Tag: Self Help

Why We Fool Ourselves We Aren\’t Being Fooled
by Jennifer Freyd and Pamela Birrell

I saw this book sitting on a table at my friend\’s house, and when for a moment I picked it up idly and started reading a segment, she offered to loan it to me. So I read it out of curiosity. In short spurts, over the past few weeks.

It\’s about the psychological phenomenon where a person can be so invested in keeping their situation safe, that they literally turn a blind eye to things that are wrong in a relationship. Why do people stay in bad relationships, why remain on at a workplace where something very wrong is going on behind the scenes? It\’s usually because subconsciously they know that admitting or recognizing the real issues will threaten their security. The most common example here is a person who does not realize their spouse is being unfaithful, even when there are obvious signs and everyone around them knows. This was the most frequent type of instance mentioned in the book. The other common one was of childhood abuse- children blank out or forget what was done to them, sometimes only remembering years later. Because to know that a person their very lives depended upon was harming them, is too risky. There are also other cases given- in the workplace, the military, governments and institutions. Denials of rights, or compensation, or support, or even just recognition. The biggest one, but it was only mentioned a few times, loomed large in my mind (probably because of a recent book I read): the Holocaust.

It\’s not only about how denial of trauma can occur in people\’s minds; the book is also about how these things can finally be recognized, how the person who suffered wrong can heal from it, how to be a good listener if someone is revealing past trauma to you, and how future wrongs can be prevented. The most interesting chapter to me was the one about mental and physical health issues caused by the betrayals. When someone you trust hurts you so fundamentally, especially as a child- it damages your ability to develop healthy relationships in the future. There were instances where the authors actually conducted studies with trauma survivors to see how their mental and emotional abilities were compared to other people. It was very interesting.

But overall also an upsetting book to read, even though the details were kept minimal, and (except with some famous cases), the reports were all made anonymous. Quite a few of them are repeated through the book, as various aspects of the subject are discussed. The most telling was in the final chapters, where one of the authors tells about her own experiences with a serious betrayal of trust. That section of the book felt like the largest revelation. The rest of it, many of the examples felt too simplistic- probably to keep identities private- but I frequently wondered what else there was to know.

Rating: 2/5             201 pages, 2013

Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence
by Rachel Simmons

This book is about teaching girls to be true to themselves. The first half shows examples of learned behavior patterns that can be problematic because girls use them to diminish their feelings, avoid confrontation, deny culpability, sidestep real issues between friends and so on. All in the name of being \”good\”- nice, apologetic, demure and selfless. At first I thought it was ridiculous, the idea of good behavior becoming a negative thing, but the author makes the case that it\’s about putting on a good appearance at the cost of everything else that can be a problem. Which leaves girls unable to resolve issues, communicate effectively, speak up for themselves or even recognize when relationships need improvement. She sees serious trends of girls unable to accept and build upon criticism, girls who apply all-or-nothing rules to their friendships and then carry those on into professional settings later in life, which only hinders them. The author systematically examines the \”good girl\” ways of being that are problematic, and then describes how to go about learning different patterns of behavior that enable girls to be more forthright, confidence and sincere. Using examples from real situations that came up with girls who attend her workshops (often with their mothers) she shows how to work through it. There\’s no perfect answer, but there are better ways of finding them. I saw myself a lot in this book. And my daughter. I hope I absorbed enough of it to attempt making some changes of my own for the better.

I borrowed this book from a friend.

Rating: 4/5        278 pages, 2009

more opinions:
A Striped Armchair
Betty and Boo Chronicles

by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This is a heavy book. Rich indeed. One you have to read slowly, take in pieces, ponder over. I\’m not sure I understood all the things Estes was getting at, and its definitely a book that requires a re-read, if not many. In a nutshell, Estes examines and analyzes fairytales, myths and folktales in the context of what they can teach about the inner lives of women. It reminded me a lot of Care of the Soul, a book I haven\’t read since high school. In each segment of the book, Estes examines a particular fairy tale (often several related tales or different versions as well) and goes into great depth about the wisdom and insight it can convey about such things as finding inner strength, recognizing things that take you away from your true self, enduring and continuing on in the face of difficulties, recognizing people you feel kinship with, finding and drawing upon your creative energy and so on. The ways and manners in which women expresses themselves and mine their inner strengths are myriad, and Estes recognizes that. She presents a lot of tales I was completely unfamiliar with, and explains others in ways I had never considered before. I was a bit surprised to find some other reviewers disagreed entirely with her viewpoint, said she forced and changed the stories to say what she wanted, diverted from their original meaning. But I just took it to be part of the power of storytelling, to use stories and word imagery to communicate something strong and lasting. Oh, and there are many comparisons to wolves and how they live. Estes calls the feminine soul your inner Wild Woman, who is keen and responsive and fierce in ways like the wolf…

