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Question: As one who has read the book, how would you rate it?
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Author Topic: Healing the Shame That Binds You - John Bradshaw  (Read 16385 times)
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« on: December 04, 2009, 08:04:30 PM »

Healing the Shame That Binds You
Author: John Bradshaw
Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (October 1, 1988)
Paperback: 245 pages
ISBN-10: 0932194869
ISBN-13: 978-0932194862

Book Description
Shame is the motivator behind our toxic behaviors: the compulsion, co-dependency, addiction, and drive to superachieve that breaks down the family and destroys personal lives. It limits the development of self esteem and causes anxiety and depression, and limits our ability to be connected in relationships.  This book has helped millions identify their personal shame, understand the underlying reasons for it, address these root causes, and release themselves from the shame that binds them to their past failures.

For the adult children of BPD parents, an understanding of what the author calls "toxic shame" helps to explain the damage done by a parent whose illness caused him or her to view a child as wrong or flawed--and to find a path forward to healing.

About the Author
A recovering alcoholic and adult child of an alcoholic father, John Bradshaw has been involved in the self-development and recovery field for more than ten years, through his ongoing lecture series, his nationally broadcast public television series and his bestselling books.

What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2010, 09:35:34 PM »

Although I haven't read his books, I saw several of his lectures on PBS many years ago.  At least one of the lectures included the topic "Toxic Shame" and it had me riveted.  It was probably part of his "On Healing The Shame That Binds You" lecture in 1988.  His insights, explanations and advice were so relevant to my situation, I remember watching the TV with tears streaming down my face. 

So, I do recommend Bradshaw's stuff, definitely.

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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2010, 01:50:10 AM »

Thanks B&W,

It seems to be a great book to highlight... I will look into purchasing it on amazon...    xoxox
Japanese Doll
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 01:33:06 PM »

I read this book and it was excellent. 

It helped me to know myself better!

I know now the reasons why I behave in certain ways.


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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 02:45:30 PM »

I read it many years ago, actually several times.  It was hard to wrap my head around but figured out from this book that I was and am the scapegoat.  I should re-read it I think!
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2010, 06:55:46 AM »

I am reading it right now, it is very very enlightning, although I have a little trouble with understanding some definitions in translation, it is making a lot clear and I would reccomend it absolutely when you are beyond the first recovery path...

At least to understand what is driving you or others, and to use that as a skill for future relations, and any of relation with people... to transfer toxic shame into healthy shame, is freeing and stops the blaming inwards... at least for me it does, and is explaining a little to make it understandable what you have dealt with, and how they bacame what they are... xoxox
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2011, 05:05:15 PM »

This is a brilliant book, and covers a  LOT of ground. It helped me understand some of the things i do, and wys in which i had been shamed as a child and not even realised. A really good book. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2011, 02:30:19 PM »

i saw it at the bookstore the other day. i got it on kindle for ipod. looking forward to it.
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 09:49:09 PM »

here is part 1 of john bradshaw on youtube:


i'm just starting it. i'll tell you what i think another time.

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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2012, 07:33:30 AM »

I read this book a few years ago, and found it to be all at once the best and the worst self-help book I've ever read. The first half was so spot-on that it seemed as if Bradshaw had been hiding behind the furniture as I grew up, taking notes on what was going on in my house. The last unanswered questions as to who I am, and why I grew up to be the adult I became were answered, to devastating effect.

I was laid bare, and left raw and hurting anew by the book's revelations, and I proceeded from the first half of the book to the second, eagerly looking forward to reading Bradshaw's path to healing. I found his recommendations, however, putrid. Utterly unhelpful to anyone not receptive to a 12-Step solution, or role-playing the part of newborn infant with total strangers. Horrific.

