Michele McShea, MSW, LCSW
on Feb. 4, 2011 :
"Fear of the Abyss" is the only book of its kind. Rather than focusing on diagnoses, this book helps the reader to discover the root causes of a constellation of personality traits from which many decent, conscientious people suffer.
Perfectionism, control, and shame, are issues that many people who enter psychotherapy are struggling with. These are people who value other people's feelings, who try to do best by others, and who may at times neglect what is best for them. They find themselves struggling with a need to do things perfectly, which can make it difficult to move forward. Procrastination may then plague them. Their need for control can interfere in their personal life, or even in their alone time. And issues of shame can make enjoying life seem incredibly difficult.
Dr. Edwards has great empathy, and that shines from the page from the very beginning of this book. She describes these feelings with such clarity, readers will feel she knows them, personally. Sometimes, with shame, we can even feel ashamed to have issues! From the beginning, this book helps the reader to feel less shame around issues, and more self-love and understanding. As the reader grows to understand where these feelings come from, the new awareness encourages them to persevere.
Dr. Edwards not only explains these issues, she provides exercises for the reader, geared toward strengthening each reader's own self understanding. The further one reads, the greater self-empathy the reader develops. Suddenly, rather than feeling critical for issues that developed as means of coping with pain, the reader instead comes to see how and why they feel as they do. Taking away the element of shame, and replacing it with self-love and even sympathy, allows the reader to grow in courage and peace.
I practice individual and group psychotherapy, and many of my clients face these issues described in this book. I plan to recommend this book to my clients, and will use this as a tool for helping us through the therapeutic process. Individuals who are not yet prepared to engage in a formal therapy will still benefit, and may find such a degree of relief that they may soon hunger to further gain in insight.
In our culture, perfectionism and control are encouraged to some extent, and we may feel pressured to excel, to perform above and beyond expectations. There is also pressure to be superior to others. Many are left feeling lonely, and wishing they could feel comfortable being "good enough." Often, even when trying their very best, individuals feel they are disappointing loved ones. Sadly, we find that the very people who are the most concerned with other people's feelings, are the ones who worry they are disappointing them. Walking through this journey with Dr. Edwards, such individuals will feel they are not alone. They can take comfort in knowing that they are already very valuable human beings, and there is much they can do to lessen feelings of anxiety and pain.
This book does what other books have not done. It groups together a constellation of personality traits that are commonly found in our fast-paced, pressured culture. Even people raised in decent, well-meaning families struggle with these issues. It is not necessary to feel plagued by these anxieties and stressors; it is possible to overcome them.
This book offers each person the potential for real healing, not merely coping mechanisms. As a result, life gains meaning, and relationships take on new, unexpected dimensions. Readers will find new freedom in being able to, finally, behave like their true, authentic self.
Join Dr. Edwards in this easy-to-read self-exploration, and may you find peace on your journey.
Michele McShea, MSW, LCSW
United States of America
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)