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Melody Beattie's New Book Redefines 'Codependency'

By January 7, 2009

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The writer who introduced the world to the concept of "codependency" and launched a new therapeutic movement has a new book out that she hopes will clarify some of the confusion about the topic and remove some of the stigma the term has attracted. Melody Beattie said codependency has come to be associated with the "rabbit-boiling behavior in Fatal Attraction."

Her new book, "The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today's Generation," was released Jan. 1, 2009.

In an interview with Christine Stapleton in the Palm Beach Post, Beattie, 60, said her new book is aimed at a second generation of codependents who have an entire different set of issues.

The original generation of codependents were "raised to believe martyrdom, self-denial and incessant caretaking were righteous virtues to be practiced to the point of misery and annoyance," Beattie explained.

The new generation was born in the 1970s and 1980s to parents "who wanted to make sure their children had everything they didn't get" and they protected them from every problem and emotion. "It's the other side of the coin and it's just as bad ... a sense of over-entitlement, over-protection and self-esteem that crosses the line into narcissism."

Going Too Far With Recovery

In her first book, "Codependent No More, Beattie defined a "codependent" as someone "who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior. We believe that we'd be happy if the other person would just change."

In her new book, Beattie warns about codependents going too far when trying to recover from their former behaviors to the point of becoming cold and uncaring.

"One of the biggest problems I have with the codependent recovery movement is people consider themselves recovered when they don't give to anyone, they're not loving and kind," Beattie told Stapleton. "I have people come up to me so proud that they didn't help somebody who was in dire need. That's not what I'm talking about."

Read Stapleton's interview with Beattie in Palm Beach Post.

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Photo: PriceGrabber
January 9, 2010 at 7:40 am
(1) Michele says:

I’ve always looked after things and i’ve always organised stuff. I find the concept of know longer having anything to care for and organise weird my children have nearly all left home and more often than not I can’t settle to anything. I’ve only stumbled on codependency trying to help my husband with his problem. I can relate to a lot of stuff that’s been written. Thank you

February 19, 2010 at 10:42 am
(2) Rodney says:

I do not believe there is such a thing as a Co dependent. We, as humans adapt to a situation in order to maintain and hold together a family unit. Seems to me it strikes against the very tennants of the 12 step recovery. An addict blaming or finding someone else to to fault for their situation. A disease? Come on, lets get real, a wife or a husband will go through great lengths to keep the family unit together. this is not a disease, this is survival and to discount this or minimalize the ideal of love and caring is just wrong. Every family has a degree of disfuction, we as imperfect people adapt to this disfunction and adjust our lifestyle in accordance, be it healthy or unhealthy.
Perhaps you might rethink your position.

March 14, 2011 at 9:08 pm
(3) KL says:

Your a fool Rodney. I hope this never happens to you

June 16, 2011 at 12:13 am
(4) Summer says:

You are a true fool, Rodney. You do not know what it is like to be a caring, genuine, and compassionate person who wants to make a change in the world, but feels captured by the dichotomy of being caring and also caring for oneself and setting boundaries.

October 7, 2011 at 10:31 am
(5) Robert says:

Melodie has a great deal of wisdom and
her books have always helped me.

May 20, 2012 at 4:17 am
(6) Blue says:

Are “second generation codependents” really codependent at all? The way it’s described, it seems like this second generation is just the opposite of codependent. Yes, they’re offspring of codependents, but that doesn’t necessarily make them codependent.

March 4, 2013 at 11:20 am
(7) Calvin says:

As a practicing addict who was sober for over 20 years, how do I protect the loved ones around me from the harm I am and am going to cause?


March 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm
(8) Dave Biggs says:

Calvin, get back into recovery and go to meetings before it is too late!!!

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