem
um it it steals the opportunity of
growth from them
because it seems to me like if that like
like nick was saying it's it's the
that you're doing it the motivation
behind it
that seems to have a lot to do with
uh you know i mean i don't know
metaphysically right spiritually it's
it's that has to do with
who you are and the relationship that
you're creating with that person you're
and i i would add to that in this
particular sense that we are talking
again about something that is
really hard to see on the surface um
it's tends to be something that you have
to kind of grapple with
on the inside but
as as it sits again thinking about um
in the way that we've talked about it
let's add this other layer of the fact
that we're talking about things that are
over responsibility and that means
in some cases fixing things that are not
in your responsibility like
obviously when you have a five-year-old
they're kind of dependent on you and
that's a natural and understandable
area where there is some dependency and
you might say codependency becomes very
easy or probable
because of that relationship where you
start to feel like
i am the parent i have to fix what they
do wrong if they break someone's window
i got to pay for it and and so we're not
talking about
those types of relationships we're
talking about
the relationship where you are
over responsible for things that you are
not really responsible for and when we
talk about
fixing other people's problems we're not
speaking about
the autistic kid that you have to care
we understand that that's natural and
it's complicated and difficult
this is more i am a ministering brother
and i got this guy that i'm ministering
to who isn't active in the church who
isn't coming
to church meetings or participating in
any way
and saying i'm a bad ministering brother
unless that guy comes back to church
unless he somehow has a conversion while
i'm assigned to him
and starts coming back i didn't do my
job and i need to try even harder
to get the end result of that guy coming
back to church
or i'm somehow not a good ministering
and we sometimes conflate
again charitable actions with
codependent actions because they can
look very similar
i want to make sure that we're clear
that we're not talking about
all acts can be codependent it's it's
what you're doing inside that really
is worth exploring and that's what the
book is about and what we're trying to
get to
well that makes sense obviously that
goes right along the lines with the
sermon on the mount for example
right it's it's exactly what christ was
in terms of it's not just the act
right it's what your thoughts are it's
what your motivation is it's what your
heart is which which makes a lot of
okay now i've observed this
being a lifelong member of the church uh
that sometimes
well let me ask you the question can
can we be codependent with the church
in so many ways
um one of the one of the ways that comes
to mind
is the person who feels like
they have to correct the church like
somehow they have the the guidance or
the prophecy or they've received the
direction for
the church um someone who feels like a
policy or a rule change isn't correct
like really railing against that
but you also see it interestingly enough
you see it with people who've left
the church like you know this phrase
they've left the church but they can't
leave it alone
who feel like it's this almost social
justice crusade of i have to let
everyone know
how what terrible terrible policies
these are in the church
and just like
keeps hammering that drum in a in
sort of a feigned attempt but an attempt
i'm going to save all these people who
are being deceived
and now there's on one side of that
sorry nick on one side of that there's
there's again maybe this drive to fix
based on on their paradigm right
is there at all in there because of
their psychology
a cry for help when they're doing that
at all
no comment yes to say that that's a
really hard thing to say
from a distance um to to
paint that kind of a brush on anybody is
really difficult i would say
that oftentimes when you see people
going through a
faith crisis the way that they handle it
can look like a cry for help because
they're putting out there i'm having
this faith crisis
which is not just a private thing it's
i'm making it public
because i either want people on my side
or i need people to help me
fix this dissonance that i'm feeling in
my life
and i can't do it on my own so there is
a cry for help
element to it but i'm not saying that
that is what defines a codependent act
i will say that in in back to what
jennifer was saying that the idea of a
codependent relationship with the church
needing to fix the church or people that
have left and need to save the
people you know that are in the church
there is absolutely a strain to that and
you know bring on the hate mail
but there's absolutely a strain of
codependency in that type of behavior
because you are absolutely not able to
and this is true with a lot of very
vocal anti-church
people they are they can't
function and their identity is
completely wrapped around this idea that
they are
an anti-mormon or they are a an
antagonist to the church
they they cannot function independently
of that
idea and therefore the fixing the
their identity being completely wrapped
up in it it's not just
i think this is a good idea but people
are responsible to choose for themselves
it's i i have to do this my full-time
job my
my social media personality everything
that i
