The most recommended books on codependency

Who picked these books? Meet our 9 experts.

9 authors created a book list connected to codependency, and here are their favorite codependency books.
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Book cover of The Road Back to Me: Healing and Recovering From Co-dependency, Addiction, Enabling, and Low Self Esteem.

Ross Rosenberg Author Of The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap

From my list on to overcome codependency and childhood trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My 30+ years as a psychotherapist and mental health educator with a strong focus on codependency has enabled me to create, produce and provide compelling and life-changing books and seminars. My own experiences recovering from codependency led to the creation of my ground-breaking Human Magnet Syndrome, Self-Love Recovery Treatment, and Codependency Cure contributions. It is understood through my work that codependency is a mere symptom of not loving oneself. Codependency is not what needs to be treated, rather the root cause needs to be addressed. Therefore, I have re-defined and re-conceptualized codependency into “Self-Love Deficit Disorder™ (SLDD)," which is a trauma, core shame, pathological loneliness, and addiction disorder.

Ross' book list on to overcome codependency and childhood trauma

Ross Rosenberg Why did Ross love this book?

This book, written by life coach Lisa A. Romano, tells the story of a woman who has suffered childhood trauma, loneliness, and low self-esteem but eventually reaches a turning point where she heals from the faulty programming of her childhood that allows her to experience a healthy marriage. This book is a valuable resource for readers who may feel imprisoned by their unfortunate childhood. From codependency to narcissistic abuse, The Road Back to Me is an important resource for those seeking hope and inspiration to heal from their troubled past. This book features a well-written, descriptive, and inspirational story.

By Lisa A. Romano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road Back to Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I was in my early thirties when I was told by a therapist that I was codependent and that my codependency was the result of being raised by two unrecovered adult children of alcoholics. At the time I was suffering from panic disorder, clinical depression, adult onset asthma and various other heath issues. Fearing I might die from some chronic disease, I enlisted the help of a therapist to help me sort out what might be the cause of all of my unease. When my therapist told me that all of my problems were related to being codependent I was…


Book cover of Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul

Rebecca E. Williams Author Of The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress, and Anger That Trigger Addictive Behaviors, 2nd Edition

From my list on ridiculously simple self-care in addiction recovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a psychologist, an award-winning author, and a yoga and meditation devotee. Growing up in the Bronx, New York I saw firsthand the devastating impact addiction can have on individuals and families. That is why I have dedicated my professional life to understanding and supporting people recovering from addiction, mental illness, and life's challenges. I’m also the co-author of The Gift of Recovery: 52 Mindful Ways to Live Joyfully Beyond Addiction, which offers lots of strategies to manage daily stressors. I wholeheartedly believe there is a path back to wellness. It takes a foundation of self-compassion and daily focus on your healing. You deserve to be healthy and happy.

Rebecca's book list on ridiculously simple self-care in addiction recovery

Rebecca E. Williams Why did Rebecca love this book?

I stumbled upon a terrific life companion in Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart book. I read a few gentle meditations every evening before bed, and feel both inspired and relaxed. There is definitely a way back to self-compassion and mental well-being and Melody has cleared the rocky path for us. All we have to do is walk it with her. If you have just one book by your bedside as you heal from addiction, this should be the one.

By Melody Beattie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journey to the Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spirit of her bestselling "The Language of Letting Go", America's most beloved inspirational writer guides us on a sacred journey as we learn to expand our creativity, embrace our powers, and open our hearts. Writing with the same warmth, honesty, and compassion that has attracted such a loyal following, Melody Beattie now charts a new path toward spiritual growth and renewal. In 365 insightful and delightfully warm daily reflections, "Journey to the Heart" will comfort and inspire us all as we begin to discover our true purpose in the world and learn to connect even more deeply with…


Book cover of Iron Legacy: Childhood Trauma and Adult Transformation

Alle C. Hall Author Of As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back

From my list on girls with traumatic backgrounds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Alle C. Hall lived in Asia, traveled there extensively, and speaks what she calls, “clunky Japanese.” She lives in Seattle with a family whose love astounds her. She is proud of a note from The Kavanagh Sisters, Joyce, June, and Paula, founders of Ireland’s Count Me In! Survivors of Sexual Abuse Standing Together for Change, who write: “Alle may never know how many people she will help with this novel. Her ability to portray the hidden damage of the crime of sexual abuse shows that every decision a survivor makes is born out of deep self-hatred. Her storytelling is a frontal attack on those lies.”

Alle's book list on girls with traumatic backgrounds

Alle C. Hall Why did Alle love this book?

