Monday, February 20, 2017

Self Help that didn't help the way I thought

You know when I was married I read a whole lot of self help books to try and salvage my marriage, but out of shame I never put the reviews on my blog, I didn't want anyone to know I was reading them.  I didn't want anyone to know that my marriage was failing and that I was having to work at it.  Maybe if I had some people would have known to reach out, I don't think it would have made a difference at the time, but upon reflection I am proud of how hard I worked to save my marriage,  and true we didn't save it, we are still divorced, but I can honestly look back at all the reading and talking and therapy and say, I gave it 120%.  Our marriage ending in divorce is, and I have no regrets and no wonders if there had been more that I could have done because I did everything in my power, besides allow the situation to remain status quo. 

The Books I read that I didn't post reviews for were:

True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh  - This was a book recommend by my therapist, and on some of our joint sessions she would sometimes quote parts. 

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Get on With Your Life by Sidney B. Simon - another book recommend by my therapist, intened to deal with trauma from my childhood and my rape, but did add some insight to forgiving my ex-husband.

How to Stop Lying: The Ultimate Cure for Guide for Pathological Liars and Compulsive Liars by Caesar Lincoln - I read this because he managed to convince me that I was a pathological liar, and I was so far down the rabbit hole that I actually believed him, even though I knew I wasn't.

I Love You But I Don't Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum - This was supposed to be for me to earn his trust back, but it ended up teaching me a lot about myself and the way my ex was treating and lying to me.

Tell Me No Lies  by Elen Bader - again it was supposed to be about showing my ex I was trust worthy, again it opened my eyes to some of the lies he was telling me.

How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh - After the first Thich Nhat Hahn book, something clicked and I began to buy them all

The 5 Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman - this was insightful and for a little bit it, it did seem help, but it was sadly short lived.

One More Try:  What to Do when Your Marriage is Falling Apart by Gary Chapman - Yep too late for this to help, maybe if I had read it years ago.

Things I wish I'd Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman - ditto

The 5 Languages of Apology:  How to Experience Healing in All Your Languages by Gary Chapman - Sadly I spent most of my time apologizing, although no matter how I tried they were never accepted, again I believe it was because I was the wrong person apologizing.

The Argument Free Marriage:  28 Days to Creating The Marriage You've Always Wanted With the Spouse You Already Have by Fawn Weaver - I don't think we got past the introduction.

When Sorry Isn't Enough:  Making Things Right with Those You Love by Gary Chapman - Good stuff, just didn't work for us.

The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh - we even signed the contracts but one of us wouldn't hold up their end of the bargin.

Anger:  Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh  - This was more for him and his anger issues, but I read it too, and it helped a lot during the divorce proceedings to calm my anger at him.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone - Found out afterwards that I didn't have problems with difficult conversations, I had problems with conversations with him.

Peace is in Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh - I use the ideas here everyday to ground myself and appreciate my life, even when it is full of turmoil.

Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh - Fear ruled my life for the last few years, this was great for facing and even embracing them.

No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh - Another great one, I love this guy!

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh - sort of like Peace is in Every Step, but still good.

Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh - 365 days of thought provoking blurbs, I just skim it sometimes

Once the separation happened, the books changed from ones to save my marriage to ones that were to save me and to help me understand what I had been through.   Books to help me heal, books to help my children heal, and books to help me grow as a person in general:

You Are Here:  Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh (Read 2/20/16 to 2/22/16) - 4 Star

I have read more books by Thich Nhat Hanh than I can count.  He is a Buddist Monk, and he speaks to my soul.  This is a tiny book, only about 150 pages, but it talks about being in the present and how to appreciate exactly where you are in your life.  His words tend to flow over me like calming waters and I often turn to his books in times of anxiety and stress.

Screamfree Parenting:  The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping it Cool by Hal Edward Runkel (Listened to 5/1/16 to 5/22/16) - 4 Star

This is a parenting book about how to parent to raise independent kids, to stop yelling and over reacting and listening and actually connecting with your kids.  I found the audio book so good I recommended it to all the moms I know and bought a hard copy for my library.  It confirms so many things my parents used to raise me, but in more modern applications.  It talks about teaching children to make good decisions and how to do that in a society that pressures parents to hover and not let their kids be independent.  It helped give ideas of how to balance the modern world with the ideals from my own childhood.

It's my Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Kennedy Dugan (Read 5/27/16 to 6/7/16) - 5 Star

This discusses how to recover once you escape from an abusive relationship, because honestly escape is just the first step there is a lot of work and a lot of healing that must happen after.  There were some great resources listed and book suggestions that I actually took.  It was a great first step down healing.

Victory Over Verbal Abuse: A Healing Guide to Renewing Your Spirit and Reclaiming Your Life by Patricia Evans (Read 7/8/16 to 7/29/16) - 3 Star

This was about what I had been through, it was good and it confirmed and showed me that no I wasn't crazy.  I didn't feel it did much on the path to recovery, but maybe I read it to early too.

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Listened to 7/19/16 to 8/24/16) - 3 Star

These were supposed to be medetations, but there was a lot of chatter, they were ok, I would rather pick up a Thich Nhat Hanh book I think.

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft (Read 8/29/16 to 9/9/16) - 5 Star

This is the most helpful book I read, it really helped me to change some of the ways I was doing things with my kids and how I was explaining/handling the situation with my ex and them.  After reading this, things began to improve.  I feel that this was most practical book I read, and it had actual advice to give.  Being a victim of abuse, especially verbal abuse, I doubt my own judgment and my own decision making skills not only about myself but about my kids and the decisions I was making for them.  The advice here allowed me to regain some of my confidence as a parent.

Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud (Read 9/9/16 to 9/11/16) - 2 Star

I read this because I'm back in the dating world, and I felt it might be nice to have some ideas it was nothing new, the boundaries I had already known.  It just gave a lot of christian reasons for why to have them.

How to Survive the Loss of A Love by Melba Colgrove (Read 9/12/16 to 9/20/16) - 2 Star

This was an odd book, it was full of poetry and odd advice, I didn't find it useful at all.  Although I did like some of the poems.

Codependent No More:  How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie (Read 9/24/16 to 9/30/16) - 4 Star

I am a co-dependent.  I enable and I take care of people, there are lots of reasons why I learned this behavior.  I always thought being co-dependent meant being weak, and found the term derogatory.  It isn't something I want to be, but I find it less insulting.  This real gave me some insight to my own behavior and how my actions had allowed some of the things to happen in my life, it made me look closer at myself.

The Little Book of Letting Go: A Revolutionary 30-day Program to Cleanse Your Mind, Lift Your Spirit and Replenish Your Soul by Hugh Prather (Read 9/11/16 to 10/5/16) - 2 Star

This was recommended by my therapist, and I found it might have been useful earlier on, but it felt repetitive as I had done most of the things it recommended already.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans (Read 10/10/16 to 10/26/16) - 3 Star


Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by Patricia Romanowski Bashe (Read 10/8/16 to 11/10/16) - 3 Star

This was insightful, and I think that it would be a good book for parents going through a divorce that does not involve abuse, either physical or substance.  The advice there seemed like it would be great if I was divorcing a rational or even stable person, but due to the situation things were just not tenable.  There was a blurb in the book about halfway in that a lot of this information can be disregarded when an abusive situation is present; it was at that point that I started skimming.

Beyond Codependency: And Getting Better All the Time by Melody Beattie (Read 11/17/16 to 12/6/16) - 2 star

This was a slow read, and it focused a lot on 12 step programs, which turned me off.  I am sure there was a lot of good info in it, but it got lost in the promotion of joining a 12-step.

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