268 of 277 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2010
i have been going through major depression on and off for 7 years. i kept trying to just "get rid" of the symptoms. this last bout had me in my bed for months, not eating, not having a will to live. yes, very extreme.
i, all along, have had the strength to at least read and learn. i figured i'd die trying to heal and get to the bottom of this illness. this book came along at the perfect time for me. i had had a sneaking feeling that shame was a huge part of my problems, but didn't know how to deal with this, or what it actually meant, or how it was affecting my life, and my thinking.
Her book is a true gift; a treasure. not only is this book full of wisdom that warmed my heart, it's full of lots of hard work on her part to be as accurate as possible about something (shame) that seems so subtle and elusive. she nailed it! (her writing is style is very conversational, and easy to understand as well)
So much of this information sunk into my soul, and has healed me in many ways. On top of providing other's real and raw accounts of shame, and trying to be perfect.....yet remaining miserable, the author helps to build up our strength by showing us ways to not let shame take us down! that it's a learning process, but we really can change in small yet extremely significant ways. the thing is: if we don't know that it's shame.....we will stay stuck in our misery! this book is a key to unlock freedom to live our unique lives, because she calls it out....she speaks out!
i'm not saying i'm cured from my depression. but i will say that i am quite a few rungs up the ladder from the pit i was in. and this is largely due to the women speaking truth and reality in this book, and the author's candor.
i'm thankful for this author. that she had the desire and passion to study for over a decade about these issues. This, i believe, is going to be a huge movement in which we can learn, and then teach our children as well....
this book ,in my opinion, is like a missing puzzle piece for each person that reads. no one teaches us these things, yet they are the very things unfortunately, that drive us in our living! the information is invaluable. (it looks like she may be writing a book regarding men and shame too....looking forward to it!)
167 of 172 people found the following review helpful
This is an incredible book about a little-discussed subject---shame. Almost painful even to think about, the book comprehensively covers the relationship between women and shame. If you are a woman in America, you should read this book. My copy is highlighted, bookmarked, the spine is cracked and it looks like it's been through a war, but it's just been very well-read and well-used by me.
The subtitle of the book is "Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame". The book does not simply diagnose the problem with our culture, but assists women on their individual journey of processing their experiences with shame, and overcoming damage, moving to a better place of power and courage.
Apparently there are currently many shame researchers, but not much has been written about the latest research outside of academic circles. "I Thought It Was Just Me", though research-based, is written for each of us, academic or non-academic, feminist or non-feminist, religious or non-religious, in an approachable, interesting style. The material is somewhat difficult to read only because of the personal issues it triggers; other than that it is very approachable, not dry at all.
The author also discusses changing our culture, one person at a time, with the last chapters addressing how to practice courage, compassion and connection---in a culture of fear, blame and disconnection.
After reading this book I feel more empowered to be me and to stay free of shaming messages. I also feel very convicted and aware of how I have used words and looks to shame others. Of all of the non-fiction books I've read, this one has probably had the most practical impact in my life.
175 of 194 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2007
To be perfectly upfront, I would like to acknowledge that I am a friend and colleague of the author, Brené Brown. But also to be perfectly upfront, I would really appreciate her book even if I was not.
This book is powerful in its scope and impact as it lays out what shame is, how women respond to shame, and how women can respond differently to shame in order to become shame resilient.
Brené helps women identify what their shame triggers are, how to develop a critical awareness about how shame is impacted by larger forces in our lives, such as media images of extremely thin and beautiful women, how women can reach out to others, and how to learn to "speak shame."
As Brené was writing the book and I was reading early drafts, I was already learning to apply her concepts to my life. For instance, previously when I experienced a shameful moment I would curl up in a little ball of pain, constantly replay the shamming incident in my head, castigate myself over and over, and then wait for the passage of time to relieve some of my symptoms, although even years later I could get flashbacks of the event and the accompanying pain. Today, due to Brené and her book, I react very differently. I call multiple friends and share my painful story and seek out comfort, caring, and empathy. I begin to "contexualize" the shameful event, that is, I see how political, economic, and social forces have shaped my personal experiences. For instance, that expectation that women must be "superwoman" juggling kids, work, partners" perfectly, which is an unreasonable expectation that no woman can live up to. That helps put my experience into context and allow me to see the broader picture.
This book is a gift to women from a committed scholar and researcher. Although the hype on many books is that "it will change your life," this book has that potential. And it doesn't hurt that it is written in an accessible, friendly tone with many stories to illustrate her ideas that will make you both laugh and cry.
I highly recommend the book. I predict it will be one of those books you read and then go out and buy for your mother and sisters and best friend. I know I did.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2007
This is a book about shame. Resist the urge to be turned off, and at least read the rest of the review. You may become curious enough to pick up a copy of the book, and that might just change your life. That's right. Dr. Brene Brown has spent more than ten years wrestling down a topic that has kept millions of women captive by its power to isolate and immobilize. But, knowledge is power, and this book delivers a strong dose of empowering information about shame. It's the right medicine for the time.
