Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself Info

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The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by
one of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the
key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold
on your life.


Is someone else's problem your problem?
If, like so many others, you've lost sight of your own life in the
drama of tending to someone else's, you may be codependent--and you
may find yourself in this book--Codependent No More.The healing
touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America's
best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding
codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.


With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and
self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward,
readable map of the perplexing world of codependency--charting the path
to freedom and a lifetime of healing, hope, and happiness.


Melody Beattie is the author of Beyond Codependency, The Language
of Letting Go, Stop Being Mean to Yourself, The Codependent No More
Workbook,
and Playing It by Heart.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself:

3

Aug 20, 2007

Found this really helpful. I bet it could help you, too. In fact, I will loan you my copy. Even if you don't want it. Or I could buy it for you, even though I can't afford it. Don't walk away! I'll give you $20 if you read it. I know it will help you. You need help. Don't worry about me. I'm fine. Now.
4

Nov 04, 2008

This is the book that started it all. I know it is cliché but, this book has changed my life and my thinking…

I was talking to my father on the phone one day and I was explaining to him how I have no problem exercising and eating right when Otty is gone but I can’t seem to keep it up when he is home. My father then asked me if I wanted to know what that was called…he told me it was called co-dependence and that I should start learning about this by reading a book called Co-dependent No More. I This is the book that started it all. I know it is cliché but, this book has changed my life and my thinking…

I was talking to my father on the phone one day and I was explaining to him how I have no problem exercising and eating right when Otty is gone but I can’t seem to keep it up when he is home. My father then asked me if I wanted to know what that was called…he told me it was called co-dependence and that I should start learning about this by reading a book called Co-dependent No More. I pretty much ran out right away and purchased the book.

Now, I have never been a big advocate for self-improvement books, but I have to say that this book was very enlightening. Co-dependency has a different definition for everyone. This book made me delve into my own retched thoughts and confront them head on.

This book made me realize that I have a voice and an opinion and both matter just as much as the next person. I realized that I can make decisions and not have to worry if my opinion is what other people may think or want. My opinion is exactly that…my opinion. It is okay to have an opinion that is different than someone else’s.

I also learned that I need to detach myself from the people in my life that cause me harm…emotionally, physically, doesn’t matter…

Though I may not struggle with an abusive alcoholic, I still struggle with the internal doubts and feelings of self worthlessness. I have learned that I do not need to immerse myself so deeply in someone else’s life that I lose myself. I can keep my individuality while sharing my life with another. If we have conflicting views…that’s alright.

When I first read this book, I figure that I would not post my feelings about it because they were too personal. However, now having some distance from the book and being able to employ the lessons I have learned, I am able to share myself with others.

I am not perfect and it is absolutely acceptable for me to let other people know this. Maybe, by sharing these thoughts, someone else might be inspired to read this book and better themselves as well.

...more
2

Dec 22, 2011

I knew this was a classic of the genre, but I found myself unimpressed by it. Maybe I came at it with the wrong expectations? I was thinking of "co-dependency" in a more generic sense — say, the way a married couple can be enmeshed and lose their boundaries with each other. Beattie's book instead seems dated to me, bound up as it is with the classic origins of the term "co-dependence" in the partners of alcoholics.

For me, the constant references to alcohol and Al-Anon grated on me, as did I knew this was a classic of the genre, but I found myself unimpressed by it. Maybe I came at it with the wrong expectations? I was thinking of "co-dependency" in a more generic sense — say, the way a married couple can be enmeshed and lose their boundaries with each other. Beattie's book instead seems dated to me, bound up as it is with the classic origins of the term "co-dependence" in the partners of alcoholics.

For me, the constant references to alcohol and Al-Anon grated on me, as did mentions of her religious persuasion. Yes, she nodded to spirituality, but in the end, this was an unabashed God-led Twelve-Step book. This was not what I came for. I was also unimpressed by her denigration of therapy.

I have preferred Pia Mellody's Facing Love Addiction for better coverage of this topic. I'm also keen to read Leslie Irvine's Codependent Forevermore, which is an even-handed critique of CoDA and the recovery moment in general.

