The self-help book which has helped me the most — and the one I’ve been the most resistant to — is Darlene Lancer’s Codependency for Dummies.

I’m resistant to this book because its contents describe the co-dependent me so incisively that my body turns hot and I put the book down . . . but that’s also the reason why it’s so important for me to pick it up again.

In it, Darlene Lancer describes the characteristics of a person interacting with others in a healthy way.

I will be reliable, keep my word.

I will be honest and direct, not evasive.

I will be respectful, not rude or bossy.

I will be supportive, not indifferent or competitive.

I will be accepting, not judging.

I will be open, not secretive.

I will be authentic and real, not a phony or a braggart.

I will be flexible, not rigid.

I will allow, not control.

I will give, not withhold.

I will understand, not be cold and insensitive.

I will respect my boundaries and the boundaries of others.

Darlene Lancer writes clearly. She covers co-dependency thoroughly. She has helped make this dysfunctional behavior clearer to me. She has helped me to understand its origins. She has written down its symptoms.

I am on a spiritual journey, and she is another of my guiding angels.



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My writer husband’s favorite nickname for me was Ernestina, so in this 3-book memoir, he is Ernie. This is his story, our story, and my story. I invite you in.