Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions Paperback – December 2, 2014
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“[An] engrossing self-help guide.... Breggin conveys empathy and maintains a clear, conversational tone while spelling out his prescriptions for overriding destructive impulses in a variety of real-world situations.”
“Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety is brilliant, clear, hopeful, inspiring, and rooted in science. It should be read by every person seeking freedom from painful emotions or trying to help others—no exceptions!”
—ROBERT NIKKEL, MSW; former Oregon commissioner of mental health and addiction (2003–2008); member of the executive committee, Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care
“A thoroughly original discussion of what Peter Breggin calls ‘negative legacy emotions,’ the leftovers from humanity’s evolutionary past that no longer serve adaptive functions. Breggin takes his readers on a step-by-step journey to help them replace these negative emotions with life-affirming attitudes that will enhance love and well-being. If you think that nothing new can be said about the human condition, read this book; it is filled with unique insights and procedures that can transform its readers, their lives, and their relationships. This is a work of breathtaking originality—and usefulness.”
—STANLEY KRIPPNER, PHD, coauthor of Personal Mythology, professor of psychology at Saybrook University, and winner of the 2013 American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Humanistic Psychology
“A new theory on negative emotions lies in these pages. If you take it in, it will change both your life and your view of yourself and your relationships. Arising from Peter Breggin’s nearly eighty years of life experiences—scientific, clinical, and personal—this book culminates in a very personal reflection on the primacy of love and the possibility that every person can become a source of love. Provocative and even startling at times, it is beautiful, poetic, and inspiring.”
—DOUGLAS C. SMITH, MD, psychiatrist and clinic director, St. Anne's Center
“Breggin captures the essence of the human condition by intertwining wisdom, insight, empathy, and brilliance. A must-read....”
—JEANNE STOLZER, PHD, professor of child development at University of Nebraska–Kearney
“From the first page, I felt an emotional response that brought me to tears, knowing this is a book we all have been waiting for. It is for every one of us who have emotions we struggle with. It’s a great testament to humanity—a groundbreaking work in wisdom and conceived in love.”
—MICHAEL CORNWALL, PHD, Jungian/Laingian therapist, Esalen conference leader, and blogger for Mad in America
About the Author
Peter R. Breggin, MD, has for many decades led successful efforts to reform the mental health field and to promote empathic therapies. His scientific work has provided the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric drugs and diagnoses. He has authored dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books including the bestsellers Toxic Psychiatry (1991) and Talking Back to Prozac (1994, with Ginger Breggin) and more recently, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (2013).
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The problem is, it's written for morons.
During the first section of the book he writes a really interesting premise to his theology regarding people's emotional reactions and how their biology fits into it. He gives a decent explanation about how evolution plays a role in it. And then he proceeds to explain his already-simple explanation. And then, because apparently this book was written to cater to imbeciles, he explains it *again*. In almost the exact same terms, using almost the exact same example! It's ridiculous, and authors who do that are beyond annoying. They're stupid, because they think the people who read their books are stupid. Stupid people aren't going to want to read a book like this.
Show of hands, how many people here have a fundamental understanding of basic evolutionary principles?
Everyone does! Even the quacks who don't believe in evolution at least understand the basic concept behind it. But the guy explains it three times in a row. And he does it using the most idiotic, non-relatable means possible. He tells the hypothetical story of an unknown "possible" mammal, like he's trying to describe a mammal that's sitting right in front of him, and says "See? This is why we are how we are. Because of the thing that (while it is probably true in some sense) I just pulled out of my behind and made up, but I'm treating it like reality."
Another annoying thing authors like this do is try to make their boring hogwash "better by adding aggrandizing descriptives before words that stand well on their own. Here are just some examples from the first chapter:
"A life-changing birth occurred..." Life changing? Really? By his own definitions, every birth since the beginning of time is "life-changing," so why hype the word up? And this one example isn't even that bad. None of them are bad. It's the fact that he just keeps piling them on like a lunatic that's bad.
"...enormous innate capacities for...." OHHH THE ENORMITY OF IT ALL!!
"...every human-like and human child has been born with enormously conflicted capacities for close-knit social relationships and for incredible aggression." Two in one sentence! More enormity, and now we get "incredible aggression." Because regular aggression isn't enough, I guess. It must be incredible!