pour my time and energy into is
fixing all of these errors and even
those that are still within the church
who have a major agenda
on certain policy issues can function
the same way
and i know that you've had you know
various guests on to talk about
previous therapists and some of their
outlook on church policies and so on and
i think that maybe even in a in a very
applicable way
there is a sense of codependency in
those types of relationships
because you you cannot seem to function
of of that way of thinking and to allow
people the ability to
choose for themselves and it's like i
said bring on the hate mail if you want
i'm not
i'm not passing judgment i'm not
condemning anyone i'm just saying
that there seems to be certain aspects
of what we're discussing here at play
i will add this this is not a latter-day
saint problem
um i grew up outside of our church i
converted two years ago i've been in
christian churches my entire life
one of the areas where i work is
advocacy work with victims
of clergy sexual abuse so
people who as children are teenagers
were abused by some
protestant clergy member and sometimes
in that space
what you see are people who really want
to advocate for
other victims instead of
spending some years doing the work to
heal their
own broken soul over what happened
um they go they go straight into i want
to be really loud i want to
get attention on this there's nothing
wrong with that in fact it's kind of
but not at the expense of the person
actually being able to heal and find
happiness this is a a religious people
problem not just a latter-day saint
so again kind of almost like projecting
it out to others instead of trying to
deal with it
the the issues yourself a little bit so
sticking on this just for a minute here
you quote a a protestant pastor of the
early 20th century
harry emerson fosdick he's he says real
christians do not carry their religion
their religion carries them
back to the observation of looking at
things sometimes it
seems to me that in what we might call a
values hierarchy
we place the church even above god
if that makes sense in terms of
a relationship and an investment
and and that seems to be you know
somehow the more i invest into the
of maybe relationship with god i am
i am that much more dependent on what i
inside of the church does that make
sense yeah and i i can kind of see where
where you're coming from on that in the
sense of
we are as as
you say we sometimes place our emphasis
and priority on
church rather than god and that becomes
a really interesting
almost paradoxical to some people
because they place them at opposite ends
of somehow a spectrum and yet i think
my personal feeling is that god has
authorized this church to
be his the the method the plan
the administrator of the ordinances
under which
we do develop that relationship with him
i don't think that i find them to be
disjointed where we can place an undue
priority there
is certainly where we have abandoned the
idea that a person can have a
relationship with god
even if they don't read their scriptures
every day for 30 minutes
and do come follow me and so on
sometimes we
we unders we forget that people are on
that path
and they're at a different point in that
path and
therefore we force the church
at the level we're at onto the level
where they're at
and that may not work and so i think
we do prioritize or emphasize the church
in ways that
isn't facilitating a relationship with
i don't blame the church for that and
frankly i don't blame the people for
doing that because
that's just where they're at even in a
way but
i do feel that there is um
there are times where we do understand
have our relationship with our faith
where it is the thing that is lifting us
um i think part of the quote there is is
more on the idea of not having our faith
be this
thing that we tuck in a knapsack and
carry around and is a burden that we
but rather that the religion itself in
christ's gospel is designed to lift us
um and so it's it's a little less about
our relationship
with the church as much as it is about
making sure that our relationship with
the church is leading us to god
okay yeah i guess i guess for me as i
look at it i
i see the church i see a way that you
can be
codependent with the church and and
not you talk about it being on the
opposite end of the spectrum the church
over here and
and got over here i might say well they
might may not be on the opposite
opposite in the ends of the spectrum but
maybe they're not
i guess i don't see them as exactly the
same thing right in in the sense that
um i see the church as
support i see the church as a means
but i don't see the church as the end
right it's not the goal it's not the end
it is
the the end to me is the family and the
relationships we have
and our personal spiritual progress and
our relationship with god and if we're
moving toward him
and the church is there to help us
accomplish those things and so if i put
too much dependency only on the church
right that is there to support me in
that in that goal
then you know i don't know in my mind i
kind of see like well
i'm putting i i i think there has to be
a separation of value there
that's all i'm saying it seems to me
like there has to be a separation of
between my relationship and investment
in the church
and my relationship and investment in
god even though the church is what
supports that
does that make sense at all to you i
think i understand where you're going
with it
um i i if i'm i want to make sure i
