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It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion
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It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  142 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Shame is one of the most destructive of human emotions. If you suffered childhood physical or sexual abuse, you may experience such intense feelings of shame that it almost seems to define you as a person. In order to begin healing, it’s important for you to know that it wasn’t your fault. In this gentle guide, therapist and childhood abuse expert Beverly Engel presents a ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 2nd 2015 by New Harbinger Publications
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Shauna Durbin
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am having a hard time reviewing this book because of the fact I have such mixed emotions about it. Engel's book brought to light a lot of issues I had been stuffing from childhood. It helped me to understand on a deeper level how traumatizing my childhood was in certain aspects.

But, on the other hand Beverly's book is also supremely compassionate. She guides the reader in a series of helpful exercises to help you become more aware of, and more forgiving toward yourself. It was recommended to
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I sincerely hope you never need to read a book like this, but if you do, or you're the collection developer in the Rs at your library, I would add this to your TBR/order list. It's a deceptively slim volume, but it's got a lot of practical wisdom packed into it. Best of all, it's not pink and it doesn't have rainbows on the cover, as many books in this particular oeuvre tend to. It is, however, a gentle break-it-down overview of how you or someone you love can get over whatever it is you need to ...more
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book, even speaking as someone who has practiced most of the techniques over the years, between therapy, teaching yoga, and mindfulness meditation.

It helped me fill in an important element, however: compassion. I haven't been giving myself nearly enough of this. I'm pretty on top of knowing why I react to things certain ways, and have learned through diligent effort to acknowledge and process my emotions. And even - the hardest! - to ask for help when I hit the wall of deali
Paige P
We are not born with shame, it happens to us. Shame is a deep feeling of being inadequate, not measuring up, or not being enough. It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion by Beverly Engel is the most comprehensive and helpful book with research references that I have read on the subject of shame. Engel is a therapist who has worked with abuse victims, has a personal history of abuse and has suffered the effects of shame herself. E ...more
Travel Writing
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone
Shame is the topic du jour in the self help circles lately.

Beverly Engel's work on shame is so practical, so grounded and offers actual exercises to work with.

That is one of the things I find so wonderful about her work- how practical she is and how unflinching she is about the hard stuff.

She has this innate ability to write so simply, yet each of her books is so dense with healing and support and information. She writes about heavy, hard stuff and is able to connect without the reader with ou
Angie Westbrook
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. It helps you to understand how you feel and how to over come. This book has helped me. I hope it will help you know that you are not alone and there is help.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A necessary read for people who've faced abuse. It comes with trigger warnings too.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
It Wasn't Your Fault by Beverly Engel, LMFT
Freeing Yourself from Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion


Received digital copy from NetGalley for review.
How shame affects victims of childhood abuse

"Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself."
~Anais Nin

The author is a counselor who develops the effective, Compassion Cure program, based on her own experience with childhood abuse. She describes the feelings of guilt and shame which feed the PTSD most people feel. Through her pro
Nathan Albright
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge
It would be a lot easier to wholeheartedly recommend this book if the author had not felt it necessary to connect self-compassion with a focus on promoting aspects of Buddhism [1]. The Golden Rule tells us to love others as we love ourselves, not because we think others are exactly like us, but because we believe that as their own people they deserve to be respected as the same sort of beings we are. Yet survivors of abuse (this book, quite intentionally, speaks of victims, as a way of divorcing ...more
Tammy Hastings
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads-wins
I received this book through goodreads giveaways and gave it to my daughter. Here is her review:

It took me a while to read it since my books-to-read list is getting longer and longer. But it was a very good book. Luckily, I came from a great family and was never abused, but I wanted this book for my son, who is adopted and came from a very abusive home before he entered mine. This book really gave me some insights into his psyche and some of the things he has gone through. It helped me open a di
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This is a great first book for adult survivors of abuse who are ready to look in detail at what happened, how it affects them now and how to heal from it. I found it very helpful.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won "It Wasn't Your Fault" on Goodreads First Reads. This is a very good book, full of useful advice.
Dianna Lyn
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent for healing
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, this is a 3-Star book with 5-Star content.

