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Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives
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Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  866 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Pia Mellody creates a framework for identifying codependent thinking, emotions and behaviour and provides an effective approach to recovery. Mellody sets forth five primary adult symptoms of this crippling condition, then traces their origin to emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical and sexual abuses that occur in childhood. Central to Mellody's approach is the conce ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by HarperOne (first published 1989)
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Jenell
In my life I’ve encountered so many people who try to manipulate and control me. Ever since I was a little girl, I hated these “games.” I thought, “Why can’t people just be real with each other?” As I got older, I became aware of the word. According to Wikipedia, “The "codependent" party exhibits behaviour which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party's condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that wou ...more
Frrobins
This book focused heavily on what codependence is and how it develops. Mellody bases codependence on the disease model and uses a 12 step approach that she does not delve much into to cure it. I had several problems with this book, first being that I don't agree with the disease model. It seemed what she described was more of a pattern of maladaptive behaviors.

She depended a lot on anecdotal evidence and bad science for the basis of her book. For instance, she took that people can repress memori
...more
Kate
I really didn't want to read this book. I didn't understand what codependence was, nor had I any desire to understand another mainstream label of behavioral dysfunction. When I first started it, I was really put off by the idea that the reason behind codependence was rooted in child abuse, be it sexual, verbal, intellectual, spiritual, or emotional. In my mind, that was translated that to mean that all of a person's problems are the fault of his or her parents. Baloney.

I convinced myself to rea
...more
Amanda
I found this book tremendously useful and informative. If you've grown up in a family with a substance-addictive member (alcohol, drugs, or other types of addictions), this is a great read to help with understanding dysfunctional family dynamics, and help one get on the path to creating more functional relationships within their lives. Additionally, if you didn't have substance-abusers in your immediate family, but your parents may have when they were growing up, your parents still could've pass ...more
Allison
I never really understood what codependency was until i read this. I always thought it meant you weren't an independent person, I was wrong. If you even suspect you might be or know someone who is codependent, this is a worthwhile read.
Billy
This book focuses on the childhood origins of codependence, how dysfunction and abuse creates codependent adults. I found some of the information to be extremely helpful and made correlations of which I had previously been unaware. It was very useful for me personally to understand that clinginess and love-addiction are not the only traits of codependence, but also tendencies to create emotional barriers, inability to acknowledge one's own needs and enmeshing others' emotions with your own, amon ...more
Bread Crumbs
Many addicts who have read this book will claim that almost the whole world population is codependent. My opinion is that this claim is the ultimate addict fantasy. Codependent people do sabotage their lives with dysfunctional behavior. The rest of the world population does not. What non-codependents do is exhibit dysfunctional behavior from time to time; since they are imperfect beings (humans), but there is a difference between imperfect behavior and life-sabotaging behavior. This distinction ...more
Katie
Pia Mellody's "Facing Codependence" gives a thorough description and analysis of what codependence entails: five core symptoms, how these symptoms can get in the way of having healthy relationships, and most especially where it stems from. Mellody goes into detail about the various kinds of abuses (mostly overt of covert abuse by parental figures)that can set codependence in motion: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intellectual abuse and interestingly (I have never heard of or thou ...more
Amy
This was an amazing story of an administrator at a substance abuse facility who had to face her own addictive cycle -- codependency. Because there really was no understanding of how to treat codependency, she conducted her own informal research and used it to start building a healthy life for herself. A very interesting story.
Tiffany
This was an intense book with a lot of hyperbole and very little hope. I lost a lot of confidence in the author when she described some of her own dysfunction, because it seemed so incomprehensible from someone who was claiming to be an authority on the topic (having to count light bulbs to determine if too many were on springs to mind). Her repeated statements at how much of bad parenting could be construed as abuse seemed excessive and unhelpfully exaggerated. There were some good, eye-opening ...more
Bridgett
About codependency rooted in childhood abuse. I could relate to a lot of what was said.
Ray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marni T.
Jun 09, 2012 Marni T. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to know what Codependency is, or who wants to know how to cope with it
Recommended to Marni by: I saw it on the bookshelf at Barnes and Noble
Shelves: psychology
Of all the books I've read on Co-dependency, I like Pia's books the best; after all, she is one of the major pioneers and authors who experienced and studied this personal phenomenon in human behavior. Usually, someone who is codependent has or has had a deep relationship with a qualifier, be it an addict, an abuser, or any other kind of dysfunctional person the codependent one can't leave without help. Society began using the term as kind of a "catch-all" for all dependent behaviors or as an ex ...more
Patty
This is one I bought so I can read through it again. Very good explanation of what the authors define as "codependence" (not what usually comes to mind when you hear that word. It deals more with dysfunctional childhood experiences and the behaviors that result from it.) The book elaborates on different types of abuse (physical, spiritual, emotional, etc.) and the varied responses a person may have to it. Very insightful for anyone who grew up in a less-than-functional family.
Kimberly Mcdevitt
The origins of this diagnosis are very interesting. Basically Pia Mellody used herself and patients with similar histories at the drug treatment center she worked at to beta test her theories on how to help people like her, and to suss out what to call what they were experiencing. Lots of it seems dead-on. It occurs to me that some of it could be over simplification. On the other hand it is so spot on, I can't imagine it being less simple without it being a case study on my life in particular. S ...more
Stephanie Sutherlin
I'd like to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but that wouldn't quite be accurate. I enjoyed learning new things about why certain aspects of my life are the way they are, but it was very hard to do.

