Top positive review
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Make sure you are emotionally ready to read this book, or seek support before reading.
on 6 August 2011
The first thing I would like to say if you are considering reading this book is to be careful. I found it quite upsetting at times, and a lot of old thoughts, feelings, memories and anger came up. If you are feeling vulnerable or have experienced a lot of trauma, I think it may be worth seeking the support of a therapist before reading this book.
I viewed the book as being mainly split into two parts. The first part of the book is focussed on exploring and describing the various negative parenting styles that people may have been subjected to, including the effects they can have on a person's self-esteem and development. This was the part I found most upsetting. When you can recognise and relate to the experiences described, it can be rather difficult to digest and come to terms with.
The second part of the book focuses on healing, and there are various techniques presented to help you come to terms with your past, and to create a new and healthier way of relating to and treating yourself.
I do have some criticisms to make with this book. One of them is in regards to the exercises in the first part of the book. There are various written exercises to complete to help you gain more understanding of what happened to you and how you have been affected. Some of these include listing all the ways you were neglected and writing about your shaming experiences. Naturally, this can feel rather traumatic. After each exercise, the book continues as normal. I think it would have been helpful to have some suggestions after each exercise on how you can ground yourself, and bring yourself back to the present moment again. For me, I felt like I had gone back into my past and was just left there. It was quite difficult to "come back" to the present, and the book offers no help with that.
I also didn't agree with the way the author suggests getting angry with your parents, and casting the blame back onto them. One suggestion was to say, "I am not worthless. You are the one who was worthless. You were a worthless mother." While I agree that anger is a part of healing, I don't think it is healthy to keep that kind of frame of mind. The author also suggests shouting back at your "inner critic", which made me feel uncomfortable. I don't believe you can "shout down" your negative thoughts. I think replacing the thoughts with more compassionate ones is more beneficial, and I felt uneasy with the aggressive way you are encouraged to adopt in order to counter the negative thoughts.
I also would have liked more detail on the various helpful techniques. The author just skims briefly on the techniques, without really going into any great detail about them.
However, I do think the second part of the book was very good overall. The author writes with great understanding and knowledge, and shares her own experiences too, so you feel she knows where you are coming from. After reading the book, I do feel I have learned new ways of coping and of talking to myself, such as developing a nurturing inner voice and an inner protector. I do feel my self-hatred has lessened, although I think it will naturally take more than reading a book to feel a vast change in oneself.
So overall, apart from a few things I disagreed with, I found this book quite comforting and helpful. But just do be careful when reading this book if you are currently in an emotional state.