Co-dependent coupledom is enormously common; indeed, it’s a universal temptation. Where one has trouble, perhaps depression, the other is compelled to ease their pain, to make-up for the deficiency, to make life normal again.
Such is the life for the emotionally entwined; spiritually engaged at the level of mind, heart, and soul. And where deficiencies ravage one, the other must compensate.
There is a driver behind it all: guilt.
Anxieties of Guilt
Guilt is a bully working in silence, within our minds, estranging our hearts, paralysing our best efforts with thought for the inept past—theirs or ours (or both!).
If such a horrible influence is given much latitude, it will, moving like malignant cancer, destroy us from within. It will use any available problem as an opportunity to present grief and to render our response ineffectual. It will cloud our judgment. It will swamp our thoughts, dissuading our focus. It will colour our perception in murkiness. Perspective will be hardened and we may never know why. Things will appear wrong without the wherewithal to put them right. This may only further frustrate us; a sinkhole syndrome of visceral anger ensues. And that is dangerous; such hidden anger threatens to spew over containment lines at the least predicted moment.
If anxieties of guilt are not addressed there is a set of secondary emotions deployed: resentment for one; illogical anger for another; just a more complex web of anxiety, however it is manifested.
As our guilt convinces us to compensate we don’t see the better option. The superior, and only correct, compensation is the reconciliatory response of grace.
Such an apportionment of God’s justice is redoubled by grace, two distinct and powerful ways, blessing both people party to the relationship—mutuality is necessary.
A Better Compensation: Grace
Life goes both ways. If grace is to be afforded to people, and that is God’s will, then grace should abound to us as we help and to others as we are helped. How great the blessing—to accept, with grace, our best efforts and others’, too.
‘Best of efforts’ are not to be judged, just accepted. This way, any effort is the best of effort.
Doing this is grace.
Instead of vacillating between the harsh extremes of over-sympathising and angry resentment, we can practice empathy toward others and experience peace within ourselves.
Grace between partners is accepting each other’s best, and our own, despite the problems, insecurities, and the anxieties of guilt that ever bind themselves within us. Grace is the beauty of love expunging the fear in guilt spoiling life.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.