understand what you're saying
are you saying that we might like a
therapist with me right now but that's
i'm just trying to understand so it
sounds to me like you're using the
analogy of
i'm in los angeles and i need to get to
new york
i can walk there but if i have a car
i'll obviously get there much faster
safer and
all those kinds of things and for you
we're in l.a god is in new york the
church is the car
is that i would say it would be the
other way around as far as la new york
but that's that's okay but totally
totally understand um i wouldn't even
put new york on the map
but that's a whole nother issue um so
the idea though is is we're seeing it as
a vehicle
to get us from point a to point b is
that how you're viewing it well the only
difference i would say is that there is
only one way to get there so the car
would be if the car was the only way to
get there
then yeah i would see it that way and
that it was sanctioned and
built and created by god for us to get
to him
okay and we could choose whether or not
to get in the club exactly or not
exactly there you go
and and i think that that if if we're
going to play with that analogy a little
um we might say that codependency looks
like you trying to shove
everybody you can in the car and then
you getting behind the car and pushing
that makes sense so so
thinking like i'm gonna fill this car up
and i'm gonna push it
is essentially saying god didn't build a
very good motor
or there's no fuel in the tank so i have
to push it
that's where codependency comes in when
it comes to your relationship
to the faith if that metaphor works and
jennifer's probably going
let me think about that i'll say but
but that'd be probably the best way that
i could describe it
interesting okay you bring up
lehi's words of to act and to be acted
and this is a theme that i have found as
i've gone
in the last six weeks or so here of of
of talking with other therapists and and
kind of where the industry
therapy is going and how much does
play a role in in codependency
on both creating a victim that you need
to help perhaps
and being a victim yourself or having a
victimhood mentality yourself
you can't see it because my hands are
off the screen but it matters this much
okay yeah the
the whole idea that um some kind of
status comes with victimhood it's some
kind of
special category that should receive um
it's special privileges in some way it
just it's baffling to me as a therapist
um people come to therapy when they're
ready to come to therapy
they come because they're trying to get
out of
of being a victim your your life can be
a lot better than thinking of yourself
as oh gosh i just have to say yes to all
these things like
um it's not a great way to live
i don't know if i'm answering your
question um
we said that before that love doesn't
require a victim
but yet the most of the social causes
most of the
people that are victims of some system
um their war cry is
love and yet at the same time they're
what they're saying is i am a victim
you must love me or
you are a bigot you are a racist you are
this you are this so they're setting up
the terms
under which they can essentially be
loved as a victim
or they are creating another situation
where someone can come and save them so
that they feel that same
hit what one of the examples i use a lot
with people in therapy is
it's kind of like if there's a big wind
and your neighbor's tree falls onto your
property and
smashes your roof smashes part of your
your neighbor's responsible for that
they they they bear the responsibility
it was their tree
that fell but you're still the one who
has to get your house fixed
you're still the one whose stuff all
just got wet because it got rained on
you're still the one who
maybe you got a physical it may maybe
the tree fell on you and broke your leg
you're still the one who has to go to
physical therapy
other people might be responsible for
hurting you but you are responsible for
your own
healing not outside of community not in
isolation not without help
but but you're the one who has to move
from the being hurt and towards
wholeness that's the whole point of
okay again i'm going back to the idea of
motive and what's in your mind and
what's in your heart i
i based on what you're saying there i
still think that
talking about someone who is grabbing on
to victimhood
looking for love in a
in not a healthy way as is what you're
is still in some regard a cry for help
it seems to me right it's a super
ineffective cry for help
if you want help there's better ways to
get help i think that's what we're
trying to say
yeah i'm just i'm referring to president
oak's talk at byu maybe a month ago
where he was you know he's talking about
the george floyd thing the black lives
matter and all these things going on and
how many of these people when we look
that are are a lot of it
he says look it is he thinks a cry for
help in some regards
to some degree maybe it's not effective
it's probably not motivated properly
it's not healthy but
i i do think in some ways maybe we can
look at that as is a little bit
of of a cry for help now
we're becoming much more of a a as you
were saying our society
here in in the us especially and in the
west a little bit overall
we're victims we're becoming more and
more a society of victimhood
and where we're placing a higher and
higher degree of value on being a victim
and this in fact even gives us status
we can we can look at intersectionality
in the totem pole of