"...be profoundly nurtured in childhood..." SUCH PROFOUND!
I wouldn't even notice a lot of these if they weren't so blatantly overused and eye-hurting. This reads more like a (poorly written) children's novel than a work of scientific importance.
Case and point...
"Imagine a boy living fifty thousand years ago, with a brain already as fully evolved, complex, and subtle as ours. As he whittles a stick while sitting around the campfire with his family, he happily imagines how he will someday be like his father, who fiercely and bravely hunts great beasts to bring home huge chunks of savory meat. Nursed and nurtured by his mother and raised in an extended family and perhaps a clan, the boy is very social and loves his family, including his sometimes-annoying little brother. Yet, as he looks at his little brother across the flickering fire, the impulse crosses his mind to practice his hunting skills on him..."
He had already drilled the evolutionary perspective, which everyone already knows about, into the reader's head no less than three times at this point. And now he has to give you a stupid story about a fictional stone age child, that sounds like it was written for a child, to discuss the exact same idea again. He's whittling a stick! I'm assuming you also wanted to learn about some new philosophical ideology or maybe a new theory he developed or at least an interesting perspective; why, after already getting the point, would you want to hear about a stick? And why is he saying that his fictional boy is "perhaps" a member of a clan? He made up the damn kid, and he can't even decide what to do with him.
So if you need the same story, which you already knew most of coming into the book, drilled into your head five times in a row in almost identical manners by an author who assumes you're an absolute numbskull, then I highly recommend this book.
The rest of you can just look at the stars and save yourselves some time.
Deftly steering a course between the Scylla of simplistic biological determinism and the Charybdis of equally simplistic “blank-slate” views of human nature, Dr. Breggin explains how our unique position as both the most social and the most violent species on the planet selected for our capacity to experience guilt, shame, and anxiety. Our Paleolithic ancestors took down wooly mammoths and other big game and fended off saber-toothed cats and other predators, armed with nothing more than pointed sticks. This required both an extraordinary degree of cooperation and an extraordinary degree of ferocity from our ancestors. But that same ferocity, if allowed to operate unchecked within the family, would have led to the extinction of that family – hence the origin of guilt, shame, and anxiety as a means of keeping homicidal violence in check. But, Dr. Breggin convincingly argues, today these emotions act as a brake on our reaching our full potential as human beings.
The emotions of guilt, shame and anxiety are rooted in childhood, often in response to abuse, bullying, domestic violence, or other stresses, and often at an age an age too young to remember, an age when the brain still is being formed. These emotions are not reliable guides for making adult decision. Rather, they prevent us from reaching out, forming lasting connections to others, and taking risks that could lead to a more satisfying life.
Dr. Breggin anticipates the question that inevitably arises in the mind of the reader – don’t people need some guilt and shame? His answer is an unequivocal No. He points out that it is the abused, not the abusers, who are left with feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety. Abusers may well feel the same emotions, but those are in response to what was done to them when they were small and defenseless, not because of what they have done to others. As for anxiety, Dr. Breggin is careful to draw a clear distinction between fear, which can be a positive, life-saving reaction to a specific threat, and anxiety, which makes people feel paralyzed and, often, unable to take action in the face of actual threats.
In place of these negative legacy emotions, Dr. Breggin recommends a life centered around reason, love, and empathy. He acknowledges that “Anyone who has cared for toddlers knows how quickly even to most seemingly compliant child can turn into a raging little monster” but he insists that “Parents need to work on the premise that they can raise their children with love, guidance, and nonpunitive limit setting.” For those who have harmed the people they love, he recommends making amends, forgiving oneself, and finding the courage and the strength to love again. And for all of us, he prescribes specific steps to be taken to free our lives from the grip of these negative emotions.
Dr. Breggin tells us “The moment we 1) take responsibility for all our actions, 2) become grateful, and 3) decide to go after what we truly value in life, all resentment and regret die of irrelevance and lack of sustenance, and we begin to prosper emotionally.” Easy to read and admirably free of scientific jargon, this book is recommended for everyone who is interested in maximizing human potential.
Dr. Breggin not only helps, he heals! Thank you, Dr. Breggin!