So is it a bunch of interpretive hogwash, or something profoundly insightful? I guess it depends on the reader. For myself, I found quite a bit to take away and ponder at length, and I am keeping this book on my shelf to delve into again someday.

by Jennifer Forest

This book is a basic overview of some options available for women who want to earn a decent amount of income but still have time with their kids. It was offered to me by the publicist, and for once I accepted a review copy (usually not my policy) because the subject is so applicable to my current situation.
Through the book Forest looks at a range of ways women can work from home or negotiate part-time hours in a manner that will still generate a reasonable amount of income. She examines the possibilities of multi-level marketing, making crafts or selling products (online or at local fairs), providing professional services (bookkeeping and the like), pro blogging, trading shares, running a home daycare, and a few other things. In every instance the author either attempted the job herself, or interviewed women who had made a success of it. To no surprise, she quickly found that things like online surveys are mostly a scam and freelancing job sites can be difficult to get started at. My own experience validates what she says for the most part, as I have either looked into some of these things myself during the past five years, or know other women who have. 
Namely, it is not easy or simple to make a good sustainable income working from home. It takes a lot of effort, focus, and time to get established. I appreciated that with each case, Forest explains not only what it takes to get the business going, the amount of upfront capital you might need and the expected time before you can expect a good return, but also what kind of skills and personality are needed for each type of work. Working from home is not the right solution for everyone. She includes lists of questions to ask yourself, as well as templates to help you form a basic plan. If you\’re trying to go back to an established office job but negotiate for part-time hours, she has advice and strategies for how to make that successful, as well. She also briefly discusses the merits of returning to school and pursuing a degree.
I am glad that I\’ve finally found work that I can be productive at, while remaining home with my children (I\’m currently working part-time from home as content editor and graphic design assistant for a website development company. I\’ve found it very satisfactory but the hours can be long- the best times for me to work are usually late, after the kids are in bed). This book did not teach me much, to be honest. If you are newly in the position of looking for work-at-home opportunities I do think this book would be a good beginning resource to figure out which options might be valid. It\’s a great starting point and has lists of further resources. I did find some of the content repetitive, and the author is not in the American job market (she\’s from Australia), so some of her observations or terminology were a bit foreign to me but for the most part it was solid information. There\’s lots of inspirational quotes scattered throughout the book as well.

Rating: 3/5 ……… 223 pages, 2013

more opinions:
anyone else?

by Judith Rusky Rabinor

Another valuable book that nevertheless is a bit difficult to write about because of the personal nature in how I relate to it. I am not in the habit of accepting review copies from publishers anymore, but I took this one because it seemed very applicable to my situation.

Written by a clinical psychologist who herself has survived divorce and successfully co-parented her children, the book is a guideline to finding a way to build a new relationship with the person you were once married to. Not only for the sake of your children, but also because, the book purports, if you\’re going to have to deal with this person for the rest of your life- and you likely will- you might as well make it as pleasant as possible. (That\’s not an exact quote).

Rabinor makes it clear that this is not easy, nor is it always possible. In almost every stage and situation discussed, she points out when it is unreasonable to expect things to progress positively and sometimes you have to just let things be, knowing you\’ve done your best. I appreciate that she always showed both sides of the situation- for example, in the segment on forgiveness she discusses forgiving your ex, and then also forgiving yourself. The gender pronouns are also frequently switched, so it feels evenly unbiased.

The book goes in detail through many emotional states and uncomfortable situations you will have to deal with when attempting to turn what was a bad relationship (after all, it fell apart) into a working friendship, no matter how limited that might be. Moving through grief, handling anger, letting go of past wrongs, becoming allies (mostly for your children), recognizing the difference between big obstacles and small minor irritants, and coming together for celebrations or family rituals are all discussed in detail. There\’s also an entire chapter devoted to the difficult prospect of meeting your ex\’s new partner and/or including that person in your wider family circle. Along the way Rabinor offers professional advice, points the reader to more detailed resources when needed and recommends how to find assistance if necessary. She also includes many examples from a wide variety of couples\’ situations- some showing how things can work out, others when it doesn\’t. The book is also replete with activities to help the reader work through issues or recognize things- like making lists, visualizing, journaling and so forth.

I admit I didn\’t do any of the exercises, although I certainly thought most of them through. One that seemed very vivid to me was the idea of writing down things that have upset, angered or hurt you, crumpling and tearing the paper, then burning it. Seems very cathartic. The book helped me with many things, like recognize what stage of grief I\’m in, realizing what negative responses I habitually make to strong emotions, and remembering that it\’s often more productive to state a need rather than blame or accuse someone…. Regardless, I know I\’m not ready yet to do most of the things this book offers help with, but it will be waiting on my shelf when I am.

