Emotional Dependency in Cells

How to identify and break the bondage of dependent relationships.

Patricia showed up without warning one evening with three squirming, unkempt and disruptive children. She was not shy about sharing her needs with our cell, and it wasn't long before this disgruntled woman had our attention. Life seemed impossible for her—overdue bills, rowdy children and an overwhelming marriage to a long-distance truck driver.

In time, we realized that Patricia's problem was not her seemingly unbearable life but an addiction. She was addicted to people and the attention they could give. It was not uncommon for Patricia to spend a whole day stationed in the kitchen of an unsuspecting cell member. She gravitated toward people who showed any interest in her life-controlling problems. As time went on, many couples and individuals who tried to minister to Patricia suffered burnout. No one could ever seem to do enough for her or her family.


A primary function of the cell group is to lend itself to closer, more intimate relationships. But, what happens when these relationships become ingrown or dependent and a destructive bondage develops?

Those who reach out to people overwrought with problems need to recognize that everyone needs to receive love and approval.

Our first recognized source of love and approval is our family. In dysfunctional homes, children are often raised by parents or guardians who are too harsh, too strict, too critical and often unable to be pleased. They control their children through shame and blame, and these children become guilt-ridden, confused about authority, overly responsible or compulsive. They frequently try to please their parents or guardians, but they never seem to measure up. In severe cases of these emotional roller coasters, self-identity ...

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