For any men reading this review (I can't imagine there will be too many), I will give my strongest recommendation to Dr Robert Glover's No More Mr Nice Guy, which is essentially a co-dependence book aimed at men. ...more
5

Apr 03, 2009

What I learned from this book? Good grief! I learned soooooo much! This book opened my eyes to the path toward self-discovery, self-love, and learning how to deal with difficult relationships. I very highly recommend this book, not just for people who live with an alcoholic, but for anyone who is trying desperately hard to fix a bad relationship, whether it's with your spouse, your parents, your children...with anyone you love. I learned how my upbringing has the power to wreck my current and What I learned from this book? Good grief! I learned soooooo much! This book opened my eyes to the path toward self-discovery, self-love, and learning how to deal with difficult relationships. I very highly recommend this book, not just for people who live with an alcoholic, but for anyone who is trying desperately hard to fix a bad relationship, whether it's with your spouse, your parents, your children...with anyone you love. I learned how my upbringing has the power to wreck my current and future relationships if I let it. I learned how to let go of the unfixable...that the only person I have any control over is myself. I learned that I can let go of all that free-floating guilt that I never earned. What a relief! The tenets of this book are so simple...you wonder why you didn't think of them yourself! But the truth is, Ms. Beattie writes in such a simple, straight forward way that even though you may have heard much of this before, you never really processed it. At least that was my experience. I wish I had read this book years ago! ...more
5

May 29, 2008

I thought I knew everything there was to know about co-dependency, but this book took it above and beyond my prior misconceptions. For anyone who has experienced emotional martyrdom and excessive guilt surrounding self-care issues, this is a necessary read! Beattie breaks down unnoticed learned behavior that's passed down through generations, behaviors that are often a result of living with an alcoholic parent or person with dysfunctional coping mechanisms. Although I wasn't directly affected by I thought I knew everything there was to know about co-dependency, but this book took it above and beyond my prior misconceptions. For anyone who has experienced emotional martyrdom and excessive guilt surrounding self-care issues, this is a necessary read! Beattie breaks down unnoticed learned behavior that's passed down through generations, behaviors that are often a result of living with an alcoholic parent or person with dysfunctional coping mechanisms. Although I wasn't directly affected by addictive issues in the family, growing up a triplet created some of the exact same self-sacrificing behavioral patterns that are talked about in this book. It's pretty amazing for anyone who has struggled to figure out why they often put others first but feel guilty taking care of themselves. ...more
3

Oct 28, 2012

practicing what I preach.

I gave it three stars because I read the entire book, and I'm still codependent. I was sort of hoping this would like, cure me. Fix all my issues, sort of like the knight and shining self-help book I've always been waiting for. But it didn't immediately read my mind and meet my needs, and I was crushed. I thought, maybe if I am a better reader, it will be a happier book and then all my dreams will come true. So I tried to be perfect, I ignored all it's flaws, and I put practicing what I preach.

I gave it three stars because I read the entire book, and I'm still codependent. I was sort of hoping this would like, cure me. Fix all my issues, sort of like the knight and shining self-help book I've always been waiting for. But it didn't immediately read my mind and meet my needs, and I was crushed. I thought, maybe if I am a better reader, it will be a happier book and then all my dreams will come true. So I tried to be perfect, I ignored all it's flaws, and I put all it's needs first ... Everything. Nothing worked. I became angry and embittered, became passive aggressive, made empty threats. I was ten different kinds of needy. Then one day, I had enough, and I gave up. I set some boundaries, started to detach with love and take care of myself. I learned how to stop controlling self-help books and start caring for myself. ...more
3

Feb 28, 2008

Taken from my blog at http://blog.geekuniverse.org/2008/02/...

In case it isn't already clear, I'm talking about two separate books here. One book is titled "Codependent No More" and the other is "Beyond Codependency." I picked them up at the library after hearing the term codependent used in The Emotionally Abusive Relationship. I've been interested in learning about the concept in the past and never gotten around to it.

So what is codependency? The term was coined originally to describe spouses Taken from my blog at http://blog.geekuniverse.org/2008/02/...

In case it isn't already clear, I'm talking about two separate books here. One book is titled "Codependent No More" and the other is "Beyond Codependency." I picked them up at the library after hearing the term codependent used in The Emotionally Abusive Relationship. I've been interested in learning about the concept in the past and never gotten around to it.

