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Welcome to Codependency No More

LET’S EXPLORE WHAT CODEPENDENCY RECOVERY IS ALL ABOUT

I’m Brian Pisor, Co-Founder of Codependency No More. If you’re struggling with boundaries in a relationship, having problems saying “no” to someone, or looking to get mental and emotional clarity, this page is for you. 

My philosophy is simple: Be useful, be truthful, and make it easy for people to find the help they need. That’s what I’m all about, and that’s what Codependency No More is all about.

What is Codependency?

THE CNM DEFINITION

While the word “codependency” has evolved to mean lots of different things to different people, our general definition here at CNM – is the following:

 

A dysfunctional relationship in which a person is more concerned about the needs of others than his or her own needs. It is often characterized by excessive care-taking, enabling, controlling, and / or an unhealthy need for recognition or approval.

 

Simply put, codependents give too much, typically to their own detriment.

What Codependency is NOT

MYTHBUSTING, CNM STYLE

Now, let’s dispel some myths and set realistic expectations before we go any deeper.

 

  1. Codependency does NOT mean you’re just really nice and helpful. Nowadays people tend to throw the word around like a frisbee, but real codependency does not simply mean you’re extremely kindhearted and willing to do things for other people. It means crossing the line between healthy interdependence and help that hurts. A codependent’s “help” usually involves anxiety, discomfort, and feeling out of control, because the motivation behind the help isn’t just for the sake of helping, it’s done in order to avoid a catastrophe of some sort.
  2. Codependents do NOT always come from families with alcoholics. Even though the word was coined for the family members of alcoholics as part of Alcoholics Anonymous, the effects of codependency seem to originate from a variety of causes, often involving some sort of trauma, pronounced or subtle. People who grow up in “normal” environments may still have circumstances that create feelings of shame, unresolved grief or abandonment, all of which can cause codependent tendencies. So, codependency is often thought of on a sliding scale, and anyone can suffer from it.
  3. Codependency is NOT just for women. While there’s an 85% chance that you’re female, both women and men can have codependency issues.

How To Answer the Question 

ARE YOU CODEPENDENT?

If you landed here because you think you might be codependent or someone recently told you that you are, we have a quick quiz that can help you figure that out. 

Also consider the following:

 

  • Do you tend to control situations with other people because it makes you feel safer?
  • Do you feel guilty for someone else when they act inappropriately in public, and perhaps even try to cover it up for them?
  • Is it hard for you to say “no” when someone else asks you for help, even if helping would be inconvenient for you?
  • Do you remain loyal to people who are harmful to you?
  • Do you place a high value on someone else’s approval of your behavior or feelings?

 

The more you identify with the words above, the further to the right you fall on the Human Interdependence Spectrum (and the more likely you are to be codependent).

Codependency Recovery Essential #1

LEARN YOUR “BRAND” OF CODEPENDENCY AND TRIGGERS

All Codependency Is Not Created Equal.

It’s true. Once used as a blanket term for family members of alcoholics, (codependency) as we know it nowadays entails up to four unique but sometimes related behavior patterns. They are:

 

  1. Self-Sacrifice – This is the classic behavior pattern most closely resembling the original label for codependents. Self-Sacrificers are rescuers and fixers. They are strong, proactive, the quintessential “battle axe”. They often see others’ needs as greater than their own, care-take, and give unsolicited advice. They feel inadequate, guilty, and selfish when they see someone in need and don’t help.
  2. Subjugation – These are the people-pleasers who do it out of fear of retaliation and judgment. They don’t express their thoughts or feelings easily, and don’t want to be rejected. They avoid confrontation at all costs, and almost always capitulate when someone is angry with them, or they’re asked to do something.
  3. Approval Seeking – Their primary motivation is to be liked, applauded, recognized and congratulated. Approval seekers often go along with popular opinion in order to avoid conflict and keep peace. They’re frequently asking themselves, “Did I do a good job?” “Does that person like me?” “Will this person or group approve of my words and actions?”
  4. Unrelenting Standards – The perfectionists. These people judge themselves (and others) against high standards, and can come across as controlling or stressed. They’re driven by fear of failure, inadequacy and criticism. They’re often workaholics, judgmental, and tend to have a strong case of the “the shoulds”. (I should have done this better. You should have said that differently.)

