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

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  30,587 ratings  ·  1,455 reviews
The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.

Is someone else's problem your problem? If, like so many others, you've lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else's, you may be codepend
Paperback, 276 pages
Published September 1st 1986 by Hazelden Publishing (first published 1986)
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Lara Heisler
Aug 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Found this really helpful. I bet it could help you, too. In fact, I will loan you my copy. Even if you don't want it. Or I could buy it for you, even though I can't afford it. Don't walk away! I'll give you $20 if you read it. I know it will help you. You need help. Don't worry about me. I'm fine. Now. ...more
Maranda (addlebrained_reader)
This is the book that started it all. I know it is cliché but, this book has changed my life and my thinking…

I was talking to my father on the phone one day and I was explaining to him how I have no problem exercising and eating right when Otty is gone but I can’t seem to keep it up when he is home. My father then asked me if I wanted to know what that was called…he told me it was called co-dependence and that I should start learning about this by reading a book called Co-dependent No More. I pr
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I knew this was a classic of the genre, but I found myself unimpressed by it. Maybe I came at it with the wrong expectations? I was thinking of "co-dependency" in a more generic sense — say, the way a married couple can be enmeshed and lose their boundaries with each other. Beattie's book instead seems dated to me, bound up as it is with the classic origins of the term "co-dependence" in the partners of alcoholics.

For me, the constant references to alcohol and Al-Anon grated on me, as did mentio
Betsy Boo
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What I learned from this book? Good grief! I learned soooooo much! This book opened my eyes to the path toward self-discovery, self-love, and learning how to deal with difficult relationships. I very highly recommend this book, not just for people who live with an alcoholic, but for anyone who is trying desperately hard to fix a bad relationship, whether it's with your spouse, your parents, your children...with anyone you love. I learned how my upbringing has the power to wreck my current and fu ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
practicing what I preach.

I gave it three stars because I read the entire book, and I'm still codependent. I was sort of hoping this would like, cure me. Fix all my issues, sort of like the knight and shining self-help book I've always been waiting for. But it didn't immediately read my mind and meet my needs, and I was crushed. I thought, maybe if I am a better reader, it will be a happier book and then all my dreams will come true. So I tried to be perfect, I ignored all it's flaws, and I put
Dana Baker
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew everything there was to know about co-dependency, but this book took it above and beyond my prior misconceptions. For anyone who has experienced emotional martyrdom and excessive guilt surrounding self-care issues, this is a necessary read! Beattie breaks down unnoticed learned behavior that's passed down through generations, behaviors that are often a result of living with an alcoholic parent or person with dysfunctional coping mechanisms. Although I wasn't directly affected by ...more
Kells Perry
Feb 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
When the author said she didn't come at this from a scientific background I was willing to overlook that until she got to the traits of codependency. If you're going to write a long list with multiple categories and then proceed to contradict yourself (sometimes within the same category) it's going to lower your credibility for me substantially (ex: Under Misc: "Codependents are extremely responsible" and right beneath it "Codependents are extremely irresponsible". This is not the only example e ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Taken from my blog at

In case it isn't already clear, I'm talking about two separate books here. One book is titled "Codependent No More" and the other is "Beyond Codependency." I picked them up at the library after hearing the term codependent used in The Emotionally Abusive Relationship. I've been interested in learning about the concept in the past and never gotten around to it.

So what is codependency? The term was coined originally to describe spouses
Christine Hernando
Mar 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
I decided to read this book because so many of my clients are reading or have read it. I figured it would be a good idea to know what they're reading, especially since these clients regard it so highly but seem to be making little progress. Now I know why. What a load of crap. If the author of this book is to be believed, everyone is codependent. Furthermore, she perpetuates victimhood: it's not my fault I'm codependent. It's a natural, understandable reaction to my childhood, adulthood, blah bl ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very helpful and important book about co-dependency. The author speaks kindly and is supportive and there are lots of practical suggestions too. My criticisms would be that it seems very dated in places, and she does like to use the word "God" when I would've preferred her to use Higher Power, however, that should not diminish the significance or importance of this book. There is no mention of CoDA either, so I am guessing as an organisation, it did not exist when the book was written. It's a ...more
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who feel responsible for the behavior of others
If only I had read this book 10 years ago... I might not be in the mess I'm in now.

This is a good book for those in crisis mode. When you're beaten down and feeling trapped and you don't know what the hell is wrong with you, you need this book, which tells you over and over and over and over again: You're okay, you're a good person. You're okay, you're a good person. You're okay, you're a good person...

I stumbled upon this book a little late. I had already had my crisis, realized I needed to ch
Oct 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
An eye-opening book that reveals many behaviors one adopts to handle living with someone with addiction problems, or as in my case, mental-health issues. I never realized the extent to which my relationship warped me, to some level my fault for allowing it to happen, but the book also presented a lot of ways to come to an understanding of what it means to be a codependent and also ways to combat and correct behavior. I didn't completely like the religious angles that much, though they will be go ...more
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Quite the enlightening book...
Although I am not dealing specifically/only with an alcoholic, there are other controlling behaviors that this applies to. Not necessarily a chemical or substance dependency. Anything that affects your behavior that you find yourself trying to control situations to avoid that behavior.

Favorite Quotes:

A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.

But, the heart of the
Nikola Janevski
Nov 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Besides the poor writing style, this book is meaningless. If you are human you are codependent. Period!
Page after page, the same thing. Repetitive, preachy, persecutory but not redeeming. It reads as if written by an angry teenager. If you need an unhealthy dose of self-hate go for this book otherwise do yourself a favor and get a copy of one of Brene Brown's books.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me a few years ago as a classic in the genre for dealing with codependent behaviours. At the time, I read the first couple of chapters and tossed it aside. What I read didn't seem to click with my experience and I felt put off by the writing. Recently, it was given as a tentative recommendation again ("you may want to look into it to see if it will be useful for you") and I thought, with a distance of a few years, why not try it again? But my opinion hasn't changed m ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am not a person who likes tough love, and it was a very hard to keep reading this book when it felt like I was being torn apart. But I was assured by the person who handed me this book, by looking at their happiness and personality, that the end must be better. Well, she was "tough love" statements through out the book. Reflecting/looking back after having read this book, and I do feel very good, and positive after all. Each chapter ended with an assignment/activity for one to complete. Usuall ...more
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
As an adult child of alcoholic parents I am giving you forced "advice" to read this book. Ha! Just a little codependent joke. I just started to read's heavy and hard to stomach at times, but definitely going to help me. I try to spend a little time with it every couple of days with a journal. So far it's been an amazing read. While it seems like I have a lot of work to do--it's all for the best. I have young children, and don't want to pass this stuff I'm diving in and hopefull ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
It's sort of hard to rate self-help books so I'm just going to rate this one on how helpful it was to me in particular. I would say it was 50% helpful. Simply reading its descriptions of codependency was really instructive. Lately, I've been hearing the word codependent used a lot, and most people are not using it correctly (for example, I've heard several people use it to describe couples who can't go out without each other, and that's not really what it means). Codependency has a very wide def ...more
Mr. Roboto
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Having been raised by a codependent parent who catered to my other narcissistic parent, this book has been validating to read. I now have a better understanding of codependent behavior, and this book has not only verified what I believed, it has also allowed me to check myself for codependent behaviors. Even if you do not identify as codependent (and now I know I do not), you may find, as I did, that learning more about codependence helps put family relationships into perspective. Although I'm n ...more
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
VERY helpful book for many women, including my former self. I have read and recommended, and bought this book countless times for others. I buy every copy I see at garage sales and used book stores, knowing that shortly, someone will come into my sphere that needs it. This book is about taking care of YOURSELF, your neglected areas of living and using boundaries, both on yourself (being caretakers we frequently overreach ourselves) and on others. It clears up messy areas of emotions and I think ...more
Kandi Steiner
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves-3, self-help
Every single person should read this book -- whether you identify as being codependent or not. I read this slowly, over a few months, digesting each new piece and practicing applying everything in my day-to-day life. It opened my eyes to so much and has helped me grow immensely. I highly, highly recommend.