I am endlessly grateful for, astounded by, my joy-filled life, given my history of childhood trauma. I have no doubt that the reasons I’ve done as well as I have is the healing philosophy put forth in Iron Legacy. Full disclosure: the author was my therapist for 30 years, until she retired. I wasn’t her guinea pig, and I certainly make no money from recommending her book. I just happened to be Donna’s client for 30 of the 50 years during which she developed the ideas that are the core of Iron Legacy.

The physical/emotional/spiritual path of the main character in my book is based on what I learned about family dysfunction by working with Donna.

Iron Legacy combines Donna’s short, personal essays and her self-help nonfiction in a way that deftly unpeels why adults living with childhood trauma behave the way we do. Why the addiction? Why the…

By Donna Bevan-Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Iron Legacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Donna Bevan-Lee had a tough childhood. When her father was feeling playful, he roped her by the foot like a rodeo calf, yanking her to the ground every time the rope connected. In darker moods, he did far worse, his brutality excused by a church that gives men absolute power over women and children. The abuse she suffered had profound and lasting consequences, including self-loathing, addiction, and an inability to say "no."

Too many adults have similar histories. Roughly a quarter of American children experience complex trauma resulting from abuse, neglect, catastrophic illness, or other adversity. Because such trauma affects…


Book cover of Healing Your Lost Inner Child Companion Workbook: Inspired Exercises to Heal Your Codependent Relationships

Ross Rosenberg Author Of The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap

From my list on to overcome codependency and childhood trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My 30+ years as a psychotherapist and mental health educator with a strong focus on codependency has enabled me to create, produce and provide compelling and life-changing books and seminars. My own experiences recovering from codependency led to the creation of my ground-breaking Human Magnet Syndrome, Self-Love Recovery Treatment, and Codependency Cure contributions. It is understood through my work that codependency is a mere symptom of not loving oneself. Codependency is not what needs to be treated, rather the root cause needs to be addressed. Therefore, I have re-defined and re-conceptualized codependency into “Self-Love Deficit Disorder™ (SLDD)," which is a trauma, core shame, pathological loneliness, and addiction disorder.

Ross' book list on to overcome codependency and childhood trauma

Ross Rosenberg Why did Ross love this book?

This book, written by my friend and fellow psychotherapist Robert Jackman, helps readers explore unresolved wounds from their childhood. Robert describes his own past, and his journey to assist readers with developing a deeper understanding of their relationships and codependency patterns. As many people are not aware of the unresolved emotional pain that they may carry, this book is a very valuable resource as it explains why childhood trauma may be the root cause of their feelings of depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions. A truly valuable book written by Robert’s own experience healing his lost inner child.

By Robert Jackman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Healing Your Lost Inner Child Companion Workbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As you discovered through reading Healing Your Lost Inner Child, until we do our work to examine, understand and heal our wounded inner child, this part will continue to show up in our lives. In Healing Your Lost Inner Child Companion Workbook, Psychotherapist and author Robert Jackman builds on the extensive material in the book with expanded exercises to help you better understand your inner child, yourself and your wisdom so that you feel authentic and complete.

This workbook features additional stories, examples and new concepts. You can read the Companion Workbook independently, but you will receive a deeper level…


Book cover of How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

Bodhipaksa Author Of This Difficult Thing of Being Human: The Art of Self-Compassion

From my list on finding and building compassion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went through a particularly hard time several years ago and to get through it I was forced to dig deep into what I’d learned about compassion and self-compassion over three decades of meditating. Because I’m a meditation teacher, I wanted to share with my students everything I learned about being kind and supportive toward myself as I went through the toughest challenges I’d ever faced so that they could benefit as well. That’s why I wrote This Difficult Thing of Being Human. Self-compassion has become the core of everything I’ve taught since then, and one of the wonderful things about it is that once you’ve shown yourself compassion, you automatically find yourself treating others with compassion too.

Bodhipaksa's book list on finding and building compassion

Bodhipaksa Why did Bodhipaksa love this book?

One of my favorite sayings (by G.K. Chesterton) is, “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” With these well-chosen words, Chesterton converted me to “imperfectionism.” It’s not that as imperfectionists we should aim to do things badly, but that we should aim to do necessary things and accept that we’re going to make mistakes on the way. Guise’s writing isn’t always elegant. However, he puts the case strongly that perfectionism is not something to humble-brag about, and is a “disorder of the mind.” More importantly, though, he offers detailed, practical, easy-to-implement steps for developing an imperfectionist mindset where we “lose our crippling fear of not doing [things] well.”