 

Reading this list probably helped you identify strongly with at least one of these descriptions. This is important because identifying your brand of codependency makes it easier to identify your personal triggers so you can overcome them.

To learn more about these types of codependency, check out CNM Podcast Episode 12 (beginning 14 minutes 13 seconds into the recording).

To learn more about codependency triggers and how to overcome them, check out this video lesson with downloadable handouts I personally created. (This is a paid product, and proceeds are used to help run this website.)

Codependency Recovery Essential #2

LEARN THE PRINCIPLES OF HEALTHY BOUNDARIES AND HOW TO ENFORCE THEM

Whatever their codependency looks like, codependents inevitably struggle with a distorted perception of personal boundaries.

The single best book I’ve found on personal boundaries is Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Inspired by the success of the Boundaries book, Dr. Henry Cloud has also created a membership site at Boundaries.me that has a growing library of videos and tools to help you set boundaries in different areas of your life. Each month he releases a new set of videos. Dr. Cloud also provides workbooks (online or printable) to help you work through the process of boundary-setting.

Lastly, I interviewed author and professional counselor John Raven all about boundaries on The CNM Podcast. This is a good place to start learning about boundaries (and feel free to subscribe to the podcast if you like what you hear). Press the play button below to listen, and you can also read the interview transcript here.

Codependency Recovery Essential #3

REMOVE YOURSELF FROM TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

Don’t ask why people keep hurting you. Ask yourself why you keep allowing it to happen.

~ Robert Tew

 

In the hundreds of people I’ve talked with about recovering from codependency, not one of them made progress they wanted while still in a toxic relationship. Leaving seems to be a pre-requisite to truly healing.

The fact that you’re reading this means there’s a 23% chance you’re thinking about leaving a toxic relationship right now (I’ve surveyed my readers extensively).

Here are some great places to start:

 

ONE – If you’re 100% ready to do this, the single best resource I’ve found to help you quickly get your ducks in a row, get out and stay out is Kim Saeed’s Essential Break Free Bootcamp. (Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation, at no extra cost to you, if you purchase through this link.) One key to leaving is ensuring that your abuser has absolutely no reason to get in contact with you once you’re gone. This bootcamp provides the “how to” steps for preparing to leave, breaking free, and then remaining in a “no contact” status for at least 90 days after you separate. This dramatically helps your chances of success, and Kim is the expert. (My sister, Jennifer, left her abuser 10 times before she finally stayed away for good. She says this bootcamp would have helped her save years of her life.)

The Essential Break Free Bootcamp

THE BEST RESOURCE I’VE FOUND TO QUICKLY AND SUCCESSFULLY BREAK FREE FROM TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

The creator of the this bootcamp, Kim Saeed, spent years in a toxic marriage before breaking free. She now helps people work through the initial planning stages, exit strategies, the moment of No Contact, and ways to heal in the aftermath of narcissistic abuse.

(Please note: As an affiliate of this bootcamp, I will be compensated, at no cost to you, if you decide to purchase. )

TWO – If you’re not quite ready to leave, but want to start educating yourself on why and how to do it, How To Do No Contact Like A Boss is a great read. It discusses how to tell whether your partner is a narcissist, whether or not you’re in an abusive relationship, preparation and strategies for leaving the relationship, and dealing with the cravings to contact him or her after you split. There are also some chapters on co-parenting, divorce, legal proceedings, and personal healing. It’s a great resource if you want to start understanding what you’re up against.

THREE – I interviewed the creator of the first two resources, Kim Saeed, on my podcast. In this interview, we discuss narcissistic abuse and going “No Contact”. You can listen by pressing the play button below. You can also find a transcript of the interview here.

Get Help on Your Journey

MY FREE, EXCLUSIVE EMAIL CONTENT

As you get started on healing from codependency, I’d love to share with you some simple insights and guidance that my family and I have learned along our journey.

The content in this free video course is exclusive. You won’t find it anywhere else. My sister, Jennifer, and I created it specifically based on the learning process she went through after a long, difficult relationship.

Get immediate access now by clicking the button below. I cannot wait to help you get started.

I Appreciate You!

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE

I’m here for you as both a guide and as a friend.

I want to hear your stories. I want to know how else I can help you. I want to make the world a better place by helping people relate to one another in healthier ways, with kindness, love, and deep awareness.

Thank you so much for your support. And if you’ve made it this far, I’d love for you to come say “hi” and visit us on our Facebook Page.

29 Comments
  1. Really glad to find this page, book,blog, podcast exists! I am in a couple very messy emotional entanglements and I need to learn how to take care of myself and my daughter first. So Thank you, in advance, for this life raft in stormy waters.

  2. Tessa, we’re honored to be able to help.

  3. My wife is the one who recommended this site. The more I read the more I realize that I am codependent. Where do I begin my road to recovery before it ruins my marriage?

    • Feel free to visit our Contact Us page and leave your contact info. There are a few routes we might suggest once we hear more about your situation.

    • Hello Jesse,

      I’m sorry for the late response. However, if you are still looking for help, check out this link to see if they have a support group near you. Be well.

      http://coda.org/

  4. Do you have any research on codependents trying to cope with bipolar spouses?

    • Hi Joanne,

      Marsha Linehan is well-known for her work in developing Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which has been shown to be very effective in treating BPD, Bipolar, and even codependency issues.

      http://www.linehaninstitute.org – this may be a good place to start!

  5. I quite literally realized THIS morning that I am a Codependent. I’ve been researching many of the disorders trying to figure out why I’m so broken and accidentally stumbled across the description of a codependent… If anyone had even hinted that I might have underlying issues of being a codependent before now I would have laughed in their face… Any sites you can point me to that might be beneficial other than this one will be appreciated.

    • I will go above and beyond to make sure others are happy, typically to my own DETRIMENT. (I have actually used this sentence to describe myself). I cried reading through much of this.

      • Hey Kelli! I’m glad you found this. Coming to terms with your tendency can be a hard admission. I hope we can provide some useful insights 🙂

  6. I so need this support group

  7. I just found your podcast, then your site! I need this so terribly bad! I’m desperate for help to stop being codependent to my adult daughter! I’m starting Alanon this week, I hope! I planned on going last week, but I have chronic illnesses and wasn’t able to go! Can you suggest any more help? Thank you so much!!!

    • Hi Kathy. Yes, I’m reading a book right now that I think many in your shoes would benefit from. It’s called BALM (“Be A Loving Mirror”): The Loving Path To Family Recovery, and I’m planning to do a mini-series on the podcast with the author. Her philosophy takes Al-Anon several steps further, so that you can detach from the drama of addiction with love, while learning the skills to be your loved one’s best chance at recovery.

  8. I’ve been recovering from codependency for 3 months now. I have a life time of toxic behaviors and relationships to work through. I have a new hope an a new outlook on life because someone took the time to explain to me what codependency was. I am grateful to have found such a great resource in your podcasts. I’m getting a little bit better every day. Thanks for the information and encouragement.

  9. Would like to know if I’m codependent.

  10. Hello, I am so glad i found the issue of codependency mainly and thoroughly it being the root of Alcoholism, Racism,Fear,anger,resentment, Sanctified Misunderstanding, I am a member of “Alcoholic Anonymous” 9 years sober, Although i found that most individuals i come in contact with at these groups have no idea that this is the real issue not Alcohol or drugs or Money or Sex or God or cars or homes or anything else, the recovery process for me began about 5 years ago when i finally realized what the problem actually was, when i approach the issue at group i am received with some disdain so have backed off of group and find thing work very well with out Meeting where the dialogue is mostly ” Well i got drunk and pissed in the refrigerator twenty years ago, and then i got a D.W.I then i got another one and my parents kept telling me “We never raised you that way” so on and so forth, I am not quite sure what to do with the A.A thing other than let go.

