Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Conquering Shame and Codependency

Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You
Darlene Lancer
Hazelden Publishing
180 pages
a review copy of this book was provided through TLC Book Tours

Chances are that you know someone who could use this book. Chances are that person is you.

This is a self-help book that is genuinely helpful. Conquering Shame and Codependency addresses the little-discussed topic of shame, and how that powerful and crippling emotion can cause codependent behavior. We all have experienced the emotion of guilt: that feeling you get when you know you've done something wrong. Shame is something different: it is a feeling of humiliation, feeling exposed, inadequate, or unworthy--but it has nothing to do with reality or anything you have actually done (or not done). Shame is an emotion that arises out of negative patterns, usually established in childhood. If you grew up with an alcoholic parent, you may have internalized feelings of shame and unworthiness without ever realizing it. This is what happened to me, and it has taken decades for me to begin to understand the roots of some of my more unhealthy attitudes and behaviors.

From my own personal experiences and observations, I feel that we are living in a culture of addiction. You may live with an addict, or you may be struggling with some form of addiction yourself. Or, you may find yourself interacting with addictive or codependent people or relationships in your workplace or your social circle. Conquering Shame and Codependency is by no means an easy read. Just reading this book might cause deep discomfort or challenge your defense mechanisms such as denial. But it is well worth the challenge. Darlene Lancer, a licensed family therapist who has also struggled with shame and codependency lays it all out for the reader. Chapter by chapter, Lancer explains the roots of shame, the inner critic, the sensation of emptiness, and the signs and symptoms of codependency. She explains the dynamics and roles of codependent relationships, and shows how shame can cause the codependent sufferer to lose touch with her authentic self.

The best thing about Conquering Shame and Codependency is that it offers the reader real help. Each chapter closes with exercises for the reader, and the last chapter outlines eight steps the reader can take to conquer shame and free the authentic inner self.

I wish that I had had a childhood filled with carefree and joyful experiences, and that I had learned the value of my real self as I grew from childhood to adulthood. But, due to family patterns that probably go back many generations, I internalized a sense of shame, and learned some very unhealthy coping mechanisms and behaviors. The good news is that it is never too late to become the person you are really meant to be. Conquering Shame and Codependency is an incredibly useful tool for overcoming unhealthy patterns. Highly recommended for anyone who is willing to do the difficult work of recovery, or for those who see this pattern in their own family.


The Relentless Reader said...

I have the feeling that this book could help a lot of folks. Including me.

bibliophiliac said...

@Jennifer-We are not alone!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad that you found some things in here that are useful, and that you can recommend this book so highly!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.