of where our victimhood is standing
and compare ourselves to others and
wonder well i need more value i need
more love
and and therefore how do i create higher
levels of victimhood in myself to be
able to get there does this mean
if we're tying these together in some
regard victimhood and codependency
that as a nation in the u.s and maybe
more broadly in the west we're becoming
as a society more
i think so um i i would say that i think
we're kind of programmed that way
and part of that comes from like for
example i'm not going to rail on this
from one side or the other but pick a
news station
pick one of the major news stations and
watch it
and watch it with the idea of who's the
that they're talking about and who's
responsible to fix it
now it's it's not something that i
i encourage because it's disheartening
it's a painful experience and as a
co-dependent it really
makes my you know it kind of triggers me
a little bit which is the idea right
i think that people need to feel good
about themselves that's kind of an
inherent almost human thing
and i think that some of these news
programs for example
will spend all of their time we might be
talking about negative stories
they're really stories of some victim
somewhere and it could be a big group of
or it could be a small group of victims
but they're all victims
because that means that someone did
something to them and so when you're
trying to review
how that relationship is like i said
watch the news see who the victim is and
who's responsible to fix it
and by and large everyone's a victim and
everyone's responsible to fix
it that's why when you're talking about
a war in the middle east between two
different countries
all of a sudden we as americans go we
need to have an opinion on this
we need to do something about it why
those two countries are the ones
fighting it is their battle
they've chosen for some way or another
to get into that fight
it is not our fight and it doesn't mean
that you know and here's what the war
cry will be
almost by programming but if we do
we're as guilty as the people involved
no we're not and that's the lie and so
but you'll hear from the news stories
this politician isn't taking a stand on
this or this politician did
and you're instantly required to have an
opinion on it
it's it's it's programming us to always
have an opinion about everything
and that opinion is how are we going to
fix it
and ultimately that is what every social
cause right now can probably be boiled
down to
and where every narrative that you see
out there
is based on this idea of i'm a victim
come save me and if you're not
eventually you're gonna hear
i'm not doing anything i'm not doing
enough i'm a bad person so i'm gonna
have to figure out some cause to jump
so that i put that guilt away so i
personally and i'm not a therapist
and i'm certainly not at liberty to
paint a broad brush on every person
but i would say that this is an issue
that i see growing
and i see that the programming of the
world is such that it will continue to
because it continues to get power it
continues to have control
and every person continues to become
on what's the next crisis what's the
thing that i can do where there's
someone i can save
and i need to quickly post about it oh
this this group
has been bullied i need to quickly post
about it because otherwise i'm not a
good person
and it gets to be overwhelming and
people will break down
they will go into depressions on the
rise wonder why
things like that become much more
the cause and effect makes much more
sense to me
when i can view it in the lens of
codependency because of the victimhood
thing that you just mentioned
it's a terrible situation for actual
victims because what it sets up is this
idea that if you can
get public attention that's what solves
what's what's wrong with you because
you've been hurt um
my picture has been on the front page of
my hometown newspaper
probably one dozen times um in regards
to the sexual abuse that i experienced
at the church where i grew up
the very first time that happened um
the next day like like what like what
did they say like
what's the line from newsies like today
it's the newspaper tomorrow you're
wrapping up fish with it like
the next day it's gone they're on to
some other story they're
that's not gonna heal you if you're a a
person who's actually suffered something
you have to do
the work that takes decades it's done in
private it's done very quietly it's hard
it's not getting your
face on the front page of the paper
ain't hard
i mean if we look at codependency and
and that rising up in in society what
also goes back to is saying well if i
need to fix everything
and and we and yet we've put a higher
level of of
status on victimhood then when someone
say for example
because we're going more toward that
direction starts having more
microaggressions right or or is
triggered by microaggressions
because it's more and more okay this
little thing i'm another i'm a victim
right i'm a victim i'm a victim on this
and then we facilitate that
it's a little addicting for some people
yeah i mean
when we facilitate it it's just it's
just giving more and more rise
to that status it seems yeah
and it doesn't help actual victims that
is not what heals you
okay how does codependency relate to
social media
um i i don't know if you've what's the
name of that movie that came out on
netflix the social well i'm trying to
remember what it is there was a movie
social network um not the social network