So what is codependency? The term was coined originally to describe spouses of those dependent on alcohol or other drugs. For example, we'll say a woman is married to an alcoholic husband. The husband, dependent on the alcohol, is hampered in his ability to overcome alcoholism because of his codependent wife.

This does not mean the wife is an alcoholic and it does not mean she approves of the alcoholic's behavior. It means that her warped way of coping with that stress actually enables her husband's problem. She might try to ignore the problem, or try to solve the problem herself, or cover up for her husband--but whatever her behavior, she is actually taking responsibility for his behavior or her shoulders. She is an enabler--she makes it easy for him to be an alcoholic. When the problem gets worse and worse and the wife doesn't understand why, she's bound to feel hopeless, helpless, angry, stressed and probably bitter.

The term is now used in a more broad sense: you can use the term (or concept or ideas or paradigm, if you don't feel the need to use the latest pop culture terminology) to describe one who feels compelled to help others to the point of hurting themself and the intended compassionate recipient. The best line is these two books is that codependents do "all the wrong things for all the right reasons."

One of the most interesting, and least explored, concepts covered in the chronology or pattern of behavior. Here's my take:

First, the codependent is essentially a victim of somebody else's addictive or destructive behavior. As such, they are to be pitied and helped.

Next, the codependent tries to figure out how to cope with a situation that is not their fault and they have no control over. The natural instinct is to try to gain some control over the situation. But instead of doing it the healthy way--controlling themself by setting boundaries and knowing how to enforce them--they try to control the other person by "helping" them in various ways.

Lastly, when the problem gets worse and worse, the codependent becomes angry, bitter and dejected as a result of their failed attempts to gain some level of control over a situation that was already impossibly difficult to deal with. It is at this point that a codependent becomes an ugly force to be reckoned with. As they bounce between the second and third phase, they may play a Jekyll & Hyde game appearing intensely angry and controlling at some moments and at other moments seem to be the kindest, most giving person possible. It is at this stage that the original victim can become abusive.

At first, most people will be naturally drawn to a codependent because of the codependent's ability to give and give and give and give. When it eventually becomes apparent that the charitable behaviors are actually a warped way of controlling the world around them, a psychologically healthy person will turn the other direction and run as fast as they can. They will be able to sense inherently that their boundaries are being infringed on in a subtle and destructive manner.

I spent a lot of time pondering the conflict between charity and codependency, and wondering if I could really bring this book in line with my religious views. I'll save that for a separate blog entry. I also pondered my own tendency toward codependency. Did I learn behaviors that have been passed down through the generations? Or do I have some trauma I am dealing with in my life? Whatever the answer, my New Year's Resolution is to stop worrying about other people and learn to love and accept myself. So far, it's feeling fabulous and I think it is helping me to be more charitable toward others, rather than less charitable.



Okay, enough of explanations. I thought the concepts covered in these books were eye-opening and instructive. I think it's a great paradigm to explore. However, I think a better book could be written. Codependent No More is essentially the Go To book about codependency. I found it well written, but somewhat rambling and repetitive. (Somewhat like this blog?) Just as I found myself intrigued by a concept, the author would go into some lengthy story that only partially made sense to me, as somebody who has never dealt with an alcoholic or chemically dependent person. I actually enjoyed Beyond Codependency more because it dealt more with solutions to the problem than lengthy descriptions. Once I "got it," I "got it" and was bored with further detail in the first book.

I found myself wishing for a book that was written for a wider audience and in more broad terms, with less focus on the alcoholism angle. As it turns out, I found the perfect book by accident. I saw a book at Deseret Book titled "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better" and was reminded of the codependency angle. So I bought it on a whim. It's exactly what I didn't realize I was looking for and it'll be up next in this four-part series of Self Help book reviews.

For more information about codependency:

According to Mental Health America (some random website I found online, which described it better than most) the symptoms of codependency are:

An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others

A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue

A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time

A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts

An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment

An extreme need for approval and recognition

A sense of guilt when asserting themselves

A compelling need to control others

Lack of trust in self and/or others

Fear of being abandoned or alone

Difficulty identifying feelings

Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change

Problems with intimacy/boundaries ...more
4

Aug 12, 2018

A very helpful and important book about co-dependency. The author speaks kindly and is supportive and there are lots of practical suggestions too. My criticisms would be that it seems very dated in places, and she does like to use the word "God" when I would've preferred her to use Higher Power, however, that should not diminish the significance or importance of this book. There is no mention of CoDA either, so I am guessing as an organisation, it did not exist when the book was written. It's a A very helpful and important book about co-dependency. The author speaks kindly and is supportive and there are lots of practical suggestions too. My criticisms would be that it seems very dated in places, and she does like to use the word "God" when I would've preferred her to use Higher Power, however, that should not diminish the significance or importance of this book. There is no mention of CoDA either, so I am guessing as an organisation, it did not exist when the book was written. It's a good start, for those who feel definitions and explanations of the term and actions around co-dependency are needed and is very helpful. Recommended ...more
1

Feb 21, 2014

When the author said she didn't come at this from a scientific background I was willing to overlook that until she got to the traits of codependency. If you're going to write a long list with multiple categories and then proceed to contradict yourself (sometimes within the same category) it's going to lower your credibility for me substantially (ex: Under Misc: "Codependents are extremely responsible" and right beneath it "Codependents are extremely irresponsible". This is not the only example When the author said she didn't come at this from a scientific background I was willing to overlook that until she got to the traits of codependency. If you're going to write a long list with multiple categories and then proceed to contradict yourself (sometimes within the same category) it's going to lower your credibility for me substantially (ex: Under Misc: "Codependents are extremely responsible" and right beneath it "Codependents are extremely irresponsible". This is not the only example either, btw.)

Also the heavy emphasis on 12-steps and God was really off-putting to me. I think the title of this book should have reflected the fact it was primarily geared towards alcoholics and/or children of alcoholics. The fact that she mentions other groups doesn't matter much if 90% of the book is spent referring to codependents as people who have encountered some form of addiction. After the lists, I actually put this one down but I did skim ahead a bit to see if anything else was of interest to me (nope).

After reading other reviews on here talking about how she puts therapy down I know this book is definitely not for me. I will search elsewhere for literature on codependency. ...more
3

Jan 22, 2008

If only I had read this book 10 years ago... I might not be in the mess I'm in now.

This is a good book for those in crisis mode. When you're beaten down and feeling trapped and you don't know what the hell is wrong with you, you need this book, which tells you over and over and over and over again: You're okay, you're a good person. You're okay, you're a good person. You're okay, you're a good person...

I stumbled upon this book a little late. I had already had my crisis, realized I needed to If only I had read this book 10 years ago... I might not be in the mess I'm in now.

This is a good book for those in crisis mode. When you're beaten down and feeling trapped and you don't know what the hell is wrong with you, you need this book, which tells you over and over and over and over again: You're okay, you're a good person. You're okay, you're a good person. You're okay, you're a good person...

I stumbled upon this book a little late. I had already had my crisis, realized I needed to change my life and started taking steps in the right direction. Therefore, about half of the book I didn't need. I could see myself 5 or 10 years ago in a few chapters, 1 or 2 years ago in others. It made me a little angry that I had to go through some of the things I went through via trial and error, without the aid of this little self-help book. I could see how helpful it would have been if I had had it then. If you already know what co-dependency is, this isn't the book for you. This is a book for those who are struggling and have no idea what the hell is wrong with them. We all know these people. They don't know yet that they need help, but they do.

Help them. Give this book to someone you love. ...more
3

Oct 16, 2007

An eye-opening book that reveals many behaviors one adopts to handle living with someone with addiction problems, or as in my case, mental-health issues. I never realized the extent to which my relationship warped me, to some level my fault for allowing it to happen, but the book also presented a lot of ways to come to an understanding of what it means to be a codependent and also ways to combat and correct behavior. I didn't completely like the religious angles that much, though they will be An eye-opening book that reveals many behaviors one adopts to handle living with someone with addiction problems, or as in my case, mental-health issues. I never realized the extent to which my relationship warped me, to some level my fault for allowing it to happen, but the book also presented a lot of ways to come to an understanding of what it means to be a codependent and also ways to combat and correct behavior. I didn't completely like the religious angles that much, though they will be good for some people, and at times it seemed as though there was an awfully large umbrella for which people could be defined as codependent. But I learned from this book and took a step in the right direction in trying to regain control of my life. ...more
1

