Healing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and Overcome Your Shame
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Healing Your Emotional Self
"Emotionally abusive parents are indeed toxic parents, and they cause significant damage to their children's self-esteem, self-image, and body image. In this remarkable book, Beverly Engel shares her powerful Mirror Therapy program for helping adult survivors to overcome their shame and self-criticism, become more compassionate and accepting of themselves, and create a more posititve self-image. I strongly recommend it for anyone who was abused or neglected as a child."
--Susan Forward, Ph.D., author of Toxic Parents
"In this book, Beverly Engel documents the wide range of psychological abuses that so many children experience in growing up. Her case examples and personal accounts are poignant and powerful reminders that as adults, many of us are still limited by the defenses we formed when trying to protect ourselves in the face of the painful circumstances we found ourselves in as children. Engle's insightful questionnaires and exercises provide concrete help in the healing process, and her writing style is lively and engaging. This book is destined to positively affect many lives."
--Joyce Catlett, M.A., coauthor of Fear of Intimacy
The Emotionally Abusive Relationship
"Beverly Engel clearly and with caring offers step-by-step strategies to stop emotional abuse . . . helping both victims and abusers to identify the patterns of this painful and traumatic type of abuse."
--Marti Tamm Loring, Ph.D., author of Emotional Abuse
Loving Him without Losing You
"A powerful and practical guide to relationships that every woman should read."
--Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D., author of Are You the One for Me?
never really on my own, to make my own decisions, to make my own mistakes.” The reason Samantha and Monica experience life this way is that their mothers discouraged their individuality. Both mothers were overly invested in their daughters’ becoming replicas of themselves. They wanted them to think, feel, and act just the way they did; any differences were viewed as threatening. Smothering parents often have difficulty seeing their children as separate human beings with their own needs and
motivating children, overly critical comments tend to destroy a child’s will to succeed and his capacity to change, and deprive him of motivation. Like Stephen, a child who is shamed by rejection, mockery, or expressions of disgust or contempt will often shrink from contact with others. He may seek invisibility in order to feel safe. He grows up feeling unlovable because he was taught that it was his fault that his parents did not love him, or that his acceptance was conditional—depending on
feel when you read the list. If you feel shy about your positive attributes, try reading the list louder, with a stronger voice. Feel pride as you read about what a great person you are! 6. Pick out two or three items that you would like to reinforce in yourself. Make a concerted effort to acknowledge these traits and/or to reinforce these behaviors whenever you can. Praising or rewarding yourself each time you become aware of these traits or behaviors will help to raise your self-esteem. 9
become overly fearful or to obsess anxiously over what could or could not happen, talk to yourself in a calm, nurturing way (you can do this silently, inside your head, or, if you are alone, you can talk out loud). Say things like “You’re okay” or “You’re going to get through this just fine.” When you feel criticized, or when your inner critic starts to go on a tirade, soothe yourself by telling yourself that it is okay not to be perfect, that you are okay just the way you are, imperfections and
your parent to rescue you emotionally or financially. 5. Speak up the moment your boundaries are violated. State your position calmly and clearly. For example, “Dad, I want you to call me before you come over,” or “Mom, please don’t call me at work. Call me at home instead.” 13 If You Were Overly Controlled or Tyrannized Healing the “I Am Powerless” Mirror You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you! —ISADORA DUNCAN Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.