Brown writes that shame is primarily about the fear of disconnection--the fear of being perceived as flawed and unworthy of acceptance. When you feel shame, it is an intensely personal experience. You feel alone. Yet in reality, every one of us experiences shame. While this experience is visceral and painful, it does not have to be incapacitating.
Through her extensive research, Dr. Brown has discerned how to develop shame resilience. In this book, she teaches you how to recognize shame triggers, how to develop critical awareness of shame issues, and how to destroy the power of shame through connection and empathy.
This is a real book for real women. Every one of us is affected by shame, and every one of us could find more freedom by learning how to develop shame resilience. Shame thrives on silence. But we don't have to be silent any more!
As Brown says, "if we can find the courage to talk about shame and the compassion to listen, we can change the way we live, love, parent, work and build relationships."
Fundamentally, this is a book about freedom. Shame has a hold on our lives in more ways than we realize, and Dr. Brown clearly explains what it takes to break the power of shame. This is a book to read and to pass along to as many friends as possible.
What would our world look like if every woman found the courage to speak in her own voice? I for one would like to find out.
Armchair Interviews says: An outstanding book packed with powerful and hopeful information on the pervasive problem of shame in women.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2007
I have referred many people to this book and gifted many copies even though I have never completely read it. You see I had the enthralling experience of taking the course Dr. Brown gave on the subject of this book "Shame and Empathy" at The Jung Center in Houston. A friend commented that she believes reading this book has changed her life forever and I understand. Please know Br. Brown and her teaching on the subject has changed mine. Men experience shame too; and this book is a must-read for men also.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2009
This book gave me truly original insight into many of my familial patterns and what lies at the source of my life-long struggle with perfectionism. I am reading it for the second time and I'm sure not for the last time--this one is on my bookshelf for keeps.
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2011
This is a wonderful book that would have saved me a lot of anxiety when I was 20, 30, 40. Now that I am in my 70's it is still not too late to learn. The humor and honesty of Ms Brown makes the book fun to read.
Ms Brown appeared on a PBS station and that nudged my curiosity. She is as interesting to watch as she is to read.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
This is one of the best self help books I have ever read. The author, Brene Brown, is so knowledgeable about the subject of shame and guilt and such a great story teller. I found her Blog, Ordinary Courage, first and then purchased her book. I bought it right before she launched her read along. I have also had the privilege of hearing her speak in person since I live in Houston. She is the Real Deal. Quite refreshing. Buy it, read it, log into her blog. You can learn a lot of insight way beyond the words written in the book. I highly recommend "I Thought It Was Just Me."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
This book, for me, was like how it is in college when you take your first class in psych and suddenly you see psychosis everywhere. I see shame and shaming everywhere now - in how people comment on the internet, talk about politics, treat kids, work together, tell stories about themselves... It really does pervade everything.
This book didn't make me feel less alone. It did make me realize, though, that to have true empathy with someone you need to realize you aren't there to fix or better them. You're there to listen, and hear what they are ashamed of, and help them with that. And recognize the same feelings (for whatever reasons you have) in yourself.
But all of this - courage, compassion, connection - it's very hard in our anti-vulnerable, I'm better than you, I did everything on my own culture. It doesn't mean the work isn't worth it, though.
I would only have liked to hear more on her research on men. I think we think of men as in such power and control, so we don't afford them the vulnerability and anxieties we do with women. I can only imagine the shame men feel when jobless, single, different in any way than the norm - and how much they are encouraged to keep that inside.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2014
I purchased this book in audiobook format. I liked the general argument of the book regarding shame:
1. What is shame? Shame is a common phenomenon but people often keep silent about it.
2. How to alleviate shame? By practicing empathy.
3. How to practice empathy? Learn to listen and put yourself in others' shoes instead of judging.
This book would have been good if it was concise, emphasizing the points above with a couple of finely selected examples. However, it was chock-full of filler material. I found myself growing impatient as I continued listening to the superfluous details and examples, and had to relegate this book to the "Audiobooks Reserved For When I Only Need To Pay Half-Attention" pile. I listen to this book when I'm doing housework and can just tune out all the filler and fluff.
Some people may enjoy the filler material. For example, there is a multi-page rant on one woman's feelings regarding infertility: "Infertility makes me feel worthless... Infertility makes me feel like a failure.... Infertility makes me feel scared... Infertility makes me feel shame... Blah blah blah blah blah..." There is also a long section on guilt and shame regarding caregiving specifically. I understand those are serious and common shame-inducing issues that are worth mentioning. However, (at the risk of sounding unempathetic!) they're not issues I'm currently dealing with and I don't want to hear about them extensively, UNLESS I was talking to a friend. If I'd wanted to read about these issues, I would purchase a book catering to them. Was the author testing our empathy and listening skills by subjecting us to these lengthy personal accounts?
In every chapter, the book contained an overabundance of detailed "examples" and "anecdotes" to back up the author's point. It gets tiring and repetitive.
The message of the book is very simple. Consistent with the author's argument, the subject is something we all understand too well: shame. Thus, we don't need to hear 47 detailed accounts of women who have dealt with shame. At least I don't. I'd prefer you wrap things up and give me more information about your research and your conclusions, please. But perhaps the author had a minimum page requirement to meet.