Codependency had always been an amorphous word to me. It was something that plagued weak and needy people. Then I went through a divorce, not of my choosing. I realized I had been codependent through every relationship I’d had. Through the past year, I’ve been through therapy, talked to friends, and have read. A lot.
These are the books I’ve found helpful, and they are from my unique recovery path. Still, I think you’ll find a book for every stage struggling codependents enter: 1. The realization. 2. The Quest for information. 3. Strategies to overcome. 4. How do “normal” people live?
These aren’t in any order, but Scary Close is the book that struck me like lightning and changed my life. It’s the book that shared that codependency wasn’t amorphous. It’s how I thought. The rest renewed my mind.
- Scary Close by Donald Miller
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
- The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson
- Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Sabotage and Healing from Abandonment by Susan Anderson
- Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning
- The Self-Esteem Guided Journal: A 10-Week Program by Matthew McKay PhD
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (And Workbook)
- Thoughts & feelings: taking control of your moods & your life by Matthew McKay
- Healing the shame that binds you by John Bradshaw
- The undervalued self: restore your love/power balance, transform the inner voice that holds you back, and find your true self-worth by Elaine Aron
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine, Rachel Heller
- Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples OR Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix
- Smart Change: Five Tools to Create New and Sustainable Habits in Yourself and Others by Art Markman PhD
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
- I Need Your Love – Is That True? By Byron Katie
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- To be a man: a guide to true masculine power by Robert Augustus Masters
- The invisible presence : how a man’s relationship with his mother affects all his relationships with women by Michael Gurian
- Self-therapy : a step-by-step guide to creating wholeness and healing your inner child using IFS, a new cutting-edge psychotherapy by Jay Earley
- Invisible men: men’s inner lives and the consequences of silence by Michael Addis
- Healing relationships is an inside job: when the connection between you and another person is strained or broken by Arlene Harder
- Healing your emotional self: a powerful program to help you raise your self-esteem, quiet your inner critic, and overcome your shame by Beverly Engel.
- Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie (And workbook)
- Let Go Now: Embracing Detachment by Karen Casey
- Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles Whitfield
- Struggle for Intimacy by Janet Woititz
- Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love and Intimacy by David Richo
- When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships by David Richo
- Mate: Become the Man Women Want by Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller
P.S. If you’ve found this list then it was likely due to a Google search out of desperation. I remember being there. A book won’t change your life. Only you can. Self-care must be the most important driver in your life for a while. Read these books, go to therapy, open up to friends, write in a journal, get sunlight, exercise, eat right, got to Al-Anon meetings, and get plenty of sleep. Time fixes everything else.