Shame : Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem

3.77 (70 ratings by Goodreads)
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An intimate look at the full spectrum of shame--often masked by addiction, promiscuity, perfectionism, self-loathing, or narcissism--that offers a new, positive route forward

Encounters with embarrassment, guilt, self-consciousness, remorse, etc. are an unavoidable part of everyday life, and they sometimes have lessons to teach us--about our goals and values, about the person we expect ourselves to be. In contrast to the prevailing cultural view of shame as a uniformly toxic influence, Shame is a book that approaches the subject of shame as an entire family of emotions which share a "painful awareness of self."

Challenging widely-accepted views within the self-esteem movement, author Joseph Burgo argues that self-esteem does NOT thrive in the soil of non-stop praise and encouragement, but rather depends upon setting and meeting goals, living up to the expectations we hold for ourselves, and finally sharing our joy in achievement with the people who matter most to us. Along the way, listening to and learning from our encounters with shame will go further than affirmations and positive self-talk in helping us to build authentic self-esteem.

Richly illustrated with clinical stories from Burgo's 35 years in private practice, Shame also describes the myriad ways that unacknowledged shame often hides behind a broad spectrum of mental disorders including social anxiety, narcissism, addiction, and masochism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 160 x 241 x 25mm | 454g
  • New York
  • English
  • 1250151309
  • 9781250151308
  • 397,530

Review quote

"Joseph Burgo's Shame makes a convincing case for thinking of shame as a whole "family of emotions" that we need to get to grips with if we are to live meaningful and fulfilled lives. His is the best kind of self-help book: wearing its considerable scholarship lightly, it is sensible and measured, and is clearly based on years of thought and clinical experience. Above all, it is helpful."--Joe Moran, author of Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness

"An essential read for anyone who suffers from shame and self criticism. This book can help transform the way you see yourself and the world."
--Shannon Kaiser best selling author of The Self-Love Experiment and Adventures for Your Soul

"A powerful examination of a painful emotion. Based on his wide experience as a psychotherapist, Burgo analyzes several types of shame and gives examples of working through it. It's filled with hope and ways to weather the storm of shame and actually grow from it. It will help everyone, from those who experience occasional shame attacks to those with chronic shame. I was particularly encouraged to see the emphasis on self-esteem as something you learn from your own success, rather than something others can give you. Working with today's parents, I couldn't agree more."

--Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., Author of 5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life

"Dr. Burgo wants us to stop being ashamed of feeling Shame! His new book illuminates the concept of shame as a normal part of life that can be instructive, instead of toxic. Shame is an ubiquitous emotion that must be recognized and understood, not denied and buried. Dr. Burgo shares personal experiences and his work with his patients to describe how shame can crush self-esteem and intensify anxiety. This book describes exercises that can help you overcome the harmful manifestations of experiencing shame and can provide ways to use the emotion to build and share self-pride."

--Jerold J. Kreisman, M.D. author of I Hate You, Don't Leave Me

"Joseph Burgo has written the guidebook that will help you take the shame out of shame. A thoughtful educator, he takes the conversation of shame to the next level. Reminding us that shame is an inevitable part of being human, he also shows us that shame can play a vital role on the to road to self-esteem."

-- Tama Kieves, best-selling author of Thriving Through Uncertainty: Moving Beyond Fear of the Unknown and Making Change Work for You

"Shame delivers on an unanswered prayer for so many who suffer silently. The distinctions and layers of discovery about human identity is a godsend. This book takes you deeper to understanding not only yourself, but the make up of family and workplace dynamics where shame is dispensed and consumed to a fault. Read this to shed the burden of shame and be free!"

-- Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

"Dr. Joseph Burgo has written a powerful book which will be a boon to readers everywhere. Drawing on cutting-edge research and thirty-five years of experience as a therapist, he carefully builds a case for why we need to move away from seeing shame as a single and toxic emotion and, instead, understand it as a complex of emotions which, counterintuitively, can help us embrace our true selves and experience greater joy in living. Burgo is a fine storyteller with great empathy, and the stories of patients (and, yes, his own) vividly demonstrate how facing shame is the well-spring of true respect and pride in the self. His argument is by the far the most cogent in explaining why the notion of self-esteem being founded in constant praise and lack of criticism is both wrong-headed and ultimately destructive. Step by step, Burgo shows us both how to give voice to the feelings of shame that have been holding us back and to bolster our ability to identify what we're feeling with precision. On every page, but especially in the unique exercises at the end, Shame encourages us again and again to look not just at what shames us but why it does and to face both squarely. It's a book I will recommend to my readers without a single reservation. "
--Peg Streep, author of Daughter Detox

"With the skill of a master storyteller, Burgo vividly brings to life, through his clients' struggles and his own, our shared journey to accept a startling truth: shame can either hobble us or help us thrive; it all depends on what we do with it. Savor this book's lessons and exercises. You'll come away with the kind of self-compassion that makes us all better people. "

-- Dr. Craig Malkin, Lecturer, Harvard Medical School and author of the internationally acclaimed book, Rethinking Narcissism

"Burgo dispels the myth that shame has to be toxic."--Publisher's Weekly
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About Joseph Burgo

JOSEPH BURGO, PH.D. has been practicing psychotherapy for more than 35 years. His articles and commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and other major publications. He also writes a blog on the topic of shame for Psychology Today and covers personal development issues from a psychodynamic perspective on his personal website, After Psychotherapy. He is the author of Why Do I Do That?and The Narcissist You Know.
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Rating details

70 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 19% (13)
4 44% (31)
3 33% (23)
2 4% (3)
1 0% (0)
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