A Story of the Butterfly and Co-dependency | codependency

Is CoDependency A Problem In Your Life?

How codependency and struggle are linked.


A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared in the cocoon.
The man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled
to squeeze it's body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped
as if it couldn't go any further.

So the man decided
to help
the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped
off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch it,
that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body.
Neither happened.

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around the ground.
It was never able to fly.

Here is what the man in his kindness and haste didn't understand:
The butterfly can fly only because it has
to struggle
to come out of the cocoon.
The pushing forces enzymes from the body to wing tips…
strengthening the wing muscles, and reducing body weight allowing it to fly.
This process started with struggle and ended with the butterfly flying the moment it came out of the cocoon.

One of the messages in this story is that the struggle was part of what the butterfly needed to do in order to fly. Without the struggle, the butterfly was destined to crawl around on its belly and probably die an early death.

Life is full of struggles, which I like to call challenges. They hone our skills and make us strong. People who enable other people take this away, and perpetuate codependency…unknowingly. They are well meaning but their intentions create a lot of harm and rarely result in good outcomes. It is painful to watch a loved one struggle with drugs, alcohol, and/or life's daily challenges. However, our job is not to do their work and thus keep them in codependency. That is their job. It is the butterfly's job to beat its wings against the cocoon until it emerges and flies away. Our job is to stand by in support and love remembering that…experiencing dark times can be necessary for transformation out of codependency.

Previous post: