Apr. 5th, 2010

koipond: Illustration of Rache Batrmoss with a cigarette coming out of his mouth. (Default)
Well, finished another self-help book and I'm going to write about it so that I can remember what I liked about it. That's one of the reasons why I started to do this, that way I can look back at the books and take what was good from it and tell people about the ones I think they need to read and the ones they need to avoid.

After all, we can all use a little bit of self-improvement.

Today's book is called Why Can't you Read My Mind. There's a subtitle but most Self-Help books have subtitles that are a mile long so I refuse to write them out.

If you're the type of person that has a hard time communicating in the space of relationship I totally recommend this book. Dr. Bernstein makes sure that he sticks with what you can do rather than focusing on how you can 'fix' others. That's a big thing I've noticed about 'self'-help books, there tends to be those two camps. Those that are like, 'you can't control others so you need to make changes to yourself' and the 'omg, this is how you totes fix your SO.'

Basically what the book is talking about is that the "toxic thoughts" that we think about our partners causes our relationships to deteriorate. Certainly it's not the only factor, but it's totally true. If you sit down and think negatively about your partner, then it's going to have an effect on the feelings you have for them. These kind of thoughts create their own reality and it's never a pleasant one.

In the book there are 9 Toxic Thought patterns, but the ones that really spoke to me were:
1. The All or Nothing Trap where you put things in very binary terms when in reality things are almost always more complex and more nuanced than your toxic thinking will let you believe.
2. The Blame Game where nothing is your fault in the relationship, but everything is your partner's fault. I've mostly gotten over this one before I read this book, but even then it's still there sometimes, and as such it's always good to recognize it.
3. Emotional Short Circuit where you just shut down when you have to deal with feelings. I'm better at this too, but I used to do it all the time.
4. Overactive Imagination where you imagine things that aren't real and act as if they are. This one is the one that I'm guilty of the most. I think when I stop talking, I just fill in the blanks and the stuff I fill in is always worse than the reality.

The rest of the book is pure CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) but that's good because instead of general CBT, he focuses on those thoughts in particular. He calls it his MAP to success, which is short for Mindfulness, Alternatives and Practice. This is almost out of the book CBT, but it's good to have still because CBT is actually pretty effective. It's hard to do on your own because it's so very generic, but when you add these other books like Why Can't Your Read My Mind it helps focus your work.

He does get into more details. He talks about how our history, he calls them ghosts, can cause Toxic thinking to stick and the key skill to keeping a relationship together is Empathy, which are big pluses in my reading experience and is one of the reasons why this book grabbed me and made me want to finish it.

Random Value Judgement Rating: ~~~~~ mind waves being read because you can read my mind, right?


koipond: Illustration of Rache Batrmoss with a cigarette coming out of his mouth. (Default)

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