Mar 31, 2015

I decided to read this book because so many of my clients are reading or have read it. I figured it would be a good idea to know what they're reading, especially since these clients regard it so highly but seem to be making little progress. Now I know why. What a load of crap. If the author of this book is to be believed, everyone is codependent. Furthermore, she perpetuates victimhood: it's not my fault I'm codependent. It's a natural, understandable reaction to my childhood, adulthood, blah I decided to read this book because so many of my clients are reading or have read it. I figured it would be a good idea to know what they're reading, especially since these clients regard it so highly but seem to be making little progress. Now I know why. What a load of crap. If the author of this book is to be believed, everyone is codependent. Furthermore, she perpetuates victimhood: it's not my fault I'm codependent. It's a natural, understandable reaction to my childhood, adulthood, blah blah blah. There are so many better self-help books out there. This is one of the last ones I would recommend! ...more
5

December 27, 2017

THIS BOOK CHANGED MY LIFE. The most important investment I ever made in myself, was getting this book. Invaluable information and eye opening revelations. I learned more about myself in this book than I had in my whole life prior. I learned that I wasn't fated to live that way... I NEVER KNEW I HA...Full Review
4

Oct 27, 2010

Quite the enlightening book...
Although I am not dealing specifically/only with an alcoholic, there are other controlling behaviors that this applies to. Not necessarily a chemical or substance dependency. Anything that affects your behavior that you find yourself trying to control situations to avoid that behavior.


Favorite Quotes:

A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.

But, the heart of the Quite the enlightening book...
Although I am not dealing specifically/only with an alcoholic, there are other controlling behaviors that this applies to. Not necessarily a chemical or substance dependency. Anything that affects your behavior that you find yourself trying to control situations to avoid that behavior.


Favorite Quotes:

A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.

But, the heart of the definition and arecovery lies not in the 'other person'---no matter howmuch we believe it does. It lies in ourselves, in the ways we have let other people's behavior affect us and in the ways we try to affect them: the obsessing, the controlling, the obsessive 'helping', caretaking, low self-worth bordering on self-hatred, self-repression, abundance of anger and guilt, peculiar dependency on peculiar people, attraction to and tolerance for the biazrre, other-centeredness that results in abondonment of self, communication problems, intimacy problems, and an ongoing whirlwind trip through athe five-stage grief process. p 36

The word 'react' is important here. However you approach codependency, however you define it, and from whatever frame of reference you coose to diagnose and treat it, codependency is primarily a reactionary process. Codependents are reactionaries. They overreact. they underreact. but rarely do they 'act'. p 38

Detachment is based on the premises that each person is responsible for himself, that we can't solve problems that aren't ours to solve, and that worrying doesn't help. We adopt a policy of keeping our hands off other people's rsponsibilities and tend to our own instead. ...
We try to live happily---focusing heroically on what is good in our lives today, and feeling grateful for that. We learn the magical lesson that making the most of what we have turns it into more. Detachment involves "present moment living"--living in the here and now. We allow life to happen instead of forcing and trying to control it. we relinquish regrets over the past and fears about the future. We make the most of each day. ...
We trust that Someone greater than ourselves knows, has ordained, and cares about waht is happening. We undersatnd that this Someone can do much more to solve the problem than we can. So we try to stay out of His way and let HIm do it.
Detaching does not mean we don't care. It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy. p 62,63

A good rule of thumb is: You need to detach most when it seems the least likely or possible thing to do. p 65

When we attempt to control people and things that we have no business controlling, we are controlled. We forfeit our power to think, feel, and act in accordance with our best interests. Never forget that alcoholics and other troubled persons are expert controllers. We have met our match when we attempt to control them. we lose the battles, We lose the wars. We lose our selves---our lives. You didn't cause it; you can't control it; and you can't cure it. p 80

For each of us, there comes a time to let go. You will know when that time has come. when you have done all that you can do, it is time to detach. Deal with your feelings. Face your fears about losing control. Gain control of yourself and your responsibilities. Free others to be who they are. In so doing, you will set yourself free. p 82

Codependents are oppressed, depressed, and repressed. Many of us can quickly tell what someone else is feeling, why that person is feeling that way, how long they've felt that way, and what that person is probably going to do beccause of that feeling. Many of us spend our lives fussing about other people's feelings. We try to fix people's feelings. We try to control other people's feelings. We don't want to furt people, we don't want to upset them, and we don't want to offend them. We feel so responsible for other people's feelings. Yet we don't know what we are feeling. If we do, we don't know what to do to fix ourselves. many of us have abandoned or never taken responsibility for our emotional selves. p 142