So much of what Pia writes about in this book hit home for me, especially the part where she emphasizes that trauma isn't just about the huge life events that we think of when we hear the word "Trauma," but also about all the little traumas that add up to have a profound impact on our lives. I was
...more
Adam Dalton
Well, With "Facing Codependence". I read the whole book completely in two days and I loved every minute of it. It reminded me why I am the way with the outside world and realising that I do not need to apologise for who I have become. Would Recommend This book as Pia Mellody is a well rounded author with the knowledge to help alot of people.

Thanks
Adam
Ryan Holiday
Let me preface this recommendation by saying that it is one of the worst edited and poorly arranged books I've ever read. That said, it's sold more than 400,000 copies entirely through word of mouth to an audience that doesn't read a lot of books: addicts. My long running theory is that we are all addicts, and that the majority of our problems come from not understanding why we feel compelled to do things and our inability to evaluate our track record after engaging in those behaviors. This book ...more
Carolyn
I hadn't wanted to read this book but it was recommended to me so I finally read through it. It was a difficult read (mostly due to the content- discussion of abuse, trauma, etc, the tone of the book is mainly conversational in nature) so it took me a while to finish. There were several helpful parts that helped me identify codependence in my life and also in the lives of my loved ones. The focuses on defining and recognizing codependence rather than how to correct it (which I had been expecting ...more
Katrin
This is a book one does not read as an easy time passing in a bus or waiting in a line. This book makes you not only think, but also relive some of the things you may have faced in your childhood (warning: these things may not be pleasant). Although it touches a lot of sensitive topics and how codependency grows to become a problem from our childhood into our adulthood, it also gives reasonable amount of explanations and comfort that everything can be changed once you have acknowledged the cause ...more
Marsha
Interesting book about a topic I had heard of but knew very little about. The author shares the characteristics of codependency and the roots of this disease from her perspective.
Kitti
I understood, and related to this book on Codependence more than any others I've ever read, which helped me a great deal.
Gina
Aug 24, 2010 Gina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I was tempted to give this book 3 stars, but the author does an excellent job of explaining what codependence is. She does a great job in noting how to recognize it in oneself and in other people. However, 95% of the book explains codependence's symptoms, while 5% of the book explains a supposed solution. This solution consists merely of attending Codependents Anonymous meetings. I think that the author either should have just focused on its symptoms and left the "treatment" section out, or expo ...more
Wendy
Aug 06, 2012 Wendy added it
Shelves: self-help
Fabulous! Right on the money for me.
Codependence for adult survivors of childhood abuse.
How adults abused as children carry that dysfunction into adulthood.
5 core traits of problems with self-esteem, boundaries, all or nothings, caring for our own needs and owning our reality.
Also contains a thorough discussion of every type of child abuse from the minor to major, and its affects on adults and how we then dysfunctionally parent our children.
Content: Clean, but deep discussion of abuse.
Banu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nadia
Jan 08, 2013 Nadia added it


At the start of the book, I thought it read like anyone who experiences problems whatsoever pertaining to people might find themselves falling into the codependent category. But as Pia describes the specificities of codependency (ie. what it looks like, what its roots are), I began taking the book into serious account as describing a singular disease. The point that most struck me was the idea of boundaries and how as a codependent, you don't have them.
Matthew Fox
Fantastic book thats enlighted me to so many areas of my life that I thought I was just plain defective in. Although the book focuses mainly on the symptons Pia Mellody has published a work book thats extremley detailed and should be used in conjuction with Coda meetings or a therapist. Its called "breaking free'.One word of warning, don't try and do the work book without a support network. I tried it and it wasn't fun!!!

Amy
Pia Mellody is another therapist whose experience in her fields of addiction and codependency is extensive and vast. Terry Real references and modifies her model for recovery from codependency in his book for couples, which is timely and appropriate. I'm revisiting these concepts by going straight to the source. So far, it's been great.
Robert
A helpful but meandering read on the topic of codependency. Part of my problem with this book is a culture of 12 step literature which "sometimes" relies solely on the author's on own experience as an authority on what is deemed a disease rather than a behavioral pattern. Very little is dealt in this book on recovery.
Summer
I had my first ever psychiatrist's appointment, and he recommended this book. I found its description of my "issues" more thorough and accurate than anything I've read before. So much so, that, having finished the book yesterday, at the author's recommendation, I attended a Codependents Anonymous meeting today.
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