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When Misery Is Company: End Self-sabotage and Become Content Paperback – 15 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden Information & Educational Services (15 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592850847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592850846
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 827,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Jacques on 26 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Although I actually enjoyed it, I don't feel strongly one way or the other about this book. It does a good job describing the concept of self-sabotage, and the grip it can have on its 'victims' but I've since read books which in my view do a better job explaining what self-sabotage is, the purpose it serves, and its root psychological causes. The author seems to be a strong advocate of anti-depressant which is not a view shared by the overwhelming majority of expert in this field, to say the least. In fact, many strongly advice against anti-depressants, which more often than not worsen the depression, have dreadful side effects, and numb the mind, making it very difficult to progress and grow. This is not to say that anti-depressants are never appropriate. I'm told some people would not be able to function without them, but I'm hearing again and again that, unless absolutely necessary, people should stay away from them.
The remedy recommended by the author is, in essence, the AA method (the Self-sabotage addict version). I'm sure she knows what she is talking about, but for some reason, I was not convinced. In my humble view, the AA method, although it is a lot better than nothing, and it allegedly has a solid track record of transforming people's lives, it does not address the psychological cause of self-sabotage, alcoholism, or any other additions, at the core. But my view could change if I was to spend more time researching the method. This is just an impression, based on what I've read so far and my knowledge of the matter. Other than that, I did enjoy this book, and I appreciate the author's sincerity and genuine willingness to help. It kept my attention and actually helped me in more than one way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. Hemmings on 14 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
If you think this book might be about you, you can definitely get something out of it. It's full of stuff to help you identify what might be the problem and simple things you can do to put things back on track. This book changed my outlook and my life for the better. Give it a shot, especially if you're thinking it's a bad idea or you can't make up your mind!
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By Trumpet on 27 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting book, certainly makes you sit up and think, learn some realities and prospective. Still working through it, and will probably do it again once I have finished!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Groundbreaking Work on an Often Overlooked Problem 24 Mar. 2005
By Peter Messerschmidt - Published on
Format: Paperback
Whether they like it or not, admit it or not, a large number of people are "addicted to misery." Misery addiction is an insidious form of self-sabotage that manifests in a large number of very different, but very "general" ways. For instance, we may habitually make choices that set us up to fail, or we may abandon projects right before they succeed. Maybe we choose abusive partners and friends; maybe we're chronically underemployed. Perhaps we avoid happiness because of a persistant fear that we will *lose* that happiness. Each issue-- in one way or another-- adds up to living a life in which we never really feel content or fulfilled, and like the "good things" of life somehow keep passing us by.

Whatever the issue might be, conventional psychology either does not recognize Misery Addiction at ALL, or it chalks such problems up to more "popularly acceptable" causes, such as poor self-esteem, lack of assertiveness, ADHD or some other more widely recognized "syndrome." In this groundbreaking new book, author and psychotherapist Anne Katherine explains that there's really much more at work here.

The book is divided into two main sections. Part One ("Understanding the Problem") is dedicated to explaining and identifying the various aspects of Misery Addiction. In short, easy-to-read chapters, the author takes us through descriptions of what exactly Misery Addiction IS, then on to explaining the strange paradoxes that lie at the heart of Misery Addiction; where we may have learned during our upbringings, and how we now engage in certain behaviors that keep up from reaching happiness in life. Throughout, Katherine illustrates her descriptions with examples from her own psychotherapy practice and Misery Addiction retreats, and also includes a number of small self-tests and quizzes to help readers understand precisely where their "traps" lie.

Part Two ("Finding and Living the Solution") deals with recovery from Misery Addiction. Katherine is a strong proponent of following the basic "12-step program" format, as the optimal road to recovery. Even if you do not have a local MAA (Misery Addicts Anonymous) meeting, she recommends recommends getting involved with a 12-step group. This section also includes several chapters with "tools" to help the recovering Misery Addict deal with life. Finally, there is a helpful appendix with resources; how to set up and run a MAA group, notes to therapists, national 12-step organizations, and more.

Final thoughts: Highly recommended (9 out of 10 possible bookmarks). This is a much needed book on a topic that generally is not covered by conventional psychology or therapy. My only reservation is the extremely heavy reliance on a 12-step program as "the solution" to a complex matter, while very little information is offered about other therapeutic options. But that's a minor niggle-- this is a highly worthwhile book!
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
perceptive concept 6 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
It never occurred to me before that someone can be addicted to feeling miserable and sabotage their own efforts and/or another person's efforts to help them succeed and enjoy life, but it is true!
I found this book insightful and clear and eye opening. The concept of misery addiction was new to me, but as I read the book, it made perfect sense. I actually worked with a person who was addicted to misery and her behavior made no sense to me at the time. She was self defeating and I did not understand why. Now I understand her issues and thinking patterns much more clearly. Now her actions and reactions make perfect sense to me.
"When Misery is Company" is a great tool for someone who is actually addicted to misery, but it can also clarify and enlighten people who know or work with those who have this addiction. I recommend it highly.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A remarkable understanding of a terrible burden! 22 Mar. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started to thumb through this when it arrived and couldn't put it down for four hours! Anne Katherine has given both the lay person and the therapist a remarkable understanding of this very tenacious problem. The chapter on Brain Healing alone is worth the price of the book, but there is so much more! It becomes abundantly clear that someone suffering from this frozen place "needs a different therapuetic structure than an ordinary client". Katherine goes on to spell out what tools are needed for this journey, offering hope to that person without hope who we all recognize...maybe even ourselves!
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This is a groundbreaking book 27 Mar. 2004
By Sherry Ascher - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anne Katherine has added to an already impressive series of books with When Misery is Company. The idea that there is an umbrella disorder that encompasses many others is thrilling. She presents her material in clear, gripping language. I couldn't stop reading, as the ideas drew a picture that explains why so many people cannot stop leading miserable lives. I'm a therapist and I think this book will be of immense help to both therapists and clients alike.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Clear, Fresh, & Insightful 18 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I first encountered Anne Katherine's writing when I took a continuing education course about setting boundaries. I am continually impressed with her clear and unique insights. She is able to see and UNDERSTAND humans and human interaction in an exceptionally clear way. In this book, she communicates what so many of us have been unable to express and overcome within ourselves. The dynamics of self-sabotage and self-created misery are finally understood and explained in a whole and empowering way. She teaches and shows the way past a painful, self-defeating life.
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