...more
4

Apr 18, 2012

As an adult child of alcoholic parents I am giving you forced "advice" to read this book. Ha! Just a little codependent joke. I just started to read this...it's heavy and hard to stomach at times, but definitely going to help me. I try to spend a little time with it every couple of days with a journal. So far it's been an amazing read. While it seems like I have a lot of work to do--it's all for the best. I have young children, and don't want to pass this stuff on...so I'm diving in and As an adult child of alcoholic parents I am giving you forced "advice" to read this book. Ha! Just a little codependent joke. I just started to read this...it's heavy and hard to stomach at times, but definitely going to help me. I try to spend a little time with it every couple of days with a journal. So far it's been an amazing read. While it seems like I have a lot of work to do--it's all for the best. I have young children, and don't want to pass this stuff on...so I'm diving in and hopefully a better version of "me" will come of it! ...more
5

August 12, 2017

Spot on. A great book for those trying to rectify or to define a codependent relationship. Tools of how to fix these relationships with interactive writing sections to help guide you.
3

Sep 13, 2015

It's sort of hard to rate self-help books so I'm just going to rate this one on how helpful it was to me in particular. I would say it was 50% helpful. Simply reading its descriptions of codependency was really instructive. Lately, I've been hearing the word codependent used a lot, and most people are not using it correctly (for example, I've heard several people use it to describe couples who can't go out without each other, and that's not really what it means). Codependency has a very wide It's sort of hard to rate self-help books so I'm just going to rate this one on how helpful it was to me in particular. I would say it was 50% helpful. Simply reading its descriptions of codependency was really instructive. Lately, I've been hearing the word codependent used a lot, and most people are not using it correctly (for example, I've heard several people use it to describe couples who can't go out without each other, and that's not really what it means). Codependency has a very wide definition, but the best way that I understand it after reading this book is that codependent people let the negative behaviors of those around them affect their own feelings and behaviors in a negative way. As a result, codependents become controlling, moody and often adopt a martyr syndrome that never fixes anything. The book, which is geared towards family members of alcoholics, clarifies a lot of these unhealthy behaviors and gives tips on how to be self-aware and how to manage our emotions, which I find to be helpful, even if it's not groundbreaking scientific work or whatever.

Not helpful: the content was pretty repetitive after awhile, and there was too much talk about God for my taste, especially towards the end. She snuck it into the beginning in a way that many self-help books do ("It helps to find a spiritual power of some sort, whatever your beliefs"), but by the end, she was quoting Bible verses and throwing around tons of "Put your trust in God" verbiage that just made me feel like barf, no thanks.

Still, this book is a great introduction to codepedency. I would recommend it to anyone who has a family member or loved one who is alcoholic, compulsive or just generally hard to be around. ...more
3

Nov 14, 2011

Having been raised by a codependent parent who catered to my other narcissistic parent, this book has been validating to read. I now have a better understanding of codependent behavior, and this book has not only verified what I believed, it has also allowed me to check myself for codependent behaviors. Even if you do not identify as codependent (and now I know I do not), you may find, as I did, that learning more about codependence helps put family relationships into perspective. Although I'm Having been raised by a codependent parent who catered to my other narcissistic parent, this book has been validating to read. I now have a better understanding of codependent behavior, and this book has not only verified what I believed, it has also allowed me to check myself for codependent behaviors. Even if you do not identify as codependent (and now I know I do not), you may find, as I did, that learning more about codependence helps put family relationships into perspective. Although I'm not a big fan of the writing style, this is a worthwhile read.

The book contains many quotes from the Twelve Step model and makes many references to God and a Higher Power. The Twelve Step references seemed appropriate at first but I didn't expect to see chapter(s) dedicated to the program. While the parts about the Twelve Step Program offer a good preview for those considering meetings for codependents, it started feeling like a sales pitch. I could have done without so many theistic references, and even though the author states that these references are spiritual but not religious, they felt religious.