I did have a few problems with the book. It has no index, so when I wanted to look for something specific sometimes it was tricky to remember which segment it was in. Also the headings are annoyingly large, especially considering how many of them there are. When a heading within a chapter is as large as the small paragraph it introduces, following immediately by another heading nearly as large, it just feels like too much. Sometimes I felt like the author was shouting the headings at me, or assumed I wouldn\’t noticed them unless they were really big. Maybe they had to fill up more page space to make the book longer, I don\’t know. It is rather slender but don\’t be fooled, there\’s a lot of valuable information in there.

Rating: 4/5 …….. 203 pages, 2012

DISCLAIMER:

All books reviewed on this site are owned by me, or borrowed from the public library. Exceptions are a very occasional review copy sent to me by a publisher or author, as noted. Receiving a book does not influence my opinion or evaluation of it

SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL:

Subscribe to my blog:

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

VIEW MY PERSONAL COLLECTION:

TRADE BOOKS WITH ME ON:

ARCHIVES: 

2021
January 2021 (14)February 2021 (13)March 2021 (14)April 2021 (7)May 2021 (10)June 2021 (5)July 2021 (10)August 2021 (27)September 2021 (16)October 2021 (10)
2020
January 2020 (14)February 2020 (6)March 2020 (10)April 2020 (1)May 2020 (10)June 2020 (15)July 2020 (13)August 2020 (26)September 2020 (10)October 2020 (9)November 2020 (16)December 2020 (22)
2019
January 2019 (12)February 2019 (9)March 2019 (5)April 2019 (10)May 2019 (9)June 2019 (6)July 2019 (18)August 2019 (13)September 2019 (13)October 2019 (7)November 2019 (5)December 2019 (18)
2018
January 2018 (17)February 2018 (18)March 2018 (9)April 2018 (9)May 2018 (6)June 2018 (21)July 2018 (12)August 2018 (7)September 2018 (13)October 2018 (15)November 2018 (10)December 2018 (13)
2017
January 2017 (19)February 2017 (12)March 2017 (7)April 2017 (4)May 2017 (5)June 2017 (8)July 2017 (13)August 2017 (17)September 2017 (12)October 2017 (15)November 2017 (14)December 2017 (11)
2016
January 2016 (5)February 2016 (14)March 2016 (5)April 2016 (6)May 2016 (14)June 2016 (12)July 2016 (11)August 2016 (11)September 2016 (11)October 2016 (9)November 2016 (1)December 2016 (3)
2015
January 2015 (9)February 2015 (9)March 2015 (11)April 2015 (10)May 2015 (10)June 2015 (2)July 2015 (12)August 2015 (13)September 2015 (16)October 2015 (13)November 2015 (10)December 2015 (14)
2014
January 2014 (14)February 2014 (11)March 2014 (5)April 2014 (15)May 2014 (12)June 2014 (17)July 2014 (22)August 2014 (19)September 2014 (10)October 2014 (19)November 2014 (14)December 2014 (14)
2013
January 2013 (25)February 2013 (28)March 2013 (18)April 2013 (21)May 2013 (12)June 2013 (7)July 2013 (13)August 2013 (25)September 2013 (24)October 2013 (17)November 2013 (18)December 2013 (20)
2012
January 2012 (21)February 2012 (19)March 2012 (9)April 2012 (23)May 2012 (31)June 2012 (21)July 2012 (19)August 2012 (16)September 2012 (4)October 2012 (2)November 2012 (7)December 2012 (19)
2011
January 2011 (26)February 2011 (22)March 2011 (18)April 2011 (11)May 2011 (6)June 2011 (7)July 2011 (10)August 2011 (9)September 2011 (14)October 2011 (13)November 2011 (15)December 2011 (22)
2010
January 2010 (27)February 2010 (19)March 2010 (20)April 2010 (24)May 2010 (22)June 2010 (24)July 2010 (31)August 2010 (17)September 2010 (18)October 2010 (11)November 2010 (13)December 2010 (19)
2009
January 2009 (23)February 2009 (26)March 2009 (32)April 2009 (22)May 2009 (18)June 2009 (26)July 2009 (34)August 2009 (31)September 2009 (30)October 2009 (23)November 2009 (26)December 2009 (18)
2008
January 2008 (35)February 2008 (26)March 2008 (33)April 2008 (15)May 2008 (29)June 2008 (29)July 2008 (29)August 2008 (34)September 2008 (29)October 2008 (27)November 2008 (27)December 2008 (24)
2007
August 2007 (12)September 2007 (28)October 2007 (27)November 2007 (28)December 2007 (14)
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1977
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950