Kindle self-help book recommendations
December 30, 2012 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations of effective books/workbooks/web resources on emotional intelligence, abandonment issues, anger, fear, jealousy, trust issues and self-compassion. Bonus points for including all of the above and being available on Kindle.

I know you're supposed to catch onto a lot of this before you are 30, but I didn't, for one reason and another (see below). Result: general low-self-worth with frequent angry outbursts and patches of very controlling/mean/weird behaviour related to romantic jealousy. Oh and major co-dependent streaks.

I don't know whether my current relationship will weather the storm that's currently raging within (mostly within), but I do know that I need to do some serious work on me, NOW, and I would really love recommendations of effective books that will help me understand how to navigate my emotions like a grown-up and be nice to myself in the process. I'm ideally looking for stuff that has really helped clever people to get where they need to be, which is why I'm here rather than the google search box.

I am about to start seeing a CBT-based therapist for twelve weeks and thinking about looking at different kinds of therapy in the future (perhaps talking about issues from my past etc.), but in the meantime I just want to be reading as much good stuff as possible on my Kindle to make sense of some of this!

I would also love to hear of books that are about developing independence (or healthy interdependence, or whatevs) as a grown up, not feeling the need for a relationship and how to be nice to people without constantly people-pleasing and having no boundaries.

If there are books particularly about abandonment issues stemming from dads leaving and single mothers drinking, struggling financially, being scared of everything, and viewing romantic relationships as lifeboats for most of your childhood/adolescence, leading to anger, fear and jealousy in later life, then double triple bonus points.

Thanks in advance, folks.
posted by f3l1x to Human Relations (6 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Books are easy. Doing the work is hard. Think of difficulties as practice opportunities. Whenever something sticky arises, with a huge smile shout to yourself "Awesome I get to practice!" Perhaps think of it as a game.

Not sure on the abandonment front, but I tend towards Buddhist based books. However, don't let that put you off since you don't have to be Buddhist and most of what they say are supported by research.

*Focusing by Grendlin [I haven't read the whole book but I think one only really needs to read like chapters 2-4 and then just start doing it on a regular basis.]

*When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron [great book that is always recommended for good reason. Basic idea is turn towards pain and difficulties, don't push them away which most people do without even realizing it.]

*Radical Acceptance by Tara Barch [I just ran into this one, and haven't read it. However, it seems good and worth looking into.]

*Mindfulness in Plain English [There really is no right or wrong way to meditate, just do it on a regular basis for about 6 months. Then reflect back on your life before and after meditating. I strongly recommend joining a local group to give you structure and make sure you keep up with it on a regular basis. Try looking for sitting groups in Inquiring Mind, call your local UU church, Spirit Rock or IMS website for sitting groups, googling meditation and your city, searching, etc. Try a bunch of places until you find a group that you click with. Don't give up until you try 5 groups or more.]

*Beyond Happiness by Ezra Bayda [Definitely a Buddhist book, try reading it after meditating for 6 months or more. I really liked this book, even though it is a tad repetitive, but probably helped nail in some fundamental concepts. His basic approach is very similar to Focusing by Grendlin. I really like it since it says that genuine Happiness (read as contentment) cannot be relied on from external things since they are impermanent and change. That is, relying on a relationship, status, money, etc. for happiness does not work. The book explains it better and goes into a bit more detail.]

*Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg [I haven't read it yet, but looking into meta or lovingkindness practice would be good for self-esteem. Honestly, you don't need to read any book. All it is, is sitting quietly and possibly meditating and saying. May I be happy. May I be safe. May I be as healthy as I am able to be. May I live life with ease. May I be loved. May I feel that love. Start with someone that loves or cares about you such as a grandmother, pet dog, etc. Imagine them saying those phrases to you. Then have yourself say them. Then think of someone neutral and say it about them, then someone you are having difficulties with, then do it for all beings. Modify as you wish, but remember to start with yourself, since lovingkindness towards others starts with ourselves. I like to do this practice for myself, and maybe a few people and all beings in the morning. Nothing too fancy or long.]

*Practice Gratitude. As I am lying in bed before sleeping I reflect on the day and say what I am thankful for. It can be as simple as doing laundry, cleaning the dishes, eating a tasty meal, spending time with a friend, or whatever. Try to find at least 3 things. If journaling is more your thing, then try that. Doesn't really matter, but keep doing it on a daily basis.

*People like The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns. Get a jumpstart by reading the Checklist of Cognitive Distortions.

*Having a weekly small group discussion on personal issues helps a ton. I get this from my weekly meditation group where we read part of a book and discuss it and how it relates to our lives. Some people go to Al-Anon or Co-Dependents Anonymous, some go to group therapy, some go to small group meetings through their church or spiritual center, etc. Doesn't matter, but find a weekly small group where you can talk about deep stuff for a bit.

*A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine [I really liked this book. skip to parts 2 and 3 which talk about techniques and advice. Start practicing the techniques which relies at the root of the book. They are really simple, but can be hard to remember or do on a regular basis. Negative Visualization and Dichotomy of Control are my favorite.]

*Don't under estimate the power of exercise!

*Volunteering even for a little bit once a month is great.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 3:16 PM on December 30, 2012 [12 favorites]

For Anger, dads leaving and moms drinking: The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

For boundaries, romantic relationships as lifeboats: Any Alanon or CODA literature or meetings, The Gentle Path through the 12 steps by Patrick Carnes

For Compassion: Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh

Also if you can try a LMFT (marriage and family therapist) - they are all about understanding relationships and ourselves in relationships.

Best wishes on your journey!
posted by SyraCarol at 4:40 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Many of my AskMeFi comments consist of recommending at least one of the following, so I guess I'll just round them up here:
Romantic relationships: The Passion Trap (formerly The Passion Paradox) by Dean C. Delis
Family relationships: The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
Fear, though not perhaps what you meant (but also lots on unhealthy relationships): The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
Shame: Brene Brown's books and TED talks.
Money and minimalism: The Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
On the nature of survival: Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
Emotional Intelligence: The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book
posted by lily_bart at 8:46 PM on December 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Even if you aren't the type to be curious about poly relationships, The Ethical Slut is a really good resource for getting in tune with why you feel a certain way about things. There are a bunch of good exercises to deal with jealousy as well. It's helped me a lot.
posted by shesdeadimalive at 10:32 AM on December 31, 2012

Are all these Kindle titles? I started researching Mr. Papagiorgio's list, and the first one doesn't come in Kindle form. Or am I missing something? Wouldn't surprise me...
posted by littleredwagon at 12:19 PM on December 31, 2012

littleredwagon - That focusing book is one of the few that unfortunately does not come as an ebook. Obviously, your local library may have the paperback, or do an inter-library loan.

Also the Feeling Good Handbook does not come as an ebook. However, the regular Feeling Good book does come in Kindle format. I think people like the handbook over the regular book, but I have not read either.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 12:54 PM on December 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

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