not about the creation of facebook but
kind of this dilemma
if you watch that again but with the
idea of codependency it'll stick out a
lot more because what they're doing
is they're creating a dependency on
their platform
and so when something is dependent on
which their entire business model is
dependent on you
interacting with them on a regular basis
they have to do whatever is necessary to
create that dependency
and it's a great business model in the
sense that it's very successful and
if they are able to convince everybody
that they cannot function without them
that's fantastic but again if you'll
by by platform you will see some people
splintering off to different platforms
based on
how much they feel that that platform
needs them for example
i spend more time now on instagram
because i like to just see
pictures i don't like to get into
debates i don't like to get into the
long comment sections and
all the problems the second i flip over
to facebook
it is this politician's an idiot for
what they believe
it's this social problem happened
oh look at the coveted problems in india
look at this
war you could probably go through your
and count at least 12 issues daily
that someone is putting out there as the
thing that you need to have an opinion
and your opinion may just fix the
nobody's opinion is going to fix the
problem but the whole platform is based
on people thinking it will
and and so that that's my personal take
on it i know it sounds a little bitter
and kind of you know i don't i i'm on
social media
so it's not like i'm trying to trash it
completely i'm just saying that i do
believe that
many people interact with it in a way
that promotes
this codependency well of course
manifesting that codependency
it seems to me on social media would be
i i again i'm i'm making sure i
i'm putting out the right words you know
is what's often called virtue signaling
i'm putting that out there
i'm getting the love back and and uh
um by expressing my opinion on
everything i'm helping to fix it
and cancel culture can be another
manifestation of that not always
but it can be it could be this person
said something
that i don't agree with but i think that
their statement is so negative and so
to other people that i need to make a
campaign i need to absolutely
pour all my weight into making sure that
everybody i know
doesn't ever pay attention to that
person again and that they have
you know no chance of working again in
the industry that i love
or whatever it might be when you think
about that you go
name a perfect person everybody says or
does something
that's going to upset someone if you you
constantly be exercising
something from your life just because
they've said something you don't agree
with but it becomes
again more than that the idea that we
need to absolutely shut someone down
you know this isn't a political legal
thing sure you have the right to do it
i'm not saying you don't have the right
to do it
but i'm saying is it the right thing to
do is it the healthiest way can you just
you know watch that television show
that's produced by the guy that molested
can you just not watch the cosby
routines anymore
you know can you can you just not do
those things yourself
or do you absolutely feel compelled one
hundred percent
to tell everybody that they need to also
do the same thing to follow your
because your behavior is the right
behavior that's going to fix the
and this will never happen again in the
future because we cancelled this last
it's it's it's it's a codependent
response in my mind
so so then uh hate mail goes to i know
no so so then for example the more we
activism as an example that goes along
with codependency
it seems right it's saying saying i'm
going to i can it's saying it's saying
i'm going to be
more active in this because i need to be
solution i need to fix the problem
i think it's the level to which what
your solution
forces other people to live a certain
so there is nothing about the church
that is forced
right you cannot force anyone into the
celestial kingdom
they have to choose their way there
god's way is ultimately that he wants
his children to choose him to choose the
ordinances that are performed on their
to choose all of this and i think that
part of what happens with certain levels
of activism and advocacy
is this person wants to live their life
their way
now everybody needs to accept it by law
and be punished if they don't and so on
and so forth
and so it's not about letting people
it's about forcing people into an
outcome and forcing them
by way of expectation of this is how i
behave i'm expecting everybody else to
behave it
and you will be forced by way of law to
do it
so that to me is the extent that that
that's how i view it and that's i i'm
not sure if again i can speak on
like a clinical level to that but that's
how i view it
okay so finishing off here um
how does someone recognize codependency
in themselves
in those around them how
what it what do you do to start changing
and how will that affect your life
um let me just jump right to how do you
changing that you press into the concept
of agency
can you actually say no is that a
legitimate choice because if it's not
then your yes is out of compulsion
god did not create us to love him out of
compulsion right that's not god's plan
um pressing pressing into that concept
um can sort a good deal of this out
especially on the spiritual level
um in our book there's sections of
questions after after every major
section that are intended
