Say Goodbye to an Unhelpful Dependency

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries  

Hide ‘n Seek is child’s play, and does not work so well for emotional wellbeing.  Read on, you may see yourself in Allison, Kaira, or Brent.


Twenty-something Allison* knows the dangers of heroin. She is a recovering addict who has lost loves, years, and dreams. 

She was a high school honor student. Her personality is so charming, it seems impossible for her to not smile or laugh easily. Her family of origin is functional, both parents love her, and they have invested tens of thousands dollars into her recovery.

When I met Allison she was remorseful for her latest fall off the proverbial wagon. She had recently received an acceptance notice from a prestigious university and set her goals for scholastic achievement high. There is no mistaking her intelligence. Yet relapses continue to interrupt her progress.


Kaira* worries. Upon waking in the morning her thoughts immediately race to whether her boyfriend will call that day. Did he stay out late last night? Who was he with?

He does call, berating her for imagined offenses.  Counseled by professionals and friends alike, Kaira chooses to break off the abusive relationship. She tells me she will never reach out to him again, it is over, this time for good. Then she begins to cry and obsessively check her phone.


Brent* likes to count his assets. Surrounded by the “best” life has to offer, he feels incomplete. An unsettled emptiness fills his torso, so he pulls out a credit card. He is temporarily gratified by the freedom to spend what and when he wants. A rush of adrenaline accompanies his purchase, giving him energy and a false sense of hope. He ignores his unmet dissatisfaction.

“Retail Therapy” is a humorous way to describe what for some, is a deep trap. There is nothing therapeutic about escaping into shopping whenever emotions become too uncomfortable.  Like all escape mechanisms, spending  turns our focus from what is crucial for wellbeing toward an instant high, guaranteed to let us down.

It is hard giving up what once protected us from emotional suffering,  even long after the person or behavior begins to cause harm.  Making the exchange for what is real and for a passion for living can take time and require strong support.

Honestly saying goodbye to an unhelpful dependency has to begin with looking forward. Most of my life, certain behaviors offered short-lived relief.  I try not to grieve what did not produce life and strength for me, and choose not to focus on the loss of what was unhealthy and destructive.

Instead, practicing gratitude for opportunities to change allows me to appreciate what actually brings joy. Relationships with loved ones and friends grow stronger. It is a little easier to ask for help. Emotional pain draws me to cry out to God who proves his unfailing love through Jesus each time. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 30:5

Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.



NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

-names and identifying details have been changed

girl in grass pic by MELODI2 , praying hands pic by XYMONAU on





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