{download books} I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of ShameAuthor Brené Brown – Collateralloan.co

An affirming, revealing examination of the painful effects of shame—with new, powerful strategies that promise to transform a woman’s ability to love, parent, work, and build relationshipsShame manifests itself in many ways Addiction, perfectionism, fear and blame are just a few of the outward signs that Dr Brené Brown discovered in her year study of shame’s effects on women While shame is generally thought of as an emotion sequestered in the shadows of our psyches, I Thought It Was Just Me demonstrates the ways in which it is actually present in the most mundane and visible aspects of our lives—from our mental and physical health and body image to our relationships with our partners, our kids, our friends, our money, and our work After talking to hundreds of women and therapists, Dr Brown is able to illuminate the myriad shaming influences that dominate our culture and explain why we are all vulnerable to shame We live in a culture that tells us we must reject our bodies, reject our authentic stories, and ultimately reject our true selves in order to fit in and be acceptedOutlining an empowering new approach that dispels judgment and awakens us to the genuine acceptance of ourselves and others, I Thought It Was Just Me begins a crucial new dialogue of hope Through potent personal narratives and examples from real women, Brown identifies and explains four key elements that allow women to transform their shame into courage, compassion and connection Shame is a dark and sad place in which to live a life, keeping us from connecting fully to our loved ones and being the women we were meant to be But learning how to understand shame’s influence and move through it toward full acceptance of ourselves and others takes away much of shame’s power to harmIt’s not just you, you’re not alone, and if you fight the daily battle of feeling like you are—somehow—just not enough, you owe it to yourself to read this book and discover your infinite possibilities as a human being


10 thoughts on “I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

  1. Jess Jess says:

    This book, for me, was like how it is in college when you take your first class in psych and suddenly you see psychosis everywhere. I see shame and shaming everywhere now - in how people comment on the internet, talk about politics, treat kids, work together, tell stories about themselves... It really does pervade everything.

    This book didn't make me feel less alone. It did make me realize, though, that to have true empathy with someone you need to realize you aren't there to fix or better them. You're there to listen, and hear what they are ashamed of, and help them with that. And recognize the same feelings (for whatever reasons you have) in yourself.

    But all of this - courage, compassion, connection - it's very hard in our anti-vulnerable, I'm better than you, I did everything on my own culture. It doesn't mean the work isn't worth it, though.

    I would only have liked to hear more on her research on men. I think we think of men as in such power and control, so we don't afford them the vulnerability and anxieties we do with women. I can only imagine the shame men feel when jobless, single, different in any way than the norm - and how much they are encouraged to keep that inside.


  2. Shannon Shannon says:

    A blogger friend mentioned Brene Brown after I wrote a blog post about vulnerability. My friend said in her comment that I was courageous, yet I'd written the post about how scary it was to be vulnerable. I was puzzled as to how that made me courageous. Then I read I Thought It Was Just Me and I understood better. Brown explains courage as the strength to speak your heart - and this type of courage is one of the key ways to develop and maintain shame resilience.

    As I read this book, I felt a bit like I did when I read In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development in college. Both times, I kept thinking, It's not just me. I'm not crazy. This book made me realize I am not the only woman - not by a long shot - who struggles with shame. And it made me thankful that at least I'm aware of this struggle within me, so that I can begin to recognize my shame triggers and work towards resilience.

    If you read many of my Goodreads reviews, you may have noticed that I lean heavily towards fiction. Yet this is the second non-fiction book that has really captured my heart, mind and imagination. Brene Brown writes in a manner that is informative, conversational, authoritative and incredibly helpful. It made me see some of my own strength and it made me long to be someone who doesn't shame others and who tries to create an environment where shame dies instead of flourishing.

    If you have struggled with shame, if you have daughters you will be raising in this world that hope to shame them into being what the world wants them to be, if you just want to understand how to be a more loving, engaged, encouraging person, I highly recommend this book.


  3. My_Strange_Reading My_Strange_Reading says:

    #mystrangereading I Thought It Was Just Me by Brenè Brown ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    As I have stated in every review I have ever posted about one of her books, Brown is amazing. I could listen to her speak all day and will read anything she writes. I love listening to her audiobooks the most because it’s like an extensive TED talk. This is why I was so disappointed that this book wasn’t recorded by her. It just wasn’t the same. 😔

    However, the content was still amazing. A little too research heavy with less of the storytelling aspect that I love—but the stories are present don’t you worry.

    She is inspiring, inclusive and teaches us so much about empathy and empowerment. I will love her forever.


