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Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives Paperback – April 29, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
This book stands out among the current glut of material on codependence because it claims the realm of parenting for its vantage point. The authors believe that codependents must heal themselves in order not to repeat the "less than nurturing" behaviors of their own addicted or emotionally dysfunctional parents. Hence, they couple strategies for recovery with guidelines on what is and is not "normal" in the parent-child relationship. The authors' conclusions will invite controversy; for instance, they suggest that "emotional sexual abuse" of children may lead to homosexuality in adulthood. Nor are they reluctant to generalize: "Although physical and mental illness aren't addictions, their effect on the family is the same." Offsetting the opinionated commentary is great compassion for the helpless, hurt children who live inside adult codependents. Mellody and Andrea Wells Miller are coauthors of Breaking Free: A Recovery Workbook for Facing Co de pend ence ; J. Keith Miller is a freelance writer. Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Mellody is a true pioneer...she offers tried and effective ways to treat codependency. This is a splendid offering.” (John Bradshaw, national director of Codependency TreatmentLife Plus Institute, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You and Bradshaw On: The Family.)
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This is a book intended for people who want to change their behavior in some significant way and are serious about learning to help themselves do so. Changing one's behavior is admirable and can be exceedingly difficult.
The biggest problem with this book is the use of the word, "abuse". Ms. Mellody defines abuse as almost anything which in her views leads a person into a codependent relationship.
The problem with this word, particularly as it is used today, is that "abuse" has a literal legal definition as well as a societal notion of relatively harsh meaning. For this reason alone, I believe many readers will either stop reading this book or read it and become defensive either about the actions of their parents or themselves and fail to see the actual contributions of those actions to behavior that later became codependent.
Consequently, for this book to work for you, you must make that mental leap and accept Ms. Mellody's definition without involking defensiveness, which is not simple.
This book is about parenting most of all; helping you understand what should have been done to you or what you should have done with your own children so that you can begin to understand why you or your children interact with others the way they do. From understanding / knowledge you are presented the opportunity to begin to change.
Behavioral change starts one step at a time and involves mistakes - nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ms. Mellody describes her journey of frustration (with professionals), self-discovery (through interviews and groups) and eventual change. None of this is easy just as this book is not a roadmap, but an illustration to illuminate a possible journey for you, to help ease your path which will be difficult enough without reinventing the wheel.