Mental Health News Radio: Symptoms of Codependency with Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT

I had the pleasure of interviewing Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT on Mental Health News Radio.  Darlene is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and expert on relationships and codependency. She’s the author ofcover full two books: Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You and Codependency for Dummies.

Listen to the show!

Join us as we discuss this important topic.  Some of the discussions points were:

1. What is internalized shame?

2. How does shame show up when treating clients?

3. What are some common defenses to shame?

4. What are clues to help spot shame in clients?

5. How does shame affect codependency and relationships?

6. How might shame and codependency affect us as health care providers?

7. How should we approach treating shame?

Darlene has written about this topic extensively on her blog. Below is a condensed version.  We encourage everyone to visit her blog for the full article.

Symptoms of Codependency by Darlene Lancer, JD, MF

Codependency is a term that has been around for almost four decades. Although it originally applied to spouses of alcoholics, first called co-alcoholics, research revealed that the characteristics of codependents were much more prevalent in the general population than had been imagined. In fact, they found that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill parent, it’s likely that you’re codependent. Don’t feel bad if that includes you. Most families in America are dysfunctional, so that covers just about everyone, you’re in the majority! They also found that codependent symptoms got worse if untreated, but the good news was that they were reversible. Here’s a list of symptoms. You needn’t have all of them to qualify as codependent.


 Shame and Low self-esteem:

*   People pleasing

*  Perfectionism

*   Poor Boundaries

*   Reactivity

*   Caretaking

*   Control

*   Dysfunctional communication

*   Obsessions

*   Dependency

*   Denial

*   Problems with intimacy

*   Painful emotions

Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about:

*   Being judged

*    Being rejected or abandoned

*   Making mistakes

*   Being a failure

*   Being close and feeling trapped

*   Being alone

All of the symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb.

ConqueringShameThere is help for recovery and change. The first step is getting guidance and support. These symptoms are deeply ingrained habits and difficult to identify and change on your own. Join a Twelve Step program, such as Codependents Anonymous or seek counseling. There are exercises in Darlene’s books,  Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You and Codependency for Dummies and my ebooks, 10 Steps to Self-Esteem and How to Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits to build self-esteem and become more assertive.

Her ebooks include:10 Steps to Self-Esteem, How To Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and Codependency Recovery Daily Reflections.

Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 27 years and coaches internationally. She’s a sought after speaker at national conferences, on radio, and to professional groups and institutions. Her articles appear in professional journals and Internet mental health websites.

Darlene can be contacted via her website at and  A free copy of “14 Tips for Letting Go.” is available for download. She can also be found on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

For immediate contact please email her at

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