  4. Meghan Meghan says:

    After two attempts to get through this one, I just cannot do it anymore.

    I am still giving it 2 stars. And I'm going to explain that to you.

    If you believe that 'shame' is based on how others see you and whether or not you live up to those expectations, this may, indeed, be your book. In fact, if you base your entire sense of self-worth on how well you are keeping up with the Joneses, and the disconnect between that dream and your reality is your primary source of shame, pick this one up. You may find something valuable. Go with my blessings, find your bliss. The extra star is for you.

    But here's why it doesn't work for me...

    Ms. Brown's definitions of 'shame':
    Shame is about our fear of disconnection.
    Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.
    Shame is how we see ourselves through other people's eyes.

    On the surface, that may sound fine. But what she describes can, in my opinion, be more accurately labeled as 'Social Anxiety','Panic', or even 'Public Humiliation'. The situations she mentions are all based on negative social interactions (forgetting to bring cookies to school, for example, and then running into a teacher and lying about it), and the physical sensations she describes are hall-marks of an anxiety or panic attack. Although I believe both Social Anxiety and Panic can render us helpless and are serious issues, they are certainly not the same thing as shame.

    Here's my definition of shame:
    SHAME is the feeling you get when your expectations for yourself are unattainably high, and you feel like a failure because you know you will never reach them. In other words: it is not about fitting in with other people.. it is about accepting ourselves as the flawed but beautiful people we already are. Fundamentally, shame is what happens after the balloons have popped and everyone else has gone home.

    Somewhat sadly, she DID offer up examples of actual shame from other women.. but seemed unable to make the distinction between short-lived 'I wore two different shoes to work today and everyone noticed!' embarrassment and the self-inflicted, on-going horrors of their experiences. You simply cannot compare her 'cookie' story, 'sickness' story, or even her 'I was a bad friend' story with the guilt, sadness, and TRUE shame of someone who has gone through a suicide, been the victim of sexual abuse, or has a spouse with a porn addiction... yet that is precisely what the author attempts to do. Her explanations on the verbiage were interesting, but in no way convinced me that her personal stories qualified as 'shame'.

    Although I love the idea of shame as a shared human experience, I remain unconvinced that this particular 'expert' is the go-to person for this topic. I could find no middle ground between her definition and my own, and therefore her 'exercises' seemed largely misguided (what is a 'shame-trigger' if shame is something we foist upon ourselves?), and her own examples incredibly shallow. This book may work for some - shared experience or not, we are all still individuals. But for those of us crafting our whips of guilt, self-doubt, and worthlessness in private... I'm afraid this book does not scratch the surface.


    A few last thoughts:
    This author's focus on sociological perspectives does not work for me, personally, and I will take care to steer clear of anything written by 'sociologists' in the future. Her diatribe, early in this book, on being more empathetic and less judgmental seemed out of place, unnecessary, and insulting (was she shaming the shamers? Or shaming the people reading this book, already riddled with feelings of inadequacy, and already sensitive to the feelings of others? I have no idea). And from experience, sharing shame stories may be a great thing, but sometimes the sharer really needs a professional ear. No matter how well meaning we may be, we are not qualified to say or do the right things to encourage healing.



  5. Ed McKeogh Ed McKeogh says:

    Dr. Brene Brown and her work on shame and, as an outgrowth of that research, wholehearted living have taken off, shooting into the limelight due to some TED talks, a PBS special, some thought-provoking books and a recent guest appearance on Katie Couric's new show to promote her newest book. So, after reading and enjoying The Gifts of Imperfection, I went back and read this volume.

    Instead of a synopsis or thinly veiled attempt at sounding studious, I thought I'd extract a few quotes that, while written about and for a female audience, hit home for me and that I think are representative of the importance of the work presented in this volume. Though the things that trigger shame are different for men and women, the feelings are the same. However, there is great relief in understanding the experience is universally experienced (hence, the title).

