A Little Self Help is a Dangerous Thing

One of my many private addictions used to be reading self-help and self-improvement books.  I occasionally have a relapse but climb off of that saddle as quickly as possible. I quit reading them on a few general principles. One being that just buying them depressed me because I’ve found yet another outlet or excuse to point at myself and say “Ah, Hah!” How many times I have I told you in the dead of night that you were broken? Now here is the written proof.

Then there are the “how to deal with a person who has <insert problem here> and live to tell about it” type books. At first I’m all excited and insist that everyone I know read the book. They don’t of course, people rarely see themselves as the one who needs such advice.  It’s not my place to tell them either but that rarely stops me.

After the initial enthusiasm wears off, I go through a phase of thinking “oh my God…this is me!” I’m the one this book is talking about. Honestly, If you read the symptoms in most of these books and check them off it occurs to you that we’re all loony enough to get carted off in the padded wagon at some point in our lives. I end up feeling like I’ve been walking around with a Technicolor wart on the end my nose and nobody bothered to mention it.

Now a new crop of self-help books have popped up in the last 4 or 5 years.  Many of the books are a rehash of the self-help books in the 90’s. My main concern is that a huge portion of the books are now devoted to how to decide that’s it time to leave, and then how to actually perform the leaving.

That doesn’t help me at all. Unless someone has me handcuffed to a pipe in the basement, I can bloody well leave. I’ve left in a calm and peaceful manner with all my belongings, including my children, and I’ve left at 2:00am screaming into the darkness. Never the less I do know how to leave.

The staying is the hard part. And I’m not including those times when leaving is absolutely the only thing to do, such as implied or real threats of physical, financial harm. But for the rest of us who are in a viable relationship or want to be, it’s more helpful to figure out how to stay and live and grow in the process.

My therapy is writing about what bugs me. I can write a scathing retort to a real or imagined hurt so vicious the paper should burst into flames. Thank God, half the time it doesn’t occur to me until well after the fact. But the worst of my rants are for me alone.  It’s probably better that way. I’d really rather not find myself on a list of mandatory attendees of an anger management class.

4 responses

  1. It`s like when you read a psichology book and you read about all the mental illness and you relate to all of them some way or the other and you think “Oh my, this is me” but then read the following description and you say “Oh my, this is me” and when you finish the book you go directly to a mad house!! that`s why I don`t read those books any more LOL but I like to read about people´s experiences, some of them are inspiring.

    1. “when you finish the book you go directly to a mad house!” That’s funny. Wonder if they have some kind of pick and delivery service for us?

  2. I love your authenticity.

    “I can write a scathing retort to a real or imagined hurt so vicious the paper should burst into flames. ”

    I have private journal blog where I have conversations with myself and think everyone ought to have one. 😉 http://thistimethisspace.com/2010/11/09/benefiting-from-private-journal-blogging/

    1. Glad you do. I love the idea of private journal blogging. I will check it out.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: