YSOS Book Club: Codependent No More
If I asked you to describe someone who is codependent, how would you answer?
Maybe you picture someone who is meek, quiet, unable to make a decision. Someone who isn’t likely to speak up all that often. A synonym for “door mat.”
Some of those perceptions are true, to a degree. But as someone who identifies as codependent myself, I can tell you that they come in all stripes. I encounter them every day. And there are a lot of us out there.
To a degree, I think society promotes our codependence, especially for women. I mean, it’s always considered a good thing to “be nice,” right? The problem comes when “being nice” to someone gets confused with “being responsible” for someone. We become caretakers for other people’s lives, actions, emotions. We put other people’s feelings before our own. We try to control other people and feel angry or hurt when they don’t do what we want them to do. Likewise, other people try and succeed at controlling us.
How many times have you not done something you really wanted to do – which wouldn’t have created actual harm to another person – simply because somebody else didn’t want you to? Or maybe you did it anyway, but then felt guilty for it. How many times have you put someone else’s needs before your own? Maybe later, you even resented the other person or people because you did that.
That’s just a slim sampling of codependent behavior. Nearly 30 years after its original printing, Codependent No More remains the tried-and-true manual to identifying codependent behavior, and better yet, breaking free from it. Beattie gives a number of real-life stories of codependents in action to help the reader identify. She also offers plenty of writing exercises to help you identify your own patterns and behaviors.
If you’d like to stop living as a victim … stop worrying so much about what other people think and do … stop feeling like your own priorities always come last … this is the book for you. Start reclaiming your own life.