Bradshaw on : The Family: A New Way of Creating Solid-Self Esteem

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1996-11-01
  • Publisher: HCI BOOKS

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Based on the public television series of the same name, Bradshaw On: The Family is John Bradshaw's seminal work on the dynamics of families that has sold more than a million copies since its original publication in 1988. Within its pages, you will discover the cause of emotionally impaired families. You will learn how unhealthy rules of behavior are passed down from parents to children, and the destructive effect this process has on our society. Using the latest family research and recovery material in this new edition, Bradshaw also explores the individual in both a family and societal setting. He shows you ways to escape the tyranny of family-reinforced behavior traps--from addiction and co-dependency to loss of will and denial--and demonstrates how to make conscious choices that will transform your life and the lives of your loved ones. He helps you heal yourself and then, using what you have learned helps you heal your family. Finally, Bradshaw extends this idea to our society: by returning yourself and your family to emotional health, you can heal the world in which you live. He helps you reenvision societal conflicts from the perspective of a global family, and shares with you the power of deep democracy: how the choices you make every day can affect--and improve--your world.

Author Biography

John Bradshaw has been at the forefront of the self-help and recovery field for more than 10 years

Table of Contents

Preface to the First Edition vii
Preface to the Revised Edition xi
A Parable: The Story of Hugh xxi
Overview: The Crisis
The Family as a Rule-Bound Social System
Profile of a Functioning Family System
Profile of a Chronically Dysfunctioning Family System
Compulsive Families: Checklist for How Your Self-Esteem Was Damaged in an Addicted Family
The Persecuted: Checklist for How Your Self-Esteem Was Damaged in a Sexually or Physically Abusing Family
The ``Bad'' Child: Checklist for How Your Self-Esteem Was Damaged in an Emotionally Abusing Family
The Most Common Impact of Chronic Family Dysfunction: Co-dependency
Road Map for Recovering Your Disabled Will: Stage I---Finding a New Family of Affiliation
Road Map for Uncovering Your Lost Self: Stage II---Breaking the Original Spell
Road Map for Discovering Your True Self: Stage III---Spiritual Awakening and Compassionate Social Action
Epilogue: Revising Traditional Values 267(18)
References 285(6)
Index 291(14)
Videotapes and Audiotapes 305


from Chapter Eleven Road Map for Discovering Your True Self: Stage III—Spiritual Awakening and Compassionate Social Action The Spiritual life is à part of the human essence. It is a defining characteristic of human nature, without which human nature is not fully human. -Abraham Maslow- Our lives are limited by our beliefs. In my active addiction, I believed that my life and happiness depended on external forces. I made decisions according to that belief. My false belief led me to make wrong choices. I ultimately created the kind of world I believed in. Some years ago I had a great example of how beliefs shape our world view. During the Christmas season I went to the Galleria Mall with a friend of mine and his uncle. The Galleria is the most crowded shopping center in Houston during the holidays. The traffic is terrible. It often takes 40 minutes to get there from my house, which is only six miles away. My friend is a warm, loving person. He has an infectious smile. He loves people and believes in their goodness. He was driving the car and we got to the Galleria in 20 minutes. His smile was captivating as he asked people to let us get through traffic lines. He created the kind of world he believed in. His uncle wanted to drive on the way back. His uncle is rather somber and believes people are ôno damn good.ö It took us 20 minutes to get out of the Galleria parking lot! His uncle gave people dirty looks, yelling aggressively at other drivers. No one let him in line. Finally, a sweet little old lady signaled for him to get ahead of her. He shot her the finger! Not only did he create the kind of world he believed in, when data emerged that could change his belief, he refused to look at the data. Our beliefs create the kind of world we believe in. We project our feelings, thoughts and attitudes onto the world. I can create a different world by changing my belief about the world. Our inner state creates the outer and not vice versa. It took me 42 years to grasp this rather simple spiritual principle. Co-dependence is at bottom spiritual bankruptcy because co-dependants believe that happiness lies outside of ourselves. Stage III starts us on the journey to discover our inner life. This involves the work of spiritual disciplines. Such disciplines demand the same attitude that the previous states involved: resolve, commitment and working one day at a time. Just as we needed a sponsor in Stage I and a support group or therapist in Stage II, so also we may need a spiritual director in Stage III. You may find such a person in your new family of affiliation. You may know a spiritual master that you wish to approach and ask to be your sponsor or guide. You may know a pastor, priest, rabbi or spiritual friend whose life and teachings appeal to you. Guidance is important in the beginning. Almost no one has been taught how to meditate. Most people continue their childhood methods of prayer and have no idea about expanding their prayer l

Excerpted from Bradshaw on: the Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem by John Bradshaw
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