By Stephen Guise,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Be an Imperfectionist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From an early age, kids are taught to color inside the lines, and any color that strays outside the lines is considered to be a mistake that must be avoided. Perfectionism is a naturally limiting mindset. Imperfectionism, however, frees us to live outside the lines, where possibilities are infinite, mistakes are allowed, and self-judgment is minimal.The old way to approach perfectionism was to inspire people to “let go” of their need for perfection and hope they could do it. The new way is to show people how simple but highly strategic "mini actions” can empower them to gradually and effortlessly…


Book cover of Boundary Boss: The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen, and (Finally) Live Free

Ross Rosenberg Author Of The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap

From my list on to overcome codependency and childhood trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My 30+ years as a psychotherapist and mental health educator with a strong focus on codependency has enabled me to create, produce and provide compelling and life-changing books and seminars. My own experiences recovering from codependency led to the creation of my ground-breaking Human Magnet Syndrome, Self-Love Recovery Treatment, and Codependency Cure contributions. It is understood through my work that codependency is a mere symptom of not loving oneself. Codependency is not what needs to be treated, rather the root cause needs to be addressed. Therefore, I have re-defined and re-conceptualized codependency into “Self-Love Deficit Disorder™ (SLDD)," which is a trauma, core shame, pathological loneliness, and addiction disorder.

Ross' book list on to overcome codependency and childhood trauma

Ross Rosenberg Why did Ross love this book?

This book, written by fellow psychotherapist Terri Cole, is a valuable resource for those struggling to set boundaries in their relationships. Whether it be a romantic partner, friend, or colleague, Terri delivers very practical information that will help the reader develop skills to stop abandoning yourself for the sake of others. This book will help the reader understand why they feel powerless to set boundaries—while helping them gain the strength and confidence to do so. As a psychotherapist specializing in codependency, although aimed towards women, this book is an effective resource for anyone who struggles with setting boundaries.

By Terri Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boundary Boss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Psychotherapist Terri Cole teaches a simple but powerful truth: without healthy boundaries, you can't live an authentic and fulfilled life. After all, if you're always smiling and saying "yes" to everything, how is anyone else supposed to know you're burnt out, overloaded, and not up to taking on yet another task?

This is especially true for today's women, who are often caught between cultural conditioning toward being "nice" and the need to protect their own well-being. With that in mind, Cole presents Boundary Boss, a comprehensive guide for any woman who wants to master creating and maintaining healthy boundaries.

In…


Book cover of I Could Live Here Forever

Daisy Alpert Florin Author Of My Last Innocent Year

From Daisy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Mother Reader Feminist

Daisy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Daisy Alpert Florin Why did Daisy love this book?

I Could Live Here Forever tells the story of a relationship between an aspiring writer and a heroin addict.

Hanna Halperin writes beautifully about loneliness and family, grief and abandonment, and the ways we use love to fill holes in ourselves that can maybe never be filled. 

The story is gripping and sad, but never manipulative or maudlin. I loved Halperin’s clear, straightforward style and the realistic way she presented the ripple effects of addiction. 

By Hanna Halperin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Could Live Here Forever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BELLETRIST BOOK CLUB PICK

“Halperin’s radiant second novel walks the fine line between the longing for couplehood and the torture of codependency. . . . Let the rapturous intimacy and gut-churning ups and downs begin!” —Leigh Haber, The New York Times Book Review

By the award-winning author of Something Wild, a gripping portrait of a tumultuous, consuming relationship between a young woman and a recovering addict

When Leah Kempler meets Charlie Nelson in line at the grocery store, their attraction is immediate and intense. Charlie, with his big feelings and grand proclamations of love, captivates her completely. But there…


Book cover of When It's Never About You: The People-Pleaser's Guide to Reclaiming Your Health, Happiness and Personal Freedom

Dr. Edrica D. Richardson Author Of This Isn't Working for Me: A Practical Guide for Making Every Relationship in Your Life More Fulfilling, Authentic, and Intentional

From my list on books for stellar mental growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, deeply committed to healing intergenerational trauma and fostering healthy relationships. My passion for this field stems from witnessing the transformational power of understanding and addressing the roots of personal and relational issues. Having navigated the complex dynamics of family systems both professionally and personally, I've seen firsthand how unearthing and healing old wounds can lead to profound growth and stronger bonds. This fuels my dedication to guiding others on their journeys toward self-discovery and improved mental health. The books I recommend are ones that have not only enriched my professional practice but have also offered me invaluable insights into the psychology of human connections.

Dr.'s book list on books for stellar mental growth

Dr. Edrica D. Richardson Why did Dr. love this book?

