Book discussion: "Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself"


One of my definitions of codependency: basing my mood on how others feel about me or how others feel in general.

My biggest issues with this book right now, I’m having a hard seeing how my codependency came about because I didn’t really have alcoholic parents. My sister’s drinking was crazy for about 8 years in my 20s and she was emotionally, physically, verbally abusive towards me growing up… She’d spit in my face, laugh at my failures, open doors in my face, we fought physically a lot until I got stronger than her.

Then in my 20s she wasn’t much better. Everything was always my fault. She started crying and getting angry at me on my wedding day, calling me a bitch and a terrible person… When I felt I needed to seperate from my husband she called me up drunk, saying I was selfish and going to ruin my kids lives.

One thing that keeps popping up in the book is guilt and not admitting our problems… Guilt is my BIGGEST codependency issue. And literally the whole time I’m reading the book, I’m like “no this couldn’t have been caused by my sister that is unfair to her, it didn’t affect me that much, I’m making a big deal over nothing…I should have gotten over this years ago”.


There’s a woman in chapter 2 that I actually identify alot with, I wish they’d explored her story more, Kristen. She didn’t have alcoholics around her at all. She said she takes on the emotions of people around her, if her husband is upset, she gets upset. If she can’t make him happy she gets upset and then he gets mad at her for trying to affect his mood. She said she literally gets enmeshed in the people around her. I think these days people have a tendency to identify themselves as “empaths” if they notice this trait in themselves. I don’t know if that’s true for me but I’m definitely aware of and affected by the emotions of people around me, ESPECIALLY drunk people. I get so nervous around drunk people. They’re so unpredictable and scary to me. The ultimate irony.


I wouldn’t call myself an empath, especially considering how much difficulty I have actually identifying the emotion someone’s feeling, but that sounds like how I ended up in a codependent situation. If someone was feeling something negative, I HAD to fix it, I felt totally responsible to do so. I was at the whim of others’ emotions and wasted my energy and wrapped my life around people. It is way way harder to UNwrap, I’ve learned.


Wow. That is a heavy burden to carry around. I can definitely see how that would affect you as an adult, having someone that is supposed to be a trusted, loving family member treat you like that. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this book delves into shame and guilt. As an objective observer, I would say that would definitely still be affecting you, that’s huge! But then I don’t cut myself the same slack when it comes to my own issues even though I have my own horror stories of pulling the keys out of my dads hands when my mom was giving him the silent treatment as her way of getting back at him when he was too drunk to realize he shouldn’t be driving. I was 16. Or when my oldest brother and my dad got into a fist fight over him having drugs in the house. I was 7.

I think I need al anon lol.


That’s how I feel too, I don’t cut myself some slack, but then I read what I wrote and I’m like :thinking: denial much lol

And those are really big-huge really, things you went through. That is scary and so much to handle especially as a child😞


yes!! I always thought I was just really empathic, now I see why it’s a problem and goes beyond empathy.


Good morning (EST) everyone! I just wanted to say that I am so pleased and proud of everyone here that is taking to this book with an open mind and heart and letting themselves REALLY think about themselves in a different way. I know (dang, do I know!) it is hard, challenging, upsetting and confusing to return to certain memories and try to piece together our lives. It’s like :exploding_head::flushed:

I don’t mean to sound cliched, but this is a safe and supportive place where we can all process (to the extent we feel able or comfortable to do so in writing, or not) some of these thoughts, feelings and experiences that have impacted us so deeply. Absolutely without judgment.

Thanks to everyone that has shared so openly and honestly so far. It’s also ok for those that do not wish to do so, but I do hope that everyone is getting something useful out of this. I know I sure am.


I recently broke off a co-dependent relationship with someone who was the CD while I was the AAD, as you put it. When he was with me, he literally could never stop moving. He’d go through my recycling to make sure that was organized correctly, run around and clean stuff, jump onto projects I had going to “help me” get them done, it was a constant barrage of busy and interference in my space. I had to tell at him to stop and explain to him that his busybodying was exhausting, and that it makes me feel completely disrespected that he thinks he can come into my house and decide for me what I need or how I need to live. He said it was stuff that needed to be done, and I said no, its stuff ge thinks needs to be done but in all honesty, it was stuff I personally didnt care about, was just fine living with, and basically felt like he was using this crap as an excuse to feel useful to me/needed by me. All it did was frustrate me and drive me further away. I think co-dependents place way more value on meaningless stuff than non co-dependents in order to feel valued. Problem is, when the rest of us don’t “appreciate” it on their terms, they get mad. I’ve been on both sides of this, but I’m just relaying my latest experience and revelations as I read through these stories, and add to this discussion.


So interesting to hear the experience from the other side of this. Super valuable. Thanks for sharing.


