Codependency is sneaky and powerful. You may not be aware that it’s the root cause of problems in your relationship. Does your marriage or relationship take up your thoughts and energy? Are you unhappy but unable to leave? If you answered yes, you may be codependent. Many codependents believe their happiness depends upon another person, a relationship, or finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. That focuses your thinking and behavior around someone you can’t control. This is codependency. You react to something external, rather than your internal cues. Addicts are codependent, too. Their lives revolve around their addiction – be it food, work, drugs, or sex.
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True happiness emanates from self-esteem, which is the cornerstone of successful relationships, work, and life. Self-esteem reflects how you treat and talk to yourself. If you’re a perfectionist, deep down you may not think you or your accomplishments are good enough. Although self-esteem can fluctuate with life’s ups and downs, high self-esteem helps you return to feeling okay. You don’t blame yourself or take others’ opinions personally. Healthy self-esteem allows you to honor and trust yourself, to meet your needs, and to live authentically in accordance with your values and feelings.
Recovery from codependency begins with developing self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-love. It’s a journey of self-reclamation. You can start by developing your spiritual side, having fun, and being kind and gentle with yourself. Express yourself, pursue your passions, and don’t allow others to abuse you. Changing codependent habits is impossible to do alone without support and a guide to show the way. Read all you can, and attend a 12-Step Program or seek psychotherapy.
My recovery from codependency led me to leave a law practice and become a Marriage and Family Therapist and specialize in addiction and codependency. I’ve worked with individuals and couples for over 27 years and wrote Codependency for Dummies – the most comprehensive book on codependency available. It consists of twenty chapters that cover symptoms, causes, and self-assessment information and provides a complete step-by-step healing program. Because shame lies at the core of codependency, trauma, and addiction, in 2014 I wrote Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Free the True You.
“Darlene is a pro at bringing the truth out of a patient. She helps you peel back the many layers of your troubles. She’s calm and serene and that feeling supplies a comfortable atmosphere to be honest without judgment.”
D.G., Los Angeles
“Darlene has an innate ability to sense what is at the root of an issue and to express those underlying factors in an approachable and hopeful way. She is an excellent listener and a gentle motivator. Each of her reading recommendations turned out to be books that changed my life. My relationship with my wife and my understanding of myself is forever changed as a result of our sessions.”
J.N., Santa Monica