If I could recommend one book, it would be this one by Dr. Ilene S. Cohen. This profound read transformed my understanding of relationships and self-worth, teaching me the importance of setting boundaries for a healthier, more empowered life.

It offered practical strategies that reshaped how I interact with others daily, helping me address past traumas and break free from codependency. The book's empathetic approach made me feel seen, understood, and hopeful for the future. It's truly a guide for anyone seeking to live a more authentic life.

By Ilene S Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When It's Never About You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is being a people-pleaser (a.k.a., conflict avoider, pushover, approval-seeker, doormat, etc.) ruining your life? Do you sometimes feel as if you exist only to satisfy others wants and needs, but never your own? Is your physical, mental, and emotional health suffering as a result?

Everyone loves a people-pleaser. They're always willing to help, to stay late, to fill in, to go along. But if you're one of them, you often end up feeling violated, ignored, disrespected, and disconnected from life and others. Silently enduring the ongoing and relentless invalidation of who you are and what you want will reliably wreak…


Book cover of Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Karin Blak Author Of The Essential Companion to Talking Therapy: Everything You Need to Know about the Therapy Journey

From my list on how we can all be affected by trauma and recovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my life as a therapist, I have focused on couple and family relationships, including the relationship we have with ourselves. When trauma was beginning to be recognised as something most people can and do experience, when we began to realise that it isn’t just front-line combat soldiers who get traumatised, I began my journey into how trauma affects our relationships. My study of trauma and relationships has helped my work with clients and, without naming their experiences as trauma, has moved them on from re-enacting the damage caused to them or unknowingly inflicting the same on others. 

Karin's book list on how we can all be affected by trauma and recovery

Karin Blak Why did Karin love this book?

Having grown up with an extremely toxic parent, I felt, and still feel, the fallout. The trauma of being silently ignored for days even when in dire need or having to care for an alcoholic parent – and worse still - from a very young age, I got used to having to fend for myself. 

Toxic Parents explained it all to me: how this treatment leaves deep scars that are difficult to heal, yet that there is hope for reparation. It took me on a journey of understanding, gave me skills to stand up when I felt I was falling down, and led me further into my curiosity of how to become an effective therapist.

This is another book on my list for clients to read, that helped them to open up during sessions about their own experiences and giving way for healing to stand a chance.

By Susan Forward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toxic Parents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

__________________________________________________________________
Bestselling author and psychologist Dr Susan Forward offers effective alternatives for achieving inner peace and freeing yourself from frustrating patterns of relationships with your parents.

Millions of lives are damaged by the legacy of parental abuse:
* Parents who ignored their children's needs or overburdened them with guilt.
* Parents who were alcoholic or addicted to drugs.
* Parents who were exploitative and cruel, or simply indifferent and inadequate.

When these children reach adulthood the damage done by their toxic parents manifests itself in depression, or difficulties with relationships, careers and decision-making. In Toxic Parents, Dr Susan Forward shows…


Book cover of Don't Call It Love: Breaking the Cycle of Relationship Dependency

Renee Smith Ettline Author Of Peace After Divorce: Choosing Concrete Actions Rooted in Faith

From my list on Christian books on healing from divorce.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for helping people move past the pain of divorce because I’ve been there myself. As a counselor I knew what I needed to do to cope and heal but I also quickly realized the importance of making prayerful decisions and trusting God. It’s my joy to walk you through steps you can take to cope now and move to a brighter future. My education, career, faith, and experiences have resulted in my book Peace after Divorce being recognized as an exemplary Christian self-help book by the Illumination Book Awards. 

Renee's book list on Christian books on healing from divorce

Renee Smith Ettline Why did Renee love this book?

I often see people who believe they need someone else to make them whole. This is especially true when someone has been emotionally or spiritually abused. Emotional abuse is when someone consistently belittles and dominates you dismissing your value and making you feel less than. In addition to addressing emotional abuse, Don’t Call it Love also delves into the issues of spiritual abuse, something I have seen all too often in my ministry. It’s a travesty when your mate distorts scripture to manipulate and control you or to make you feel less than. If you have experienced emotional or spiritual abuse this book can help you understand your true value in the eyes of God and give you insight into how to avoid continuing to land in abusive relationships.

By Gregory L. Jantz, Tim Clinton, Ann McMurray

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Call It Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"You complete me" may be a romantic line in a popular movie, but it's not a healthy basis for a real relationship. Unfortunately, many people are drawn into relationships that are unfulfilling precisely because they are looking to other people to fill in the places where they are lacking--they are looking for a person who will "complete" them. At the heart of relationship dependency is a person's belief that he or she alone is not enough. But using others to provide wholeness simply does not work, because while we are made to be relationship dependent, it is God we must…