    Thank you

    Jeff ( St Louis, Mo)

  11. I was diagnosed codependent in 1991 at age 16. I had NO clue what that meant; I’m not sure my couselor knew what that meant either. I do know she couldn’t explain how I’d gotten that way other than a huge amount of anger I felt towards my father for letting us go, my mother for being a mean mom, my aunt for committing suicide, and me…left behind picking up the pieces. I got better and stopped counseling around 17. At 20, I had to restart it because of a few traumatic thing that happened. I got better again…or so I thought. I’m now 40 and I am quite literally on a snowing mountain watching a huge avalanche bearing down on me and I know I have no escape this time. But then, I don’t want to escape. I’m not hiding in fear of what I’ll find or how it will change my feelings and or thoughts towards my friends, loved ones, or myself. I see the debris coming towards me and me…plowing through it with a shield, much like you would see an animated superhero do. The only difference is, the only person I have to save is myself.

    After being in and out of counseling for 4 years, I have finally found one that asked me what I expect of her. I expect her to call me out, to be tough, and help me heal once and for all. I found your Podcast while looking for a TED talk on emotions and the brain and codependency. I am on episode 9 about narcissitic relationships. This was my childhood, it became my marriage, it became the romatic relationship that would ultimately tear me to my core, it is the lightbulb. I will be listening to all of your podcasts and I thank you for being here.

  12. Co-dependency seems to be inherent in our society – like it is the ‘norm’, even though dysfunctional.

    I don’t know anyone that isn’t on the co-dependant spectrum and I often wonder, from a spiritual point of view,
    if it is part of the grand design. It’s as though it is set up that we are somehow disconnected from our essence,
    in order to experience that.

    Not sure if this all makes sense; what do others think?

  13. My question is my female friend keeps telling me she wants me to be codependent no more.I really like her and I want to help her.She tells me I need to work on my own problems.She has a problem with alcohol.

  14. Your podcasts keep me going, the pain and incredible fear I live with constantly is incredible. Your topic made me understand me and not feel so alone!

  15. So what are your credentials?
    Do you have a team of certified physiologists? Or is this more free-lance?

  16. Hello
    My doctor told me about this book Codependency No More..To get this book and read it again…yes I said again!!!
    I was having problems in my marriage and some drug use of my own along with alcohol and it didn’t help that I came from a long line of alcoholism and drug problems…
    These problems and more have kept my life upside down for over 20 years..
    Now I’m faced with even more with my own mother at age 73 will not walk away from the dope pipe and I’m just can’t keep turning a blind eye to what she is doing and the family member whom is still giving this stuff to her along with all her meds and medical problems she has now.
    Please help I tired of crying inside and feeling like I have to keep helping her cause she is my mother..
    Thank you for allowing me to speak out without feeling like I’m hurting someone I love..
    Vickie

  17. Hello,

    I just listen to all of your pod cast and I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

    This info is changing my life from despair to having the tools to make changes and for the first time in my life living my true life. I’m just getting started but you have given me the confidence I needed to change my life for the better.

    Thank you
    Rebecca

  18. So happy to find this article. Syncing on Facebook to learn more about how I can be supported and also support those this dealing with same codependent issues. Thank you so very much!

  19. Thanks for all your work, shedding light on this thing called codependency and how it affects us.

  20. I just recently found your podcasts and listen to and from work. Reading what brand of codependency I have, um, all of them. I struggle with codependency more in my personal relationships than in my work environment. I’ve even had people remark on it as THEY could see it so clearly in my former marriage. I look forward to learning more. Thank you!

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