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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.
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on 24 May 2011
For more than 28 years of my life and till now, I've been living in an emotional debt and deep struggle and pain and I couldn't understand why. This book will show you why you're deeply resentful, hurt, angry, guilty, shamed, and looking for avenge. Its the first step to raise your self esteem, and improve or rebuild your self image which can affect every aspect of your life.By finishing it, you may not completely heal, specially if you have deep emotional scars. but its the first step to begin your journey towards healing. Highly recommended for emotionally abused adults.
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on 21 January 2010
It is so refreshing to find a book on emtional abuse alone let alone one that is so direct it gets right to the heart of the problems that survivors of such abuse face and brings a sense of balance and harmony into one's life. It's not the easiest read in the world and Engel shares some secrets from her own emotionally abusive past but it is so cleverly, expertly written that you can't fail to benefit from it.
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on 1 November 2011
An exceptional insight into the core issues of well established and repetative patterns of behaviour and subconcious motivation laid down as a result of emotional damage in childhood.
I'd highly recommend this to anyone seeking to understand themselves and others and to heal the wounds of abuse.In many cases behaviour is discribed that hitherto may never have been recognised as abusive.
For any one asking the question of "Why does it always happen to me?" or always feeling that "missing something" this book is a MUST.
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on 9 February 2015
I needed this book, yes needed it. It wasn't until I was in my mid fifties that I realised that my childhood was not a " normal" one. Physically and emotionally abused and neglected by my mother I thought there was something inherently wrong with me and that it was all my fault. This book has shown me that it wasn't. My life was in tatters unable to do anything and on ant-depressants that certainly didn't make me happy and I was all but destroyed. You need however to be receptive to what it says, do the excersizes over and over. Read and re- read. You have to be ready and willing. Admittedly I have been seeing a therapist as well. Several in fact until I found the right one, but Beverely Engel does suggest that you use this book alongside seeing a therapist and I was already seeing the right one. For me this book is brilliant. I am always going to have to work on my negativity especially about myself and this book is a real help to me. I say thank you, thank you Beverely Engel.
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on 9 March 2010
This book was a huge help to me. Beverley Engel just seems to be able to read everything in your mind and explain in great detail why you feel the way you do. It' is excellent and would recommend it to anyone.
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on 14 September 2010
I have some issues with self-esteem and after reading 2 5-star reviews I thought this book would help me work on some of this. I admit I haven't reached the end (I've read until page 100 so over a third of the book) and to be honest it is simply very tiring to read. It reads almost like a constant beating of your parents "did they do this to you, did they do that", and despite occasional reassurance "it's not about blaming them" it actually feels exactly this - blaming. I still hope that perhaps the remaining chapters will bring something more useful but have serious doubts and somehow find myself reaching for other books on a similar topic.
It might be just about the style of writing and not about the technique itself. It might be that the author's personal experience is (ironically) preventing her from writing a good self-help book since she lacks a bit of distance. I can see how this book might be helpful if your parents seriously neglected or abused you since it will help you to get all that from your mind (though do you really want to?). However, if you're a "mild" case and your relationship with your parents wasn't all rosy but they were far from psychopaths, then it may be simply too much to go through 100 pages of the same mantra.
Less of "what a troubled childhood you had" and more of "how to fix it now that you're an adult", please...
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on 3 March 2015
There was so much about this book I found very good and helpful and insightful. My only reservations were that there were a few statements or assumptions that came across a bit sexist.
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on 25 November 2014
I have not realized until now what a horrendous narcissistic women my mother was, she had nine of the characteristics stated in this book . I believe her mother was also narcissistic. I did not abuse my children although I can see where I could have been a much better mother. I love them and have a good relationship with them and their partners still and enjoy their children. i broke the cycle.Adrienne Birch
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on 3 September 2015
I have been reading this book and it is not too bad. I have been through a lot of Trauma in my life and have found quite a few Counselors are not as caring and rude. I decided to look for books to help me. I have yet to finish this book but some of it hits home. If you are lucky enough to find a caring counselor then I hope you can start to heal.
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