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


Hey lady. Just keep listening and keep absorbing. No need to do anything yet. The answers will present themselves at the right time. When I first read this book it was so shocking to me as I had NO IDEA. it took me a while to just absorb and process wtf was going on. :two_hearts:


I feel like I’m still recovering. Share as much insight with me , it might help.
I’m off to yoga to sweat out this stress. I just want to deal with this
What do I do to elicit this response in others? It can’t just be her. …


Definitely get through the book before doing anything - the best is yet to come! I think the “controlling” is somewhat subconscious, and the author uses alcoholic a lot but you can sub in any disordered individual: Hoarder, schizophrenic, drug addict, chronically depressed, narcissist, manic-depressive, etc. Keep an open mind as you go. I’m in Ch. 11 and I’m reeling, but in an “I am so happy to have answers and hope” way.


OK folks, where is everyone at in the book so far? Anyone want to propose a topic to discuss?


I’m on chapter 5…I only just got through the list of characteristics!! I’m very far behind, I’m sure. But I get to listen for about an hour everyday during my commute so I should be nearly done this week.


Almost done with chapter 8.


OK, I’m dropping this excellent nugget (found in Ch. 13), which I’m posting here because I’ve been struggling to understand why folks succumb to their emotions and use them as an excuse to drink (myself included), or to do other things that are no good for themselves:

Some of this almost seems cliche, but reading this bit made me feel like, “oh, that’s how healthy, well-adusted people do it!” Lol

-> If we are dealing with our emotions responsibly, we submit them to our intellect, our reason, and our moral and behavioral code of ethics.

So that’s how! I feel like a kid who just learned a very important key to growing up. Think, don’t just react like every other crazy person in my life/family. I mean, I feel like this should have been obvious, and I know people in my adult life who appear to behave this way, but it isn’t/has not been obvious to me - to consciously go through steps to determine the best way to act when feeling, especially when it’s an intense emotion. And I sorta feel cheated out on this good bit of parenting advice/modeling. Pfft.



Just finished chapter 9 this weekend, so will try to organise and post some thoughts this week. :two_hearts:


I’m having such a hard time focusing while reading this second part. I can relate so much to what she’s saying, my mind keeps drifting, thinking of all the ways I compare. I keep having to re read it. It’s tripping me out.


So I’m almost finished (finishing up chapter 19 right now) and it is confusing to me. I can totally relate to a lot of what she says about how a codependent behaves (low self esteem, fear of intimacy, anger, a bit of control (but in the passive agressive way, not right out telling others how to behave)) but I don’t relate at all to the why’s. I think it’s because she is always talking about it from the point of view of a spouse of an alcoholic and that is just not my situtation. Or at least if my husband IS an alcoholic (he would drink as much as I would but he does seem to be able to stop just by saying “I’m not going to drink for a bit”…that is somethign I could NEVER do) he is not the kind of alcoholic she is describing. He sort of is a workaholic but not in a cumpulsive way. So I’m just not sure. Am I really codependent?? Does there HAVE to be another person with a cumpulsive disorder to be classified as a codependent or is it the behaviours that make you codepended??? I’m confused.


I’m going to come back to this topic of “why” for me when I hopefully have some time this weekend… My "why"s are something I’ve thought a lot about, because it’s not obvious…


Ok friends, I’ve been a little slow on this, because I currently have three books on the go :roll_eyes:

Today I got through chapter 12. I’m just going to run through my thoughts that I wrote down on some scraps of paper as I went along - soz if there isn’t a clear theme/structure to this.

I have really struggled with obsession in some of my interpersonal relationships, particular of the romantic type. This seems to come from such a place of deep insecurity. Something I heard (I’m listening to audio book) today shook me to my core - it noted that perhaps some of us entered adult relationships with a fragile self-worth, to only have our self-worth decimated in those relationships. That was so the case for me in my early 20s and it has impacted me, my own drinking, and every subsequent interpersonal relationship I have had since (friendships and romantic relationships alike).

