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211 of 221 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A simple, unflinching introduction to a challenge for many
Some things said simply are more powerful thanks to their simplicity. This book provides a forceful, unflinching description of how people who are raised in a dysfunctional or abusive environment often sabotage and cripple their lives. The structure of the book is straightforward. The situations Mellody discusses are often sound sadly ordinary rather than...
Published on January 28, 2001 by Michael Guttentag

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, Yet Flawed
Surely it must be acknowledged that the concept of codependency and books such as this one have helped many, many individuals improve their lives and overcome 'unhealthy' ways of relating to others. However, Mellody's book has some quite fatal (and frankly, embarrassing) flaws. The concepts of codependency and childhood abuse / neglect as articulated in this book can, at...
Published on August 16, 2012 by Orpheus Sings


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211 of 221 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A simple, unflinching introduction to a challenge for many, January 28, 2001
By 
Michael Guttentag (Santa Monica, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
Some things said simply are more powerful thanks to their simplicity. This book provides a forceful, unflinching description of how people who are raised in a dysfunctional or abusive environment often sabotage and cripple their lives. The structure of the book is straightforward. The situations Mellody discusses are often sound sadly ordinary rather than extraordinary. But the resulting emotional resonance of this book is undeniable.
Mellody methodically dissects the disorder she calls codependency. She first explains how when working with addicted individuals as a nurse in a recovery center in Arizona she saw a repeated pattern of dysfunctional behavior in individuals and their families that went beyond the addictions for which the individuals were being treated. Her work there and her own personal development led to the conclusions in this book. (One of the wonderful aspects of the book is that when Mellody talks about codependents and their behavior) she does not speak condescendingly about "those codependents", but rather uses examples that begin with "I" or "us." This creates a powerful intimacy.
There are four main sections to the book. The first section details what she sees as the core symptoms of codependency: difficulty experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem, difficulty setting functional boundaries, difficulty owning and expressing one's own reality, difficulty taking care of one's adult needs and wants, and difficulty behaving moderately. The second section details how dysfunctional family can push a child (whom Mellody describes as inherently valuable, vulnerable, imperfect, dependent, and immature) into codependency. The third section describes the many kinds of abuse (most of which are not obviously traumatizing on first review) that can push an individual, particularly a child toward codependency. And the last section provides a very preliminary road map to healing codependency: the first step she argues is an awareness of one's codependent state, and second step is a desire to change.
The book addresses well struggles that are an issue for many/most people. It touches on feelings that make books like "The Prince of Tides" and Alice Miller's "The Drama of the Gifted Child" resonant for so many. Here the presentation of more clinical, but not necessarily any less moving. I have two main complaints with the book. First, I don't think the term "codependent" does justice to the broad variety of symptoms that Mellody covers. In fact, I think the title of book alone might dissuade people who otherwise benefit from reading the book. I don't have a wonderful alternative, but I think a title like "Facing Dysfunctional Behavior" or "Facing Self-sabotaging Behavior" would be more accurate. Second, as in many of the twelve-step programs, Mellody consider a "Higher Power" an element in addressing codependent behavior. In reading the book I saw no reason to bring in this concept, and doing so might limit the applicability of these insight to those who are so predisposed. A good, and surprisingly powerful, little powerful book.
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88 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm finally understanding quirks about myself, November 28, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
I sought counseling for depression earlier this year, and this book was recommended to me several times by my social worker. He urged me to "take it with a grain of salt," as Ms. Mellody is very much against codependency, while my counselor does not believe that all aspects of it in all cases are all bad. Until recently, I was hesitant to do any more self-exploration than I was already doing on an almost-daily basis, but since I have started to feel better, I decided to look into this codependency theory. I am only 50 or so pages into the book, but I'm finding it difficult to put down because it seems to describe me to a T in some ways that I never thought anyone else would understand. All my life I have found most of my self-satisfaction only after ensuring that I am pleasing others. When my husband and twin sister kept telling me last year that I never seemed happy (but I never felt truly unhappy), that's when I decided I needed to make a significant change in the way I was living my life. Basing your self-worth on what Ms. Mellody refers to as "others-esteem" (as opposed to self-esteem) is a vicious, exhausting circle. I think I intuitively figured this out over the last few months on my own with the help of my counselor, but it really makes sense hearing Ms. Mellody explain it, because she has been there, so I can identify with her explanations MUCH better than those provided by someone who doesn't understand what it's like to have grown up this way. I hope to convince my husband to read portions of this book, because I think it will help him to realize that my struggles are real and not so unusual after all.
The only downside I have found so far is that nearly all of Ms. Mellody's examples are based on childhood experiences, and so she gives a lot of advice regarding functional parenting. While I would like to give a copy of this book to my sister, mother, and father (because I think my whole family suffers to some degree from this "disease") I am hoping that later on in the book, she addresses codependency in marriages, friendships, and even co-worker relationships, because that's where I seem to have the most problems at this stage in my life.
Overall, a very valuable resource for those of us who "aim to please" but can't seem to find lasting joy for ourselves.
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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely insightful in the area it covers, December 31, 2005
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This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
I am not an expert in this field but as far as I can tell there are at least two distinct strands of co-dependance. There is the type that is induced during adulthood by exposure to an adult addict. Then there is a form induced during childhood via what Pia describes as 'abuse'.

I came into this subject as my wife has been diagnosed with codependancy. The Melodie Beatty books don't come close to describing her symtoms. Pia's book hits her case perfectly. So the usefulness of this book will depend upon which of the two cases concern you.