I was first introduced to the term "codependent" by my therapist a little over a year ago. I remember being flabberghasted. "NOT ME! I'm the most financially independent woman there is. I don't
May 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to the concept of codependency by my therapist -- which she described as letting others' feelings dictate our own -- and ever since, it has felt like a door has unlocked. This book is pretty old for a self help book, but I still found so much of it to be relatable and worthwhile. For so long I couldn't understand why certain people's moods consumed my thoughts, why I felt like I needed permission to do things though I'm certainly an adult, why I struggled to just relax and have ...more
Nelma Gray
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, religious stuff aside, it helped me recognize some of my bad habits.
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
A lot of these terms have become buzzwords. People tend to overuse them. People want to be left alone and not have to worry or care about another person. If a woman depends on her husband and this will cost him something, he’s so quick to put a label on her. Oh, she’s codependent! Oh she’s emotionally needy, etc. All these garbage terms!

The book is outdated. She doesn’t make use of science. It is grating to see her constant reference to alcoholism, 12 steps of AA, etc. I expected educated treatm
Teran Warner
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting recommendation from a counselor in my office. It is geared more to spouses of alcohol and drug dependant people, however I have discovered a lot of good informaiton. It is a way to help see how we give too much to the toxic people in our life and some people are just bad people. I do have mixed feelings about it because only certain parts pertained to me, but I gave it a high rating because it is well written on an average person level with real and even funny stories. It ...more
Ben Swingle
This book addressed me specifically. So many of the symptoms of co-dependency have been present in my life since I was a child. I appreciated the compassionate approach to co-dependency, which came from an author who is herself a recovering co-dependent. Many friends have told me that I shouldn't be so hard on myself or that I should take better care of myself, but I disregarded this advice. It wasn't that I disagreed with my friends; rather, compliance threatened to remove the illusion of safet ...more
Crystal Oros
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-illness
This book was difficult for me to read as it was very confronting & made me realise just how hard it is to put myself first & how it's even harder still to be directly honest about what standards & boundaries I feel that I need especially when traumas are involved. I like how Melody makes a point to say go slow, take as long as you need to heal & to heal in your own time, not when others tell you to. I don't completely fit the codependent category so most of it didn't make much sense to me but i ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Janet by: Kathryn Bell
I read this book for a woman's group in order to participate fully in the discussion. It slants heavily toward alcoholism, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Christianity, which served as a distraction for me since none of these are a part of my life. That being said, I definitely benefitted from reading this book. While I'm relieved to know I am not a full-blown codependent who becomes intertwined with dysfunctional people, I definitely saw myself in many of the "positive" codependent characteristics... ...more
Cj Sime
Jun 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
Just awful and did not match the description on the back at all, in fact, I stopped reading 3 times to reread the summary to see if I was crazy. Granted, I didn't finish the book, but I can only assume it didn't get any better after the first 8 chapters.

I felt like the intro did an adequate job of introducing the topic making the next two chapters painfully redundant discussing how codependency is defined. It felt like reading a high schooler's assignment in which they were just trying to fill
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Have you ever felt like someone else's words or behaviors shaped your whole day? Have you ever done something for someone else, when he was capable of doing it for himself? Are you currently in a relationship with someone who is dependent on a substance and/or is abusive verbally or physically? If so, you may be in a codependent relationship and this book may be helpful to you. It was written by a lay person and is almost devoid of jargon. This is a very practical guide to understanding and chan ...more
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Recommendations 1 10 Jan 17, 2017 09:16AM  
Ask Daniel Petra: Our Relationships: are they Energy “suckers” or energy “busters”? 1 7 Jun 09, 2016 12:38PM  

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Over the years, Melody Beattie has become well-known in the world of self-help literature. After turning away from a life of addiction and suffering, Melody shared her own story in order to help others change theirs. Her overnight sensation, Codependent No More, has been influencing millions for over twenty years. Her passion for writing has resulted in fifteen books, including: Co-Dependents Anon ...more

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“Furthermore, worrying about people and problems doesn't help. It doesn't solve problems, it doesn't help other people, and it doesn't help us. It is wasted energy.” 109 likes
“Codependents are reactionaries. They overreact. They under-react. But rarely do they act. They react to the problems, pains, lives, and behaviors of others. They react to their own problems, pains, and behaviors.” 99 likes
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