I'm happy to say I healed on my own, but alone with my thoughts, and it took over an excruciating year to reach the point where I felt I'd emerged at a point better than the one I was at when I opened this book at page 1. And as the years have passed, I do feel that I benefited greatly from the first half of Bradshaw's book. But unless you're willing to submit to the dubious structure of the 12-Step program, and engage in behavior that you as an adult may find inconsistent with the rest of your self-image as an otherwise functional adult, I would suggest you read the first half of Healing the Shame That Binds You under the supervision of a trusted therapist.
real lady
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 02:39:08 PM »

Read it and LOVE John Bradshaw's research and writings... .(The Family, etc.) and bought a copy for my EXh who was possibly personality disordered. He did not read it. I think that my BPD MIGHT be interested in it... .shame brought on by the abuse, would focus on how HE FEELS and might be a GREAT place to recommend him to start reading... .great idea.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 02:05:02 AM »

I was a bit dubious about the author's credentials and qualifications-he had a degree in theology or something... .    How is that relevant to psychology? I know he went onto get a phD later on but I still remained very skeptical. I felt like this author basically just cobbled together every other therapy method possible and just stuck it all in one book and said "there you go" whereas I find it better to have a book that focuses on ONE particular therapy method. I like a detailed look at a therapy method-how to use it etc. He included a section on NLP (Neuro-Lingual Programming) in the book which is a pseudoscience-it hasn't been validated by any psychological research.

There was some good information on 12 step terminology but anyone who has been to a 12 step meeting will already know all of this information anyways. I think that the disease model is great for addiction but less effective for other issues like shame, "codependency" (urgh, hate that word!) so that's really my main complaint with this book. Low self-esteem is NOT a disease or an addiction-it's an Axis I mental health disorder like depression, anxiety etc and should be treated accordingly. I much prefer reading about evidence based treatments such as DBT, CBT etc i.e. treatments have been empirically tested and found to be effective. Not everything is an addiction!

I also felt like the author was a pretty lousy human being and that he was perhaps blaming all his wrongdoing on his "toxic shame"   So it was hard for me to take him seriously-I just didn't think he was putting any of it into practice in his own life but just touting himself as some kind of self-help guru. He tells of how he treated women pretty badly in relationships... . because of his "toxic shame"... .  And after that point, I just found myself switching off. He also talks about a guy at the start of the book who abandoned his wife and kids but somehow the reader was meant to feel SORRY for this guy? Well no, I didn't... . I just thought that he was a jerk as opposed to a victim. I think there is a danger with these kinds of books-that someone who is actually a horrible person will read a book like this and blame all their problems on a supposedly horrible childhood instead of taking responsibility for their life. I feel like books like this just give professional victims yet another excuse/get out of jail card.

I felt like the author came from the school of hard knocks as opposed to actually doing any kind of clinical research on his subject-he basically goes on about how he's an alcoholic, had a turbulent upbringing blah blah blah. I don't care about any of that! I expect MORE from a psychologist than a sob story. I think his whole point was "oh here's all the mistakes I made in my life-don't do them". Whilst his honesty was good, I feel like I want to read a book by someone more stable-he just struck me as a mess of a person... . addiction issues, relationship issues... . I was NOT impressed with him as a person whatsoever... .

Even the term "toxic shame" irritated me. Shame is just a feeling-I don't think it needs to be trumped up and called "toxic shame".Everyone has all kinds of feelings-the feeling does eventually pass away. It's not nice to feel any kind of shame-sure there is shame that is justified i.e. when you've done something wrong and feel like you've betrayed your own sense of ethics etc and then a sense of shame that isn't justified i.e. where someone does something wrong and blames you for it but I feel like he just laboured over that point for way too long. Every time I hear the term "toxic shame", it triggers me... . it actually makes me feel MORE ashamed not less! I do not want pejorative labels like "toxic shame", "codependency" etc... . I am a person, not an object and I want to have my dignity and self-respect. I know that there is nothing "wrong" with me but hearing all these dumb labels makes me feel like there is! So the ethos of the book really backfired on me Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

I agree with Bronxman that the idea of roleplaying the part of a newborn infant with total strangers was creepy!

For people that genuinely want to recover, I would say that there are much better books out there on the subject.

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