Healthy Dependency

One of my professors at Gettysburg College, Robert Bornstein, and his wife, Mary Languirand, co-wrote the book “Healthy Dependency“. I was honored by Dr. Bornstein a few years ago when he gave me a signed copy. It wasn’t until this week, however, that I chose to open it and start using its wisdom.

The authors define healthy dependency as, “the ability to blend intimacy and autonomy, lean on others while maintaining a strong sense of self, and feel good (not guilty) about asking for help when you need it”. Having had some difficulty in past relationships, including a strained marriage that ended in divorce over 10 years ago, I was glad to see how many “healthy dependency traits” I’ve developed since then. Even more relieving is that my more recent relationships, be they with friends, romantic partners, co-workers, or family members, have been characterized by the following “key qualities”: 1) openness and honesty, 2) empathy and caring, and 3) security and trust. That’s not to say I don’t fall into relationship game-playing, the kind of tug-of-war, push-pull dynamic that hurt my marriage. However, I’ve worked hard (on my own and with the support of my counselor) to recognize it when it happens and to learn about what the book’s subtitle says: “leaning on others without losing yourself”.

One thing my recovery from Binge-Eating Disorder has taught me is that eating disorders are not about food. They’re about loss of connection…with oneself, with family, and with one’s Higher Power. Perhaps this book will help some of you find yourselves on your journey to recovery.

Peace, joy, and health,



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