This books gives the clearest and most detailed explanation of the symptoms and progression of this illness I have come across and her metaphors for describing some of the internal driving forces behind the behaviours are excellent.

One thing that may irritate some is that Pia describes almost any form of dysfunctional parenting as abuse - whilst she is right by her definition it can appear harsh. Her sections upon dysfunctional parenting are extremely helpful - especially as codependants usually pass the disease to their children via this mechanism.

All in all, if you have a form of codependancy induced during childhood I believe this book is a MUST ahve.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Describing CoDependency, December 18, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
I couldn't put this book down after reading the first 5 pages. It described my experience so vividly. I was shocked and scared.
This book describes why and how codependents come about. It describes the causes as well as the symptoms. Majority of it has to do with our childhood experience, especially with the caregivers.
Unlike one reviewer, I do not think this book "bashes" the parents. Parents naturally account for most responsibilities when we were children. After we learned about these, we have to nurture the gratitute and know that our parents did the best they knew.
The book offers excellent coverage among all of the causes, symtoms, and some recovery strategies.
For more information on recovery, one should read Pia's newest book "Intimacy Factor" for more information, and "Breaking Free" for step by step workbook. Attending local CoDependency Anonymous (CoDA) meetings also helped me, but not as much as Pia's books.
I've read all three of Pia's books. I am so grateful Pia would spend the time and energy to write these books. They helped me tremandeously. I highly recommend Pia's books.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life - better than similar titled, March 9, 2006
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
I read a lot of books with similar titles to this one. But this one is dramatically different in the sense that it (for me) correctly identified that the condition I live with is all about me... and that it lives and operates in me without having anything to do with anyone else - except that the actions of others can trigger me.

I feel that a lot of other books on codependence seem to invoke depictions of "someone that supports and enables another person's destructive habits". I would judge that to be a tiny subset of the behaviour, and not much to do with the problem at all. Pia describes how it is really a disease of impaired emotional maturaty as a result of abuse suffered during childhood. (And by abuse, it doesn't take terrible beatings to do the damage and create the condition). She then describes all the symptoms and issues that it creates in our lives. For me, it was like looking in a mirror.

The key point I wanted to present is that this book is different. I strongly believe that other addictions are medications to help mask and dull the pain that comes from codependence.

I have purchased five copies of it now... I keep giving it away.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read At Your Own Risk!, October 18, 2000
By A Customer
Read this book/listen to this tape at your own risk~Pia Mellody has written a book that WILL NOT allow you to continue to live in the comfortable wallow of your own misery. Easy listening/reading? No. Ms. Mellody asks hard questions, demands honesty, and shows you the true face of the person who looks back at you from the mirror-your own self. You cannot read this book or listen to the tape and then ignore the message. Mellody's words stick with you like sidewalk gum on the heel of your shoe. You gotta sit down, shut up, and pay attention to what she has to say, or suffer the uncomfortable consequences of knowing that you have chosen to turn away from the truth. If you put Ms. Mellody's philosophies into action in your own life, you WILL find the freedom to live with joy. You WILL find the path to real maturity. You WILL learn to take responsibility for yourself and your actions...and you will learn to let others take responsibility for themselves. There are hundreds of self-help books available...save your money to buy this one, and do what Pia Mellody tells you to do. It works.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really excellent book!, August 19, 1999
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
One of the most moving parts of this book is her discussion of the "natural characteristics [of a child] that make them authentic human beings... valuable, vulnerable, imperfect, dependent and immature." Not perfect, independent, mature, self-contained, and impervious to hurt. Imagine my surprise! Anyone from a dysfunctional family where meeting Mom & Dad's needs was more important than the parents meeting your needs can benefit from this book. It brought up a lot of sadness for me, but it also encouraged me to begin to parent myself in healthy ways.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Powerful Book, April 22, 2005
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
This book wholeheartedly changed my life. Mellody gives a fantastic insight into the underlying causes and symptoms of codependence and how deeply it can influence a person's life. THough worth it, this book is a difficult read; the material is indepth and can be confusing to someone who is unfamiliar with the true "roots" of codependence. It is also difficult from an emotional perspective as it will certainly drudge up any issues on the surface of one's subconscious. Facing codependence was like opening a door to an entirely new level of my own healing process. It has helped me improve every important area of my life, especially relationships; Mellody's insights also help the reader become very area of OTHER codependents. When I originally flipped through the book(2 or 3 years ago), I was dismayed to read that recovering from codependence can be a long (3-5 year) process. Three years later, I realize how accurate that statement is. The workbook is also very helpful, but difficult to get through since dealing with an issue of this nature is often emotionally painful. If you are truly committed to your own healing path, this book is a must.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pragmatic tool for facing codependence., July 20, 1998
By A Customer
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This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
Easy to read and easy to understand, this book (and it's workbook, "Breaking Free") helped me more than four years of therapy. I've recommended it to many of my loved ones and friends. Worth buying and keeping. A bible of recovery.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It has changed my life..., January 19, 2006
By 
Lewis (Arizona, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives (Paperback)
A counselor referred me to this book...and it has changed my life! I am reading it a second time now. I never knew answers on why I am the way I am and this book does that for me. I would HIGHLY recommend this book! I am lucky because I had assistance understanding the theories about codependence and how to overcome the symptoms. I don't know if this book is as good without some professional guidance, but I think it is a great start for anyone. I am beginning Mellody's follow-up recovery workbook "Breaking Free" in hopes of an ultimate and infinite cure. Again, I highly recommend this book.
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Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives
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