I also felt that the book became repetitive towards the end, like one big motivational speech. That didn't speak to me, but this book was written for codependent folks who might need that sort of "You're okay!" cheerleading. Despite my gripes here, I do recommend the read for folks whose life circumstances fooled them into believing that they're not good enough. Bought the Kindle edition for $8.57 and found a few typos. (Come on, editors!) ...more
5

Dec 28, 2012

VERY helpful book for many women, including my former self. I have read and recommended, and bought this book countless times for others. I buy every copy I see at garage sales and used book stores, knowing that shortly, someone will come into my sphere that needs it. This book is about taking care of YOURSELF, your neglected areas of living and using boundaries, both on yourself (being caretakers we frequently overreach ourselves) and on others. It clears up messy areas of emotions and I think VERY helpful book for many women, including my former self. I have read and recommended, and bought this book countless times for others. I buy every copy I see at garage sales and used book stores, knowing that shortly, someone will come into my sphere that needs it. This book is about taking care of YOURSELF, your neglected areas of living and using boundaries, both on yourself (being caretakers we frequently overreach ourselves) and on others. It clears up messy areas of emotions and I think should be required reading for everyone.
"Its' not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is NOT possible to find it elsewhere".

Book discusses how to stop thinking of yourself as a victim- a victim of an abuser, of an alcoholic, of life. Discuses goal setting, thinking clearly, and how to begin to understand yourself as YOU see yourself not as others define you. Clearly, we are each created to our own purpose, and this book helps you discover yourself. ...more
3

Jun 30, 2019

Well, religious stuff aside, it helped me recognize some of my bad habits.
2

Jan 09, 2014

This book was recommended to me a few years ago as a classic in the genre for dealing with codependent behaviours. At the time, I read the first couple of chapters and tossed it aside. What I read didn't seem to click with my experience and I felt put off by the writing. Recently, it was given as a tentative recommendation again ("you may want to look into it to see if it will be useful for you") and I thought, with a distance of a few years, why not try it again? But my opinion hasn't changed This book was recommended to me a few years ago as a classic in the genre for dealing with codependent behaviours. At the time, I read the first couple of chapters and tossed it aside. What I read didn't seem to click with my experience and I felt put off by the writing. Recently, it was given as a tentative recommendation again ("you may want to look into it to see if it will be useful for you") and I thought, with a distance of a few years, why not try it again? But my opinion hasn't changed much.

While I found the listing of codependent behaviours very useful and applicable, I couldn't find anything else in the book particularly useful to me. It feels incredibly dated and, while I do not doubt the author's enthusiasm and compassion, it was grating at many points. Another reviewer mentioned that the constant reference to alcoholism and twelve-step programs was irritating and problematic, and I very much agree. Codependent individuals who have no connection to alcohol or substance abuse, sick family members, or otherwise, are completely elided in the text and it seems as if you can only be codependent if you have some connection to one of these things. I don't. The very heavy, God-led, twelve-step program lauded by the author is also problematic because it is a very narrow view of spirituality and pushes that one world-view/belief system on the readers. The author also seems to have a very poor view of therapy, and I didn't appreciate the cavalier way she dismisses it, implying it's not as helpful as twelve-step plans.

My biggest problem with the book, overall, is the fact that it just plain isn't helpful. The discussion in each chapter can be reduced to something like this: "This is a behaviour you do, which causes a lot of pain to you and others. Just don't do that behaviour." Maybe some people would be able to just "stop" doing codependent behaviours - and kudos to them if they can! But it seems like the author believes everyone can just "stop it", and it's "just that easy". Stop doing the thing, and you'll feel better! Many times while reading, I found myself getting frustrated with this back and forth; there really wasn't any real help given to "stop doing the thing", save for just not doing it, or participating in a twelve-step program. In fact, start in a program and you'll just stop doing it! It was very frustrating and problematic.

I really felt like what was presented in the book didn't have any bearing on the problems I have. Maybe that is symptomatic of how old this book actually is, how dated. As it is, I found it more frustrating than helpful, and would suggest going to other books on this topic for help ( Meowbie's review has some recommendations). ...more
5

