Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: An Adult Child's Guide to What's 'Normal'
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on April 20, 2001
Whoever said it was too cookbook hasn't appreciated the the value of having a thorough one at hand. I loved the Friel's approach. It is a bit harder on the ego than the Woititz ACOA book but this one includes ALL dysfunctions, and I know even after years in recovery I will still find valuable resources in this book to guide me along my bumpy journey. As one who has NO idea what is normal, yet somehow manages to function at the basic level in society, I definitely appreciated the simple yet thorough approach used here.
This book isn't another "blame the parents--give you an excuse" soother. It requires that we take responsibility for our adult lives, recovery, happiness, misery, relationships, dysfunctional patterns & our future. This book shows me exactly what healthy (they don't believe in the statistical normal, to them normal means emotionally healthy, which is a far more useful definition of the ambiguous term "normal" anyway) living means, looks-smells-tastes-feels like! I can use this book as a check-up to see if I'm on the right track and if not, follow the suggestions or get further help.
Most of all this book helped me to recognize that recovery isn't an overnight process, can't be done alone in isolation, that I'm human and mistakes are actually a GOOD and WELCOME experience and do NOT have anything whatsoever to do with my self-worth. This book even includes several chapters on how to respond to con artists, abusers & generally rude, mean or unhealthy people. How to deal with zingers, how to set healthy boundaries & protect ourselves & our healthy boundaries, I could go on for pages praising this book.
I've bought numerous other self-help books & this one was the best. The authors do suggest waiting until one has 2+ years of recovery before tackling this book. To hell with that. Read it now, and every step of the way on your journey. Start feeling better about YOU & your life right NOW, today. Good luck on your journey, happy discoveries to you.
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on January 25, 2001
This book has been a Godsend! I've read it several times and am now using it in a bookstudy group for an e-mail group I run for people recovering from codependent relationships to sexual addicts. You might not think there was anything "wrong" with your family of origin, but this will help you pinpoint some of the reasons why you may make the bad choices you do in your life, what's healthy and "normal," and steps you can take to learn how to make healthy choices for yourself. Highly recommended! Very good, solid advice delivered in an easy-to-read format, not boring, not "clinical," but written for a wide audience yet not preachy or insulting. Great book!
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VINE VOICEon September 10, 2004
Adult survivors of abuse have only the twisted guidance of screwed-up parents to guide them through life. Only the worst cases of abuse make the news. Some people don't even realize they were abused until they look back on their childhoods with an adult's wisdom and insight - a child often thinks the dysfunctional situation is normal and doesn't realize that this doesn't happen in all families - nor should it. Knowing what's normal is impossible for us - because we never knew what normal was! Essential for the adult survivor
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on August 24, 2004
If you've had a troubled childhood, this book will amaze you at its accuracy. It knows your problems, perceived "shortcomings", and more. It also gives you the insight into why it happens or why you continue to do it. However, it does NOT give you enough in the way of constructive methods of ridding yourself of these behaviors. While it maintains an upbeat and cheery tone for its entire length, there just isn't enough substance there for my liking.

A little more "how to" would have made this book a 5 star winner.
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on August 22, 1996
This book is the best I have yet found in dealing
with practical answers for adult children of
dysfunctional families. Often we struggle with the
emptiness between identifying our unhealthy behaviour and
enacting healthy behaviour.

This book helps begin filling the space with some answers.
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on January 27, 1999
Finally! A book that gives us what to do right instaed of just what's wrong. As a counselor I highly recommend it to anyone who has had any kind of dysfunction in their family.
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on March 5, 2000
I was a little disappointed in this book. After reading the previous reviews, I expected something a little different. It was good for pointing out different situations that require setting boundaries (which adult children definitely need,) but it's very situation/response oriented which I found somewhat limiting in its usefulness. It does offer some tools that can give you strength in dealing with difficult situations. Some of their examples are pretty lame. For example, "You know, Susan, that felt sort of shaming. Are you trying to say that my choice of clothes isn't classy enough for you?" It was also somewhat cute-sie. Overall it was helpful but had it's limitations.
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on April 19, 1998
+AH4-This is probably the only self-help book I have read and loved and gone back to over and over again. It helps you recognize and identify your issues...or helps you realize you really don't have any. If you have felt like your relationships haven't been all that normal or that your family environment wasn't that healthy... this might help you.+AH4-
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on September 9, 2013
I started reading this book, but quickly realized it wasn't what I had hoped. I tried searching through for help on specific topics, too, but didn't find the answers I needed.

Hard to describe what I hoped this book would be. I guess the title is a bit of a misnomer to me. I don't think this book comes across as a guide to what is normal. Maybe I was looking for something that really describes what normal/healthy people and families do, and how to become like that. How to make friends. How to make a basic phone call. What a normal family conversation is like.

I don't see myself finishing this book. I'll probably donate it to the library.
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on December 6, 2013
This book was the one thing that changed my life. And I had tried almost everything, for decades. This book freed me from the prison I'd been born into. It set me off on the discovery of things as they truly are, which I had never even suspected. Especially recommended for people with NLD or Asperger's, as a guide to what is not being said.
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