Saturday, July 28, 2012

Codependent No More--A Heartfelt Review

This post was written in response to negative reviews and opinions about the bestselling and ground breaking book Codependent No More...Its full content can be found on Amazon.

I recently published my own 'codependent story', and it had it not been for Codependent No More--I would not be a bestselling author today.

Twelve years ago I was lost in a world of confusion. My body was failing, and my mind felt like it was in a vice. My nerves were shot--but oddly enough everyone around me seemed perfectly content.

I sought out a therapist because my ex husband insisted I had no right 'not' to be happy. We had all the makings of a wonderful life. A people pleaser in desperate need to feel validated by the others in my life--I ignored the burning resentment for my ex and entered into therapy because I (regretfully) just wanted to make him happy..(Ugh and ick).

When my therapist looked me in the eye and said, "Lisa you're not crazy--but you are severely codependent"--I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or cry. All I could hear my mind saying was--"What the hell does that mean?"

My therapist suggested I buy Codependent No More and begin entertaining the concepts Beattie brings to light in her everyday kinda way. Just a few pages in I began to feel the chaos in my mind calm, because I was struck by the sense that whatever I was going through--others had gone through it as well--and deeper--if I stuck this out--I would eventually have a greater understanding of why I was the way I was--chronically unhappy.

What I learned was;

Codependency isn't like lung cancer. You can't have a scan done and point to it on a film, nor can you take IV drugs and make it go away.

Codependency is an ambiguous emotional predisposition. Like trying to grasp a slippery eel--it is not a concept easily caught--not even within the confines of ones own mind.

Because codependency can be both aggressive as well as passive in nature--it is nearly impossible to do what so many negative reviewers here expected Beattie to be able to do.

Codependency is--the faulty way in which we perceive ourselves and others. When we presume our happiness is dependent on others--or when we believe our anger is the fault of others--we are handing our personal strength over to 'others' and thus robbing ourselves of the ability to be completely responsible for our lives.

When instead we allow others to be who they are--even if who they are we wish they weren't--and we are no longer 'enmeshed' with them--and are no longer looking to control their behaviors--and deeper--have learned not to allow their irresponsible--or negative behavior to impact our happiness--we are taking 'care' of ourselves as well as exercising personal responsibility for our lives.

Beattie, in more ways than one helped me gain a clear understanding of the above ideas.

Because of Beattie I was able to see things in myself I otherwise would not have been able to see.

As a codependent I presumed I was right about--everything. In my mind--I believed that if everyone around me just did what I expected them to do--I would then be able to live a more peaceful life. I could laugh more if so and so did this. I could be happy if so and so just did this and I would not be so angry if so and so did that.

Wounded deeply by my parents inability to infuse within me a solid sense of self when I was a child (because they were self absorbed in their own dramas--and also adult children of alcoholics) they taught me to fear criticism instead...and thus continually be on guard--and seek outside of myself for happiness and thus validation.

I was not taught to honor my self...because my parents were denial based individuals who had been robbed themselves of a solid sense of self because their parents were drunks.

Codependency was simply cycling from one generation to the next.

And once I read Codependent No More--my eyes began to open to the insidious disease codependency is...Through her words, and through her poignant examples--I saw myself--my mother--my father--my siblings--my ex--and even my deceased grandparents...

Anyone who picks up Codependent No More must be ready to put themselves in the shoes of not only the case studies presented--but in the shoes of the author as well. And if readers are able to do this--their lives will undoubtedly change--as mine did.

I will forever be indebted to Melody Beattie for having the courage to write a book like this one. Codependent No More broke ground...and because of her--many of us are having discussions about codependency because of her ability to help us unwind the unnecessary attachments in our minds.