What is Codependency?

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.


My Books

Read reviews and more. For Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You and Codependency for Dummies, click on the covers to buy at Amazon. (Also available at Barnes & Noble and Flipkart). The MP3, Webinars and ebooks are available here. Books and ebooks are also at all online booksellers, including Smashwords for Apple and Kobo.


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, healthy self-esteem helps you return to feeling okay. You don’t blame yourself or take others’ opinions personally. 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 – a discovery of who you really are beneath learned, false ideas. You gain the ability to express yourself assertively, pursue your passions, and prevent others from abusing you. Recovery also includes having fun, being kind and gentle with yourself, and for many people, developing their spiritual side. Changing codependent habits is impossible to do alone without the support of others 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 to become a Marriage and Family Therapist and specialize in addiction and codependency. I’ve worked with individuals and couples for over 28 years and wrote Codependency for Dummies  – the most comprehensive book on codependency available. It consists of twenty-one chapters that cover symptoms, causes, self-assessment information and tools for change. It provides a complete step-by-step healing program. I also wrote Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Free the True You  that provides eight steps to heal toxic shame, which lies at the core of codependency, trauma, and addiction.

Client’s comments

“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

“I don’t think have ever met a therapist with deeper knowledge and understanding for shame. Darlene in person is super sharp and has a broad knowledge base and experience.” C.M., Tahoe, CA

“Therapy went beyond my objectives and expectations. I originally just wanted to get over a breakup. Through my transformative sessions with Darlene, I was able to find confidence and not live plagued by the opinions, feelings of guilt/responsibility for others feelings, the ‘should’s’ and everything else that prevented me from being kind to myself. The most helpful part of therapy is the non-judgmental environment in which I actually felt listened to, supported, and empathized with. D.O., 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. My relationship with my wife and my understanding of myself is forever changed as a result of our sessions.” J.N., Santa Monica

“Marriage counseling with Darlene was life-changing. She gave us the tools to resolve conflict in a positive way. After 31 years of hating my husband and staying in the marriage due to convenience, I can gratefully say that I like my ‘new and improved’ husband now, respect him, admire him, and truly adore him.” J.O.

“I strongly recommend therapy with Darlene to anyone committed to the demanding process of healing from abuse, who has the strength to look inside for the answers. Darlene is a most remarkable coach. Thank you for teaching me how to perceive my inner voice as part of who I am, and not some illness borne extension, which means that I can now trust that I can self direct…that I can steer my own boat. You, unlike any other therapist I have enjoyed working with, forced me to understand that I can walk on my own. What I have today that I’d lost is confidence in myself. It was always there. It just wasn’t working.” C.G., Syracuse, NY

“When I began working with Darlene, I was at a place in my life that felt rock-bottom. Really, every part of me changed. My anxiety subsided to a degree. I challenged myself more. I gained a perspective and sense of self I actually like. I feel so grateful to have worked with Darlene. I now have the tools to cope with life’s difficulties.” Nicky, Los Angeles