I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional by Wendy Kaminer
Ok..this was another one I so poorly judged by the cover. I was judgmental and classified this one as a book I was “dreading to read”. I was pleasantly surprised by the author’s wonderful style of writing, the informative facts of the book, and even what the book was about. I assumed since it was in the self-help section of the library that it was a “how to save yourself” kind of book. Boy, was I ever wrong! The author Wendy Kaminer is a political writer..so she is probably used to being pegged as a controversial author who attacks with sheer passion whatever she fixates her educational studies on. The fact that she tore apart something so HUGE in our culture gave her props in my book. Kaminer walks into the self-help and 12 step program industry armed with weapons of insight and skeptics and I LOVE IT. I am for one…a HUGE fan of self-help books and have thrown down my share of twenties for books at the store. I adore that this book questioned why everyone is being labeled as an addict or codependent. It really makes you think of the million dollar market for these kinds of books. I found myself writing down the quotes the author used as examples of silliness from these so-called self-help books because I enjoyed them so much. I guess I am just a sucker for new age psycho-pop healing like Wendy Kaminer assumed. Overall, it was a good read till about the last 2 chapters where it fell flat…and abruptly. I would recommend this book for anyone studying psychology though as it did offer some interesting insights into our culture's obsession with self-help and labels.
“Codependency is advertised as a national epidemic, partly because every conceivable form of arguably compulsive behavior is classified as an addiction. We are a nation of sexaholics, rageholics, shopaholics, and rushaholics. What were once billed as bad habits and dilemmas – Cinderella and Peter Pan complexes, smart women loving too much and making foolish choices about men who hate them- are now considered addictions too, or reactions to addictions to others, or both. Like drug and alcohol abuse, they are considered codependent diseases. If the self-help industry is any measure of our state of mind in the 1990’s, we are indeed obsessed with disease and our capacity to defeat it. All codependency books stress the curative power of faith, introspection, and abstinence. It’s morning after in America. We want to be in recovery.”
“Inner child theory is an equally eclectic blend of Jung, New Age mysticism. Holy child mythology, pop psychology, and psychoanalytic theories about narcissism and the creation of a false self that wears emotions without experiencing them.”
“Demanding self-surrender, the recovery movement is essentially religious, non-psychotherapeutic, and most closely resembles nineteenth-century revivalism, with a little Christian Science thrown in. “
WISE OWL INDEX: 2