    For example, this quote from a letter to Dr. Brown is one that I could have written myself: ...I learned to identify what I was feeling as shame.... I learned that I am very shame-based, that I had all of the 'symptoms' ... but never really related them to the concept of shame. It's kind of like having a lot of strange and disparate symptoms but not knowing what to attribute them to. If you don't know what the disease is, you can't treat it. When painful things happened, my face would flush, my stomach would tighten, and I would want to hide. But since the situations were all different, even though my reaction might be the same, I never could specifically identify the emotion I was feeling. So I never really could deal with it. ... (p. 122)

    This description struck a nerve: There is nothing more frustrating, and sometimes frightening, than feeling pain and not being able to describe or explain it to someone. It doesn't matter if it's physical pain or emotional pain. When we can't find the right words to express our painful experiences to others, we often feel alone and scared. Some of us may even feel anger or rage and act out. Eventually, many of us shut down and either live silently with the pain or, in cases where we can't, accept someone else's definition of what we are feeling simply out of the desperate need to find some remedy. (p. 155)

    As someone who wisely chose to reject some damaging expectations, I found a lot of truth echoed in this passage: There are times when our feelings, thoughts and actions relate directly to our past or current struggles. But there are certainly times when they don't. The problem arises because, at some point, most of us begin to believe the expectations about who we're supposed to be, what we're supposed to look like, what we're supposed to do, how much we're supposed to be and how little we're supposed to be. We also develop a fear of rejecting those expectations. We constantly see evidence that if we do reject these expectations, we will experience very painful disconnections and rejection. So we internalize these expectations and they become an emotional prison. Shame stands guard. (p. 228)

    And this section put a spotlight on some areas in which I need to work: Shame often prevents us from presenting our real selves to the people around us--it sabotages our efforts to be authentic. How can we be genuine when we are desperately trying to manage and control how others perceive us? How can we be honest with people about our beliefs and, at the same time, tell them what we think they want to hear? How do we stand up for what we believe in when we are trying to make everyone around us feel comfortable so they won't get angry and put us down? (p. 242)

    I think it's important to note that even though this book is dense with information and was written about and for women, (1) it should be required reading for men because we all of us have at least one important woman in our lives and how we relate to her matters and (2) the paperback edition I read also featured some information on her follow-up research with men and boys that proves to be very illuminating.

    This book gets to the core of the story behind some of our stories, offers a vocabulary for expressing important feelings and ideas, connects some important dots between seemingly unconnected conditions, and maps out a course of action across some difficult terrain that leads to healing and wholeness. I'm grateful to have found this resource.


  6. Mark Goodman Mark Goodman says:

    I wanted to love this book because I love Brene Brown. Her podcast interviews with Tammie Simon and Krista Tippett as well as her TED talks have inspired me, changed me and touched me deeply. I find her to be an incredibly inspiring and courageous woman and I believe her research on Shame and vulnerability and full hearted living are changing and healing the world.

    That said, I was disappointed by this book. I am wondering whether she is a better teacher and storyteller and presenter than writer. I found the book had a lot of good ideas but it did not hold together as a coherent whole all that well. The writing lacked a sharp focus, wandered too much, and did not hold my attention and heart like her talks did. I also can see that the book was published before her TED talks so maybe something shifted for her as she did those talks and perhaps her more recent writing is better.

    Despite this, I so support her work in the world and her courage and choice t study the unknown and unexplored topic of shame.


  7. Leslie Nelson Leslie Nelson says:

    If I could, I would buy a copy of this for everyone I know...not just women, but men too.

    In this book Brene Brown explains about shame, how common and how destructive it is, and more importantly how to develop our shame resilience.

    The suggestions in this book are powerful, doable, and potentially life changing--no--life improving!


  8. Anne Bogel Anne Bogel says:

    Brené Brown was just getting rolling with this, her first book. I give you permission to skip it if you promise to read Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.


  9. Matthew Matthew says:

    After hearing her Tedx talk, I wanted to explore her work further. I think of my upbringing in an extremely strict religious cult, and realize I've witnessed and experienced the damage of a shame-based culture firsthand. Although the book was originally geared towards women, so far it seems universal enough that it's worth a read by men as well.


  10. Heidi Heidi says:

    I guess I'm in the minority here when I say I found this book to be rather the opposite of helpful. I found the tone to be one of assumption from the author, even though I know she had back up research. I don't personally think or feel the things the women in the book seem to and I found it almost degrading to be labeled as having serious shame issues simply because I am a woman. I similarly found it nearly degrading to have my identity broken down into such small bits. The author seems to speak to her audience about helps for issues then fly in the face of her own suggestions. A good example of this is how she recognizes all of the pressures placed on women then, at the end (spoiler alert), places the responsibility for instilling shame resilience squarely on the shoulders of women. Another good example is the constant evocation of gender role shackles while also consistently using gender as a definition or excuse. It really drove me mad. I do not like this book. I don't even usually review books on this site but I felt the need. I only gave it two stars because of the useful information regarding other emotions and emotional vocabulary.