That makes a lot of sense. There are things that I’ve relaxed on SO much in the ten years we’ve been married. I was raised in a military household, and was in the military. I am the first person my husband ever even met that was in the military. Everything I grew up with was clean and regimented. One of my husband’s childhood homes, no shit, had a dirt floor. When I say our area is rural I’m not joking. We have a beautiful home together now, but he grew up in rough conditions. Our coming together in a shared space was a clashing of different preferences and opinions, and really some of it was hygiene issues. We’ve done a lot of give and take over the years but if the throw pillows aren’t just right I don’t blow my top anymore. They don’t matter. That’s a preference thing. Just because I like them a certain way doesn’t mean I’m right.

Thank you for sharing your perspective. I can see how having someone doing that to you would feel condescending and belittling. My husband felt the same way when I would follow behind him and redo stuff he’d already done because it wasn’t up to my standards. My attitude now is if its clean, its clean. Its doesn’t have to be white glove clean.


I am going to pick up the book and workbook I feel so behind! :wink:


Ch. 3 - This paragraph just felt like a punch in the chest. There was a fair amount of feeling oppressed as a kid, I guess. I was expected to hold it together, make sure secrets were kept, etc. In my family. I get anxious about some of these things - like “did you tell so-and-so about this?” To my kids, when they have every right to talk about their lives/express their needs with others. For example, I like things to be private, but is that born out of an unrealistic need to control based on my upbringing? I also feel amazed at the sense of 0lace folks seem to have in the world, where I often feel like I always need permission/shouldn’t assume it’s OK to do things (this has severely limited my spontinaety, ability to relax, or just have fun, take fun and healthy risks). I see where my controlling behavior could stem from just the things in this paragraph alone. Oy.


I believe this is finally starting to get to the root of the problem for me personally. I’ve been going to therapy for years, and I just recently got sober. But I have been trying to figure out for the longest wtf is wrong with me. I’ve always been drawn to men that I felt like I could “save.” I accepted more and more abuse with each relationship getting progressively worse, and me not understanding why I was just a “magnet” for guys with problems. I’ve read a lot on neuroscience and how we chemically program our brains to accept this as normal, and that throughout time that normal progresses into more craziness. I literally cried today listening to this book because there were so many stories in the beginning that I could say, “I know exactly how that feels,” to. I’ve been trying to figure this out about myself for the longest, and I’ve even told my therapist I feel like I’m just crazy and have something wrong with me because no matter what has happened with any of my relationships in the past, I can’t ever break free unless I’ve been “fortunate” enough for the guy to leave me… but I still chased them after that until another came along to keep me from going back. This book is so eye opening… I just didn’t know how ready I was to finally start to accept it. So now I’m trying to dig deeper into my childhood to figure out what caused the codependency in the first place. I remember my dad yelling a lot. I remember catching my mom hiding in the bathroom crying. My dad always seemed so angry. I remember feeling like he hated me at one point. My mom told me later as an adult that there was a point she looked into divorcing him. I don’t know all the details, but I know she caught him growing pot at one point. My current husband was a big alcoholic when we met, and an even bigger pot head. For some reason in relationships, I have always just mirrored the men around me. I become them and lose my identity. I came across a video of me when I was in another serious relationship - I talked like that guy… I dressed like the girlfriend of that guy… etc. I realized when I saw that video that I have always done this and I started balling my eyes out. It’s like I lost my identity along time ago, and I just try to make myself fit in where I land. Now, I didn’t turn into a pot head with my current husband because I’ve just never had much of a taste for it, but I would get blackout drunk with him, though mine calmed down a bit more than his over the years. The pot became a huge point of contention because of the way he would do it around the kids and while he was driving and stuff (I grew out of driving under the influence of anything long ago). But it’s kind of strange that this was a problem my dad had I guess and really every one of my exes had the same issue with pot… I guess that is where my codependency lies.


I’m breathing a sigh of relief for you. I am feeling similarly. It’s both exciting and overwhelming for me, and perhaps you, too. But man, this book!! :flushed::flushed:


It’s definitely eye opening! I hope this helps me truly heal once and for all.


If you’re interested we’re in here @MandiH! We just got started and are reading chapters 1-4 through the end of the month :blush:


Getting my book today and I CANNOT WAIT !!!


Can’t wait to hear your take on it… And everyone else’s as well.


In Chapter 3 I had a holy shit epiphany. There’s a definition of codependency, one of many: prolonged exposure to and practice of a set of oppressive rules - rules which prevent the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems.

I loved my dad but gob bless. If there was an argument brewing, or one of us was feeling passionate about something, and the noise level and talking started getting loud, he would SLAM his hand down and scream at us to be quiet. Or - his favorite- THE POINT IS MOOT. That was our cue to be quiet. We got shut down at every opportunity rather than being allowed to just get loud and yell stuff out. I still, to this day get nervous and hesitant when men get loud. I’m not done with the chapter yet but that section really resonated with me.


My book didn’t arrive yet! :cry: