Work Title: Codependence and the Power of Detachment: How to Set Boundaries and Make Your Life Your Own
Work Author(s): Karen Casey
Softcover $14.95 (176pp)
Reviewer: E. James Lieberman
Close relationships require a measure of objectivity to balance emotional intensity and dependence. "Enmeshed," a term used by family therapists, is the opposite of detachment and is the target of Casey's probe. "Detachment is the ability to care deeply about a situation or another person from an objective point of view...It is neither kind nor unkind to be detached." Enmeshment, however, refers to involvement that makes the subject a small cog in the wheel of relationship, the wheel that has its hub in the early years of family life. Enmeshed people get satisfaction only when those upon whom they depend appear happy; the former spend their energy and emotion in hapless pursuit of the latter's approval or submission.
A prolific and successful writer---she now has twenty books, starting with Each Day a New Beginning (1982)---Casey blends anecdotes with psychology in a context of encouragement and faith. She came to her insights the hard way, from a harsh upbringing through a bad marriage to Al-Anon (for families of alcoholics) and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Eventually she got her Ph.D., achieved a...