It Wasn't Your Fault
This book review was inspired by a caller to the Blue Knot Helpline. 'It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself From the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion', written by Beverly Engel. Our caller was keen to share it with us as “the best book” she has ever read. She found it immensely helpful for her recovery process.
As a self-help resource, it gives an empathetic and insightful account of the nature of shame arising from childhood abuse and also offers a pathway for healing from this most difficult and destructive emotion.
Beverley Engel, a practicing therapist in the USA and author of 22 books, writes in a very clear and engaging way about the different layers of shame that stem from childhood emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect and compounding traumas in later life.
This book works from an understanding that even when you know intellectually that your abuser was responsible for what happened to you, you can still feel and think that you are damaged, worthless or that something is wrong with you. This is an expression of shame that results directly from what your abuser did and said to you.
On top of this, many survivors feel bad about or repeatedly question themselves over how they responded to the abuse, the ways in which they coped and survived and the strategies they adopted to protect themselves from further shaming.
Engel presents the practice of self-compassion as an antidote to shame and harsh self-criticism. Each chapter offers guidance and experiential exercises for deepening your understanding of the origins of your shame, fostering a kinder, more accepting inner voice and moving towards a more nurturing relationship with yourself.
She emphasises the importance of working through the book at your own pace including options for skipping or re-reading sections which are triggering.
Our caller said:
“…reading the book was immensely helpful, but at times triggering, for example it lists all the ways that someone may be abused, and I found that I could relate to the whole list. Engel gives practical exercises for releasing anger and I liked the way she teaches you how to throw your shame back at the perpetrator.”
If you would like to read a few more reviews on this book pop over to www.goodreads.com/book/show/20344352-it-wasn-t-your-fault
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