The New Codependency
Help and Guidance for Today's GenerationBook - 2010
The question remains: What is and what is not codependency? Beattie here reminds us that much of codependency is normal behavior. It's about crossing lines. There are times we do too much, care too much, feel too little, or overly engage. Feeling resentment after giving is not the same as heartfelt generosity. Narcissism and self-love, enabling and nurturing, and controlling and setting boundaries are not interchangeable terms. In The New Codependency, Beattie explores these differences, effectively invoking her own inspiring story and those of others, to empower us to step out of the victim role forever. Codependency, she shows, is not an illness but rather a series of behaviors that once broken down and analyzed can be successfully combated.
Each section offers an overview of and a series of activities pertaining to a particular behavior -- caretaking, controlling, manipulation, denial, repression, etc. -- enabling us to personalize our own step-bystep guide to wellness. These sections, in conjunction with a series of tests allowing us to assess the level of our codependent behavior, demonstrate that while it may not seem possible now, we have the power to take care of ourselves, no matter what we are experiencing.
Punctuated with Beattie's renowned candor and intuitive wisdom, The New Codependency is an owner's manual to learning to be who we are and gives us the tools necessary to reclaim our lives by renouncing unhealthy practices.
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Codependence can develop in reaction to growing up in a family or situation in which additions, mood disorders, or other gross imbalances leads the "codependent" to feeling overresponsible to take charge of responsibilities that really belong to someone else. For example, the family member of an alcoholic or other type of addict may take on too much responsibility and control to "enable" or "rescue" the addict from feeling the full effect of his/her behavior. If no substance abuse is present, a similar dysfunctional dynamic will result when the codependent jumps in to overprotect, overcontrol, enable, or "rescue" the person with severe anxiety, depression, personality disorder, or other imbalence which throws off the stability of the family or household.
Surprisingly, escaping these deeply trained dysfunctional codependent behaviors can be as difficult or even more difficult than overcoming an addiction to a substance. Codependents often have substance abuse problems in addition or they may just have developed their dysfunctional patterns in reaction to an addict, narcissist, depressive, compulsive, abuser, or person with borderline personality disorder.
The author, Melody Beattie, wrote the first major book specifically about codependency in the late 1980's when people first began to recognize codependency as a problem in itself. This is a quick book for people realizing that being an approval addict, a sucker, "too nice," and trying to control everyone else's behavior to make everything else seem okay is destructive and throws off our lives and those around us.
In our contemporary culture, it is easier to stay well adjusted when people are clear, honest, and don't try to control one another. This book explains what codependency is and how to begin the transition to healthier patterns. See also www .coda. org for general information on what "codependency" is and how it creates pain and imbalance for both the codependent and her/her family.
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Boundary Setting Tips:
Don't forget: Boundaries include saying what we want, enjoy, and like, too - not only what doesn't feel good.
If we feel our boundary collapsing, write a reminder letter to ourselves about how it feels when we let someone do what our boundary concerns. Write the letter when the feelings are fresh. When we're tempted to give in, read the letter. It may stop euphoric recall and help us remember how much that behavior hurts.
If a boundary involves people doing something differently, be specific about what needs changing. Then, everyone involved can clearly tell if and when the boundary is met.
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