I’ve always felt so reactionary to what others thought or I perceived they thought (usually wrongly) that I’ve felt like a puppet on a string and not in control of my own emotional or psychological state. But this is not a tale of woe for me, as I have noticed that some of these things have been getting better for me since I first read this book and since I’ve been practising my own 12 step programs (both through Al-Anon and AA). I’ve learned to not react so quickly. I’ve learned to remind myself to not take things so personally (with mixed success, but it’s all progress). I’m learning to hand my worries and anxieties over to my HP and stay focused on myself.

I always made myself super busy to avoid my own shit. I was never capable of just being. Today was an example of that. I had a day with, other than my very early morning meeting, no particular plans. I live by myself, so have just been hanging out at home today. There were several points in the day when I started to feel super antsy and uncomfortable with just being on my own. The strange thing is that all week I’ve been wanting time with nothing to do - time to just be, and then when I get it, it is super uncomfortable. So I found some stuff to do at home. I listened to music, texted some friends, took bird photos, listened to audio book, and I even prayed out loud at one point. Some of my emotions that came and went were uncomfortable, so I intentionally tried to sit with them, think about them, and pray on them. Then they started to pass. It felt like a positive experience for me and I can’t really explain it.

One thing said in the book was “we don’t feel loveable, so we settle for feeling needed”. Dang, that is exactly how I had been operating. Now I focus hard on not giving unsolicited advice, but instead giving love, compassion and empathy.

I also liked the cautionary discussion around “self care”. This isn’t an excuse to do whatever crap we want, but true self-care is to take responsibility for ourselves. For me, it’s not about manicures (though I do like those), it is about doing the hard work of feeling my feelings, acknowledging them, thinking about what I need to feel better, and then asking for those things.

A thing that happened today was that I was feeling a bit insecure in one of my interpersonal relationships. It didn’t feel good. The “old me” would have been dickishly passive aggressive, spend the day obsession and making myself feel shit (unbeknownst to them), and then act out in some other way as a distraction technique. Instead, I thought about what I would like from this person and then asked for it and got an enthusiastically positive response. That didn’t make the feelings go away, but I spent some time then focused on myself and my feelings. When I feel bad, I’ve started to do a thing where I acknowledge that part of me, note that part of me is trying to be protective of me, thank that part, and give it a mental hug to provide reassurance.

So so much of this is to really, for the first time in my life, think about what I need, then articulate that to someone else, rather than flailing around like someone out of control, lashing out with emotional responses that are confusing to others.

So, that’s what on my mind about what I’ve read so far. How is everyone else getting on?


The “other person” doesn’t have to be a spouse, it could be a family member or family dynamic in childhood. Mine is a similar situation as you describe.


“There’s a part in chapter 4, …, that talks about how codependents get bored when there’s no crisis in there (sic) life so they create one and that’s been true of me in the past.”

This was me in the past, too. 100% - insecurity and fear caused mine. I dealt with a lot of abandonment issues or I’d cut and run before being abandoned.

I too, am learning to be sober and slowly peeling away the things that cause chaos in my life.

When I was younger I used to stay busy to the degree that my home life was always a mess and spent a good portion of time living life according to my s/o’s needs while continuously losing my own identity in the process.


What is the book called?


Codependent No More by Melody Beattie


Sounds like a lot of people have found this book helpful. Might have to check it out. The creating a crisis thing hits close to home. My whole family does that so it seems “normal” to me to be overly dramatic. Thanks for sharing these lessons. I just got two new books that I haven’t had time to read yet


@JMAC81 and @Daphne although some of us are reading this together, this thread will stay open, so that those wishing to read and process in this forum can continue to do so :two_hearts:


Boy, did we all get throroughly engrossed or did everyone lose interest in talking about this? I am starting the last chapter now but went through a bit of a mental block before I could get my goals list going as she prescribed. I like the approach - rather than making resolutions and time-dependent declarations, make the “goals” list about expression rather than attainment so as not to pile on more guilt and shame for not achieving them. Some will be met in time, some never will but life will go on. Makes me completely rethink my approach to life in general, really. If there is only one thing I’ve learned through my sobriety journey, that this book is reinorcing, is that patience in all aspects of my life is 100% the key. How can one completely reconstruct themselves from the inside out into a more happy and fulfilled, depence-free person without it??


I just got a copy of the book and am working through it