I bought this book after I came across an article she’d written that really hit home with me. It takes forever to start, as she spends what feels like an eternity advertising her “compassion cure” program in an almost infomercial-y way like it’s some sort of seminar she’s trying to sell (which is especially confusing because it made me wonder why I’d purchased the book in the first place if it was just going to be pure marketing spiel and no m
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-betterment
My counselor lent me this book to work through in conjunction with our sessions. While not everything in this book was applicable to me and my situation, there was so much that I took away from it. I tried to do most of the exercises throughout the book and will definitely be incorporating some of them into my everyday life. This is a really good book for learning how to lessen the inner critic so prevalent for those who experienced abuse or neglect and help replace it with self-compassion and s ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I began reading the book because I was thought it would be useful information for recognizing behaviors of people that have been abused and to learn tools for being supportive to people that have been abused. That purpose was certainly accomplished. However, what was profound for me was to see that there is evidence that many or most of us carry some form of childhood wounds that we have not consciously been aware of. It explained some of my own behaviors and became a book that facilitated my ow ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is simply a lifesaver for those trying to make sense of abuse and trauma from childhood. This book will help you journal, meditate and take a journey into your childhood to assign proper blame and have compassion all at the same time. This book may make you angry at your circumstances surrounding your upbringing but will finish with a soft heart and a complete understanding of how you can overcome the shame you've felt all this time. It's a wonderful gift to all victims/survivors.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Really helped me see something my therapist was talking about how my feelings of shame aren't my own. Especially resonated with the stories of suffering from lifelong depression and nothing healing it until I started digging into why I believe I don't deserve to be happy or feel broken. Nice primer on shame and how positive self-talk (which I used to cringe at) really does help.
This is a great book for someone who has been abused but also for those who have not been. This book talks about self compassion..and quieting the harsh inner critic that many of us have, among other things. I know I've developed issues just from my peers growing up as well as relationships..I think some of these exercises are quite beneficial.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
This book is so important in realizing how certain behavior, i.e. addictions, self-destructive behavior, .. can be the effect of an abusive childhood, and in learning to look at it from a place of compassion rather than shame. It also made me more aware of my inner critic, and I finally began creating a nurturing, loving voice.

Now every time I hear a story of someone feeling bad about their low self-esteem, I want to shove this book under his/her face, in the hope it will be as much helpful to t
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly helpful for adults with constant feelings of embarrassment, worthlessness and self-hatred, stemming from messages they received in childhood.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Whew! This one covers some serious subject matter. Not exactly what I expected, or needed. But mz. Engel always has words of wisdom for everyone in all of her books.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am struggling to rate this book but am trying to review it for what it is rather than what I wanted to be. Also, it's written by Beverly Engel and I have a bias to like her books...

For me, 'It Wasn't Your Fault' is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, and likely closer to a 3, but I have rounded up for the above reasons.

The book is a solid resource about abuse and the impacts that various types of abuse have on an individual. Written in Engel's typical informative and compassionate voice the book
Jul 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

This book would be useful for those who have been abused and have also been the abuser. For me, and I imagine for other people who were abused as children, but have not abused others, this book is very triggering. It makes it confusing and even harder to feel justified in one's anger towards the abuser; anger which is necessary to feel in the progress of healing. The author also writes that she has the cure, the "Compassion Cure". Anyone claiming to have a cure inevitably, in my opinion, r
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that it took me a very long time to read this book. There is nothing wrong with the book but it is one that I needed to read very slowly and thoroughly so I could make good use of the valuable advice in it. As it is, I originally was reading this as an advance copy courtesy of Netgalley but I ended up buying it as this book is one that I will keep coming back to. It is not one to read once and forget. Everyone has pain from their childhood and I found the advice here given very c ...more
❄Elsa Frost❄
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I finished doing all of the exercises in this book recently--the exercises really got me to realize how my life experiences are connected. They seem like simplistic exercises, but they truly made me understand why I feel the way I feel--and how all of my life experiences connect to my longheld beliefs about myself.

I'd definitely recommend this to any survivors of any type of abuse, even if the abuse wasn't done during childhood.
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book with clients and it's an excellent way to normalize all the feelings and thoughts that can results from childhood abuse. Engel writes a book that is accessible to the professional and the layperson. Easy to understand and very relevant. Give this book to your clients, or read this if you've been abused as a child (of if you're not sure if you've been abused). I highly recommend this well-written and insightful book.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5 stars simply because it has brought tremendous healing on my journey.
rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2018
miss c gardiner
rated it it was ok
Mar 16, 2018
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Beverly Engel has been a psychotherapist for thirty years, specializing in the areas of abuse recovery, relationships, women’s issues and sexuality. She is also the best-selling author of 20 self-help books, many of which have been featured on national television and radio programs (Oprah, CNN, Ricki Lake, Starting Over) as well as national print media (O Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journa ...more

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