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

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,734 Ratings  ·  542 Reviews
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 relationships.

Shame 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 6-year study of shame’s effects o
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Gotham (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 13, 2012 Jess rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 30, 2011 Shannon rated it it was amazing
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
Ed McKeogh
Sep 16, 2012 Ed McKeogh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
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
Mark Goodman
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
Leslie Nelson
May 05, 2013 Leslie Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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!
Aug 27, 2012 Matthew marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 14, 2015 Bdalton rated it really liked it
This is the second Brene Brown book that I have read this year. I liked it better than the first as it was more focused on her key area of research - shame, specifically shame in women. Women experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations. She lists twelve areas where women commonly experience shame: appearance and body image, motherhood, family, parenting, money and work, mental and physical health, sex, aging, religion, bei ...more
Sunshine Jeremiah
I am absolutely in love with Brene Brown's brain. This book does an excellent job of defining shame (and as different from guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, and low-self-esteem). She sources where and how shame occurs and how to escape the immobilizing impact it can have on spirit and heart. It is story-filled rather than explicitly informative which makes her work accessible to most anyone.

If you are a courageous person who appreciates the value of self-awareness and personal growth for indivi
Apr 28, 2012 Chavonne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every Woman I Know
Recommended to Chavonne by: Amy, Allison
I want to give this a 4.95, but as I cannot I'll have to round up. This book has already changed me. I have been trying this year to acknowledge and move away from the shame that motivates a lot of my behavior. While reading this book, I had two very applications of the idea of "sharing your story". Firstly, I admitted my anxiety and another person reflected how her not being the only feeling this way about our work helped her feel less shame. Secondly, I admitted how someone's comment at work c ...more
Dec 22, 2012 Heidi rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Brene Brown is like having someone standing in my face, shaking me, and saying, "You see that crazy thing you're doing? Stop it!"
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 ma
One of the most amazing things on the Internet (in my opinion) is the existence of TED talks. I have been sent to this site of Ideas Worth Spreading by friends, by other librarians, and bloggers. There are a lot of useless things on the 'Net, but these videos are not useless. They are inspiring, educational and sometimes just plain fun.

So I encountered Brene Brown on her TED talk thanks to Dave Lose ( After listening to her, I had to read this book and I was not disappo
Ana Maria Rînceanu
Despite the fact that the writing style is too verbose, this book has some great insight into shame and how to deal with it.
May 02, 2012 Giedra rated it really liked it
Really really interesting book that teaches "shame resilience." Brown explains exactly what shame is; differentiates it from guilt, embarrassment, and humiliation; shares stories that illustrate 12 or so areas of potential shame (eg, appearance and body image, motherhood, sex, religion, career, family history, addictions); and goes through 4 elements of being resilient to shame. Her main point is that shame separates people by preventing them from being authentic with one another.

I don't think
Nov 15, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about myself reading this book. It was hard and powerful, and I think all my other high-achieving perfectionist female friends would benefit from the self-study also. I think that I will have to re-read parts of it to help me in the future. It is not a quick and easy self help book, but the kind that sparks a journey and a lot of work.

When I finished, I moved on to Brown's other book, "The Gifts of Imperfection," and got a lot out of that one also. This book was a zoomed in view
Rebekah M.
Dec 18, 2015 Rebekah M. rated it really liked it
Excellent! I went from not really knowing the right words to being able to define shame to now understanding it in its complexity. I also started this book not seeing how it could possibly relate to me. Dustin saw a few books by this author on my to- read shelf and happened upon this one and got it on the kindle so I read it. Yes, I see examples of shame everywhere now: in myself, in parenting, in my circle of friends. I want to share this book with everyone, not as a self-help but as a defense ...more
This book is powerful and eye-opening. As I was reading, it was a constant stream of "yup. I do that. Tell me about it. I know!" in my head. I think there are few books that cover women's experiences with such knowledge and realism. This book doesn't promise to change your life or to prevent you from ever experiencing shame again, instead it shows you how shame affects you, where shame comes from, and how to deal with it. I think most women need to read this book (except, perhaps, those rock-sta ...more
Jennifer Teddy xd
Aug 09, 2015 Jennifer Teddy xd rated it it was amazing
I love reading Brene Brown' book. From the first time I listened from her Ted Talk, she has the deep understanding of human problems and painful experience, and also the practical resolution. Although we will never remove the shame in our human roots, however we can avoid this kind of shame leads our life and crucial emotion.

