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Secrets You Keep from Yourself: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 25, 2004

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Neuharth, a marriage and family therapist, brings the same mixture of practical suggestions and sympathetic understanding in this new guide to avoiding self-defeating actions as he did to his If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World. (The earlier book resulted in Oprah, Good Morning America and CNN Talkback Live! appearances.) In order to change behavior that has undermined personal happiness, Neuharth argues that it is essential to recognize that one is one's own source of this unhealthy conduct, that one has the power to alter it and that denial usually prevents one from taking productive action. Denial,Neuharth finds, frequently stems from inappropriate fear that taking any action may have too great an emotional cost. In an especially useful chapter, he shows how most fears reflect concerns about self-worth or worries about a dreaded experience such as publics peaking. He offers a number of self-tests and sensible techniques for becoming more self-aware and overcoming fears, illustrated by numerous case studies. In addition, Neuharth helps readers identify their deepest hopes and desires along with the means for achievement. A clear, apostrophic style ("You've done this thousands of times in your life") and user-friendly organization further add to this above-average manual for maximizing personal happiness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Demystifies much within our pasts that can hurt our intimate relationships in ways we may not even realize. If You Had Controlling Parents helps spark understanding and acceptance across generations.” ―John Gray, Ph.D., author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus on If You Had Controlling Parents

“A step-by-step plan in which [the reader] can deprogram himself from the ingrained and harmful habits taught by unhealthy guardians...and change habitual feelings of low self-esteem, distrust, or even a willingness to be victimized.” ―Los Angeles Times on If You Had Controlling Parents

“Excels in describing threads common to many extreme parenting styles...and to the way children subjected to them feel once they've grown up.” ―Dallas Morning News on If You Had Controlling Parents

If You Had Controlling Parents can claim a very respectable spot on the shelf of self-help books. The book is solid.” ―USA Today on If You Had Controlling Parents

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312312474
  • ASIN: B000C4SUOM
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,703,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Neuharth PhD is a marriage and family therapist and best-selling author. He has more than 20 years' experience counseling couples, families, and individuals. Dr. Neuharth is a frequent presenter and facilitator and has been featured extensively on national media including Oprah, Good Morning America, and CNN.

His books, If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World (HarperCollins Publishers) and Secrets You Keep From Yourself: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness (St. Martin's Press) have been published in English, French, Japanese, Korean, and Danish.

Dr. Neuharth has a psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay area and offers worldwide consultations by email or webcam. His website is He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (CA Lic. #LMFT29178) and clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Marin Chapter, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What's that adage that you can't judge a book by its cover? Although I compliment the publisher for the cover's clean, contemporary design in sea-foam green and backlit-blue, this understated cover actually undersells this gem of a book. In fact, this is like three books in one. The first third of the book is a thorough investigation into how denial and self-defeating behavior really work, along with numerous ways to nip self-sabotage in the bud. For me, that in itself was worth the price of admission. The book's middle section is an inspiring and affirming motivational text that includes several excellent exercises which helped me clarify values, yearnings, and goals that matter most to me. This section showed numerous ways to live your highest dreams rather than settling for your limitations. The final part of the book is primarily a practical, nuts-and-bolts primer on effective problem-solving, offering a half-dozen no-nonsense methods to solve any personal problem. Any one of these sections could stand on its own as an entire book, yet the three "books" work together seamlessly. I found this book full of insights, though never dense or obscure. Quite a bargain for the buck.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book has the most insightful and freeing explanation of how to overcome fear and anxiety I have ever read. After reading this I feel that, for the first time, I have a handle on how fear tends to run my life. More importantly, I feel I can take back control of my life in crucial situations where I would have felt lost before. I also loved the metaphor about "Inner Characters," especially the Indulger, Persuader, Moviemaker, and Dramateer, which particularly spoke to me. This Inner Character metaphor has helped me spot even the most subtle ways I personally tend to drift into self-sabotage, and to spot it early enough so that I can change course. Using this metaphor has already kept me on several occasions from doing things that I would almost certainly have later looked back on with chagrin in one of those "What was I thinking?" moments. The book does a great job of showing how everybody gets in their own way at times and that self-sabotage is nothing to be ashamed of. This knowledge takes away the guilt-and-shame factor I sometimes feel when I "step in it." That frees me to move on and learn from my mistakes instead of risking repeating them cluelessly. Definitely worth reading.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book. Denial and self-sabotage would seem to be difficult topics to approach and define. How can one talk about what one may not be consciously aware of, after all? But this book tackles this subject in masterful fashion. By using both a light touch and reassuring manner, the author encouraged me to approach my own foibles (of which I am sometimes quite critical) with an open mind and heart, enabling me to learn about and accept myself in new ways and on a deeper level than most self-help books I have read. At the same time, the book takes complex phenomena such as defense mechanisms, the ego and self, and personality traits and, without sacrificing accuracy or psychological sophistication, shows in clear, precise, and plain-spoken ways how our innate human complexity can trip us up or work against us without our knowledge. Moreover, the book addresses these potentially-uncomfortable topics in a supportive, positive manner. Through features like identifying your "usual suspects" and the four "litmus test" signs of self-sabotage, this book stimulates powerful introspection into one's own self-sabotaging patterns, which is the necessary first step to positive change. I especially liked the book's chapter on the nine "Inner Characters" like the Moviemaker, Dr. No, and Mini-Me. These ingenious "character" portraits gave me entirely new ways to recognize and avoid my everyday ways of drifting into potentially troublesome habits.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By kathryn on March 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Beginning with the Introduction's stirring and encouraging words ("You could change the course of your life. Let's get started") all the way to the Conclusion's uplifting thoughts on creating greater compassion, gratitude, and sense of purpose, this book never let up in its gentle-but-determined journey to help me raise my awareness and motivation to live the best life possible. The first half of the book had me both chuckling and shaking my head in amazement as I had insight after insight about the various (and sometimes sneaky) ways I put stumbling blocks in my path. I gained a much deeper understanding of my quirks, both lovable and damnable, as well as an appreciation of the awesome power of denial. I felt hope, not hopelessness, as the author's steady guiding hand and well-laid-out structure helped me take stock of my hidden strengths. The second half of the book was replete with stunningly effective tools for identifying what I really want in life and negotiating around the obstacles -- both self-inflicted and other-inflicted -- that stand in my way. If you want to turbocharge your life, this book is a must!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. White on November 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dan's book is absolutely exceptional. It is not filled with psychological mumbo jumbo, but is a truly practical book about what a person does to themselves in times of cricis, pain and stress. He gives straight forward and pracitcal steps for recovering and creating the changes you want and need to make and may not know how. Dan puts your life in your own control and not that of others, a place I have been.

I recommend this book highly. If you are facing difficult times and/or want to build a better and happier life this book is essential.
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