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Disentangle: When You've Lost Yourself in Someone Else

"Sadly, this book is greatly needed. Too many of us have been raised in a manner that, due to not developing a strong sense of self, we lose ourselves seeking our value and worth, and even our identity, in relationship with others. Nancy Johnston does a beautiful job of helping the reader to both understand and be compassionate toward our self-defeating behaviors that reinforce this while offering a path toward building and claiming our self. Personally, I found myself underlining much of what was written as a way of holding onto the thoughts long after the read. For me that is the sign of an important book." 


Claudia Black, PhD

Author of Unspoken Legacy: Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Addiction within the Family

Disentangle: When You’ve Lost Your Self in Someone Else (Central Recovery Press, 2011) is about the process of finding your self when you are lost in someone else. It is about the process of creating enough emotional space between your self and another person so you are better able to see the realities of your situation and make healthier decisions about it. It is about the process not necessarily of leaving/divorcing/ending a relationship but rather of creating enough space and establishing a stronger self so you can then decide what to do about the relationship in which you are entangled.


Disentangle is for people who want to emotionally break free from relationships that are unhealthy for them, including those who:


  • are living with an alcoholic/addict.

  • are dealing with codependency.

  • are adult children of alcoholics.

  • are being emotionally or physically hurt in their relationships.

  • are in a relationship with a narcissist.

  • are being gaslighted.

  • want to get out of a relationship and can’t.

  • take care of others more than themselves.

  • are unable to say “No.”


Though its roots are in alcohol/drug abusing family systems, Disentangle has been found also to be very effective in helping:


  • parents of teenagers. 

  • individuals dealing with divorce.

  • individuals dealing with chronic illness in a family member.

  • empty-nest issues.

  • relationships with in-laws.

  • aging-parents issues.

  • interpersonal problems at work.


The applicability of the ideas in Disentangle is wide. Almost all of us at some time and to some degree can become entangled with someone else. Our mental health depends upon our ability to not lose our self as we do interact in these emotionally complicated situations. Our mental health depends upon our ability to balance our focus on the other person with our focus on our self.


Disentangle is in many ways a reader’s tool box. With over 50 concrete ideas, it offers information and insights to help the reader stop the self-destructive process of entanglements, re-center, and act in a way that is best for them.

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