She also pointed out the various and different types of problems that every individual and family has, which divided in two way, the positive side is that every family is f
Daron Yondem
Nov 11, 2015 Daron Yondem rated it liked it
Shelves: to-learn
This was totally out of my expectations. My mistake is not reading the subtitle underneath the books name; "women reclaiming power". This books is all about women. There is a small section about man but that's it. I don't think I have the rights to criticize the book in this matter. At the end of the day it is my mistake not reading the books cover 100%. I'm sure the book will be much fun for ladies especially in case they can sympathize with the author.
Alex Linschoten
3.5 stars. I'm new to the idea of 'shame research', and this was certainly a step or three above the usual self-help fare. Brown is actually a legitimate researcher, and that should be said upfront about her books. Parts of this were more useful than others -- I particularly found the beginning discussion of shame and how to distinguish it from other feelings very useful. I suspect that the two books that followed this one (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be ...more
Laura Ellison
This book is one of the best self-help books I've ever read (not that I've read a lot). I personally don't deal with a lot of shame or guilt but know so many people that do and I feel like this book could be so beneficial. I got a lot out of it and if I could, I believe that this book could really help one get out of the awful put of negative self talk/hate and develop a more positive mental perspective on oneself and life in general. Since I have an interest in addiction, it was interesting to ...more
Christina "6 word reviewer" Lake
Helpful, humorous encouragement of shame resilience.
Nancy Bandusky
Despite the book being relatively dry, I did finish it.

It did have a few good points/examples that I could relate to but that was as far as the connection went. I could relate to it but it still didn't provide solutions to issues.

The solution provided by the author to get through "shame" was to build a support network - do that and you will feel better about yourself. That in itself creates a destructive shame issue if the reader doesn't have or can't find a support network.

The book doesn't mov
Christiana Sherrill
Well, this book was amazing. There were so many times I'd read a sentence or paragraph and just thought, resoundingly, YES, THAT'S IT EXACTLY! Like the title says, "I thought it was just me," but thankfully, it isn't. We're not alone.

The book dives deep into what causes shame and how we can develop shame resilience. It makes you think about what your shame triggers are, and how you can recognize them and adjust your behavior. It was beautiful and amazing and I underlined something on almost ever
Laura H
Feb 05, 2015 Laura H rated it it was amazing
Is life-changing too much of an exaggeration? "I have bought into the messages that are being used to shame me." That line struck something deep inside me, and this book made me look at ways people have shamed me and I have shamed others. "Awareness is knowing something exists, critical awareness is knowing why it exists, how it works, how our society is impacted by it and who benefits from it." Will definitely recommend this book to all of the women in my life. (Thanks to Linni for introducing ...more
Alison Prendergast
Brené Brown does an excellent job of unpacking the concept of shame, walking through examples of how it happens in our lives, and explaining the habits we can develop to work through it. The accounts she gives of women experiencing shame are all too real. Her writing is especially interesting when she breaks down common misconceptions and describes how shame is a complicated cultural phenomenon. For example, one might think that a woman who has a high level of shame resilience is just a person w ...more
Juliette Morris Williams
May 21, 2009 Juliette Morris Williams rated it really liked it
This review may sound strange, but it's only because the author's book and her blog/podcast have taken me into, through and out into a new place. (shift to personal experience for a moment): I've done a lot of study about shame in world culture. I've written about it, spoken to women in several countries, started a blog (but dropped it quickly, wasn't ready to do something like that yet), blah blah blah. Then I dropped it all when things got stressful and life threw some curve balls at me. Don't ...more
Helen Farrell
Jun 14, 2012 Helen Farrell rated it liked it
Well, this is the first book of its type I have read. I was sent it by a friend who felt I might find it helpful. And yes, it is helpful to know that so many other women have feelings and have had experiences that are so painfully familiar. Shame is a very lonely feeling. It is the "intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed".

However, I do have a big issue with the fact that she only addresses shame in women - and it is definitely not exclusive to the female sex. Addition
Apr 15, 2008 Tami rated it it was amazing
It seems like the epidemic that no one wants to talk about. We all try to put this perfect face out to the world. Really, I am the perfect mother, my house is completely clean, I am fulfilled in my job, I am financially successful, I am a perfect size two, I have plenty of time to connect on a deeper level with my loving husband, and I have tons of friends who I share my every thought. Well, that's what we think we should be. The truth just doesn't always match our expectations.

The problem is t
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Which Brene Brown book to read first? 2 24 May 10, 2012 08:07PM  
  • The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate
  • Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind
  • This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart
  • One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success
  • The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions
  • Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight
  • Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair
  • Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling
  • Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness
  • The Woman's Comfort Book
  • Self-Esteem: A proven program of cognitive techniques for assessing, improving and maintaining your self-esteem
  • The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life
  • On Being a Therapist
  • There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate
  • Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul
  • Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't
  • Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life
  • Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries
Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Brené is the author of two #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.

Her latest book, Rising Strong will be released on August 25, 2015. In Rising Strong, Brené writes, “If
More about Brené Brown...

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“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” 252 likes
“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!” 172 likes
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