excuse me to ask for people to ask
themselves like
is this you is this going on um so
so if you if you really want to press
into that
firework on amazon and there's lots and
lots of questions in the book about it
i i can say that in myself i didn't have
the ability
to self-diagnose and i think it might be
really difficult for a codependent to
self-diagnose we can diagnose other
people like nobody's business
but self-diagnosing i think is a is a
real hard problem
because there are so many thought
distortions going on
that center around this concept and this
kind of
tag phrase when other people get better
then i can get better so
we are constantly and mostly
wrapped around other people's problems
to the degree
that we can't see it in ourselves and
there may be even a
fair amount of self-denial in that place
we'll tell ourselves i'm not broken
because if i was broken i would i would
not be able to fix other people
but i'm constantly fixing other people
so i must not be broken
again it's a thought distortion type
thing so i would say maybe perhaps
if there's any parts of what we've
talked about today that has resonated
you personally not with oh i could see
that someone else
i could see that in that person oh my
bishop has got it loaded
if you've got a situation where any part
of it has resonated with yourself
we would encourage you aside from
getting our book and maybe taking some
of the self-assessment stuff that we
have in there
it's okay and encouraged to talk to a
mental health therapist and say
i heard this podcast and you know
the host has an amazing pink shirt and
so i'm going to listen to him
because i trust people in pink shirts
he said i should check out the idea of
and my own life and that therapist will
be able to
be the impartial third party where they
can look at your life in your decisions
and say you know what i wouldn't call
you a codependent
but maybe you have some areas where you
express some codependent tendencies
or they might say well you're loaded
with it thanks for coming in let's start
i mean they probably wouldn't use that
term but i i think it might be asking
too much of the codependent themselves
to self-diagnose it but
hopefully and i can tell you this from
my own personal experience
that when it was first presented to me
i had a very difficult time coming to
grips with the idea that i could get
because if i got better than i wasn't me
and that's very scary it's incredibly
so but i am
so much more who i want to be
now that i have addressed it and now
that i've been dealing with it for a few
years now and recovering from it
i feel freer i feel more in control of
who i
am and i know we use the term a lot in
the church of
selflessness being selfless but i think
that the idea of christian discipleship
as opposed to
codependent discipleship is where we're
able to
self-full give where we are giving
as a more whole person where we are able
not just try and give you drops from a
nearly empty bucket
but we're able to help people with
more of a full person and with more
strength and
and can be anchored in that and i think
even elder uchtdorf talked about helping
people from
you know watering from empty buckets in
a general conference talk and i think
this is what we're talking about
is understanding that we are inviting
people to greater power to be a
christian disciple we are inviting them
to a lifestyle that is more in harmony
with the doctrines
of agency and honors the gifts that god
has given us
and just like in the oath covenant of
the priesthood we are not
to compel people we are not to be
overbearing and
have unrighteous dominion we are to love
we are to invite we are to encourage we
are to support and sustain one another
but it doesn't require us owning other
people's problems
in order to get there and again that can
be very scary because as a priesthood
holder and
how many times are we told that you are
a priesthood holder and
therefore you easily jump to how many
people do i fix
how many people do i save who is my
responsibility who do i minister to
and make sure that they get to the
celestial kingdom otherwise somehow i'm
a bad minister and and there's just
sometimes culturally where we make this
thought distortion leap into well this
is the doctrine so
therefore it must mean that i need to
behave this way and that's the
distortion we're trying to address and
deal with
and i feel like that it's possible
um but you oftentimes will require
someone outside of you
to to get there and that's one of the
hardest things for a codependent to do
because now we're dumping on other
people that's what it looks like
we're dumping on other people to fix our
problems which is the very thing that we
the very thing that's controlling our
lives so why would i turn around and do
that to someone else
you're not dumping this on your
therapist you're still taking ownership
of it you're just
asking for their help to get there
very good jennifer any last words
no thank you for having us on this is a
fantastic fun conversation
yeah i love how you really tested us on
these things that's great i love it
good good good well it's interesting
right it's interesting stuff so they are
nicoletti and jennifer roach authors of
the book that just came out last week
co-dependent discipleship look it up on
amazon and buy it i think you're going
to enjoy it
appreciate both of you and your time and
your efforts and
your thought process in putting us all
together thank you

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