Public Relations Blog

Conquering Shame and Codependency by Darlene Lancer


Shame is an emotion that can be buried in a person’s psyche so deep that one does not realize how much he is affected by it. From the publisher that popularized the topics of shame and codependency with such publications as Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection and Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More, Hazelden Publishing releases CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDENCY: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You (Hazelden Publishing; July 2014; $14.95), by nationally recognized author, codependency expert, and family therapist Darlene Lancer. This essential guide explores the powerful emotion of shame and what can happen if it is not addressed. The author then provides practical therapeutic advice on how to break deep-rooted patterns.

Lancer’s book begins by explaining the difference between guilt and shame: “Guilt results from violating rules or moral precepts, while shame emanates from breaching accepted group norms. We’re guilty if we do something bad. With shame, we believe that we ourselves are bad or inadequate in some way.” Understanding these definitions shows how incredibly deep and profound feelings of shame can be, and as a result, how difficult it can be to change how you feel about yourself.

She then delves into the link between shame and codependency, explaining how they prevent us from living life as our “true selves.” As the result of a combination of personality, parenting, and life experience, we may develop an “inner critic” who is constantly questioning our motives and putting us down for our actions. We become victims of our own negativity, which then leads to codependency, the disease of a lost self where one organizes his or her thinking and behavior around another person, process, or substance. Before we know it we may be engaged in abusive or inappropriate relationships. For example, we may be working in a career we felt we “had” to take on in order to please a parent. We may be living as if we were someone else, unable to make our own decisions out of fear of hurtful repercussions left over from living with an abusive partner.  These and other similar situations can cause us to spiral downward into an unhealthy state, experiencing severe anxiety or depression, substance abuse, or other serious issues.

In CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDENCY Lancer outlines eight steps that will help you develop more healthy attitudes about yourself:

  1. Find Your True Self
  2. Uncover Your Shame
  3. Find Your Shame’s Roots
  4. Disarm Your Shame
  5. Confront Your Shame
  6. Share Your Shame
  7. Build Your Self-Esteem
  8. Love Yourself

By working through these steps you will be able to better identify and understand the root source of negative feelings and what course of action to take in order to let them go and free yourself to live your life. Drawing on 30 years of experience as a therapist, Lancer has made an immense contribution by writing CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDENCY. For anyone who has been in therapy or has never knocked on a doctor’s door, this book will break down a wall and open an entirely new path to a true and authentic life.

Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT, is a licensed family therapist with over 30 years of experience working with individuals and couples. She regularly lectures on self-esteem, codependency, and addiction. Author of Codependency for Dummies and 10 Steps to Self-Esteem, she has also published numerous articles.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 15 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals, and a unique children’s program, and is the nation’s leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery. Learn more at