Sep 19, 2011

I am not a person who likes tough love, and it was a very hard to keep reading this book when it felt like I was being torn apart. But I was assured by the person who handed me this book, by looking at their happiness and personality, that the end must be better. Well, she was "tough love" statements through out the book. Reflecting/looking back after having read this book, and I do feel very good, and positive after all. Each chapter ended with an assignment/activity for one to complete. I am not a person who likes tough love, and it was a very hard to keep reading this book when it felt like I was being torn apart. But I was assured by the person who handed me this book, by looking at their happiness and personality, that the end must be better. Well, she was "tough love" statements through out the book. Reflecting/looking back after having read this book, and I do feel very good, and positive after all. Each chapter ended with an assignment/activity for one to complete. Usually consisted of writing a few sentences, and I did just that. Now having finished the book, I get to read those, and see how I evolved as a person, and see that I am in the right path in making myself that person I see myself, and want to be. I think the bok is great and recommend it to anyone who is down in life and having issues with family and/or friends. ...more
4

Sep 23, 2012

This was an interesting recommendation from a counselor in my office. It is geared more to spouses of alcohol and drug dependant people, however I have discovered a lot of good informaiton. It is a way to help see how we give too much to the toxic people in our life and some people are just bad people. I do have mixed feelings about it because only certain parts pertained to me, but I gave it a high rating because it is well written on an average person level with real and even funny stories. It This was an interesting recommendation from a counselor in my office. It is geared more to spouses of alcohol and drug dependant people, however I have discovered a lot of good informaiton. It is a way to help see how we give too much to the toxic people in our life and some people are just bad people. I do have mixed feelings about it because only certain parts pertained to me, but I gave it a high rating because it is well written on an average person level with real and even funny stories. It is a book that is an oldie but a good one for what I believe would be a lot of people! It is informative in the fact that a lot of women especially are trying to help others and always put others feelings before their own when that is the wrong thing to do. Let others make their own mistakes. If they want to drink and ruin their lives dont let them bring you down. If they want to walk away from their family let them. You and your family will be better off without them there. Some people are just plain destructive and we can all hope they regret it in the future, but don't ruin our present because of them. I understand now that even if you can see the good inside that person, if they chose to be a bad person and do the wrong things that is who they really are. They are their own decisions until they want to change and make peace, but that might not ever happen. Moral of this story learn who are toxic in your life and learn how to stay away from them. You cannot help someone be a better husband, father, or friend when they do not want to. Smile and be happy with yourself and your good friends and family! ...more
0

Jan 26, 2016

This book addressed me specifically. So many of the symptoms of co-dependency have been present in my life since I was a child. I appreciated the compassionate approach to co-dependency, which came from an author who is herself a recovering co-dependent. Many friends have told me that I shouldn't be so hard on myself or that I should take better care of myself, but I disregarded this advice. It wasn't that I disagreed with my friends; rather, compliance threatened to remove the illusion of This book addressed me specifically. So many of the symptoms of co-dependency have been present in my life since I was a child. I appreciated the compassionate approach to co-dependency, which came from an author who is herself a recovering co-dependent. Many friends have told me that I shouldn't be so hard on myself or that I should take better care of myself, but I disregarded this advice. It wasn't that I disagreed with my friends; rather, compliance threatened to remove the illusion of safety I manufacture through pleasing and rescuing those around me.

I would mention that although Beattie mentions God, it is a secular conceptualization of the Alcoholic's Anonymous' concept of a "Higher Power." Also, many conservative Christians may be concerned with the emphasis on self-care, which might be construed to be selfishness. However, caring for yourself is one of the less selfish things a co-dependent can do.

Overall, this book provided lots of valuable information and encouragement. Not sure why God didn't allow me to discover it sooner.
...more
4

Mar 24, 2015

This book was difficult for me to read as it was very confronting & made me realise just how hard it is to put myself first & how it's even harder still to be directly honest about what standards & boundaries I feel that I need especially when traumas are involved. I like how Melody makes a point to say go slow, take as long as you need to heal & to heal in your own time, not when others tell you to. I don't completely fit the codependent category so most of it didn't make much This book was difficult for me to read as it was very confronting & made me realise just how hard it is to put myself first & how it's even harder still to be directly honest about what standards & boundaries I feel that I need especially when traumas are involved. I like how Melody makes a point to say go slow, take as long as you need to heal & to heal in your own time, not when others tell you to. I don't completely fit the codependent category so most of it didn't make much sense to me but it was an insightful read just the same & Although some parts made me angry for a few reasons that I don't completely understand just yet, I would still recommend this book for anyone looking to heal old wounds or even if you'd just like to understand some of the behaviours & psychology of others around you. ...more

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