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5 Books That Changed My Life

Updated on February 28, 2019
Jessica Beasley profile image

As a product of a dysfunctional family, I find fulfillment in sharing my personal heartache to help others going through difficult times.

I'm going to be completely honest; I was never much of a reader. I could never understand as a kid how one could prefer a book over a movie and getting sent home with a summer reading book was my definition of misery. I felt very isolated in that notion most of my life. As an adult, I was never one of those women who could get lost in a romance novel while at the beach. I still have't read fifty shades but i have found myself reading more and have found my niche.

A few years ago, I went through some really difficult family issues and found solace in some self-help books. Since then, I have haven't ventured out much but I do read much more than I did. Here are 5 books that turned me into a reader and how they changed my life.

I bought this book about 4 years ago when I was struggling to set personal boundaries with my immediate family. I was so deep in that I didn't even know what that problem actually was for a long time. I simply didn't know what to do and i getting to the end of my rope. I was driving home from work one night and listening to the Delilah show on the radio. There was a woman that called into the show with a problem that sounded similar to mine. Delilah recommended this book to her and I made a note of it in my phone and bought it some time later. When I received the book in the mail, the time wasn't right and i put it away for a time when i would be able to absorb the information. That time came a year or two later in the midst of yet another family "crisis" that needed my attention. I pulled this book out and I could hardly put it down. It gives "clinical" information, as well as information that has a religious undertone. Because sometimes as Christians, we overextend ourselves. Or is can speak to the non-religious person because often we simply want to be good people. Even if you're not a particularly religious person, it can easily be glazed over and looked at for just the information it provides. It addresses all the human concerns with the idea we can be good people and say no. I just passed it onto a friend in need of it. This book was monumental in helping me finally let go of the need to say yes to everything and everyone.

2. "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life" by Dr. Susan Forward with Craig Buck

I bought this book at the same time I bought "Boundaries", however, this was the first one that I actually read. I had issues with my mom being an alcoholic when I was growing up and my dad and I developed various problems after I was grown. This book was the first step in me trying to help myself in a way that I hadn't before. The first half of the book is compiled of people's different parental issues and that was really my favorite part of the book. It was such a relief after so many years to realize that my problem with both of my parents was so common that there was a book about it. The second half of the book gives you the tools needed for you to leave that all behind.

3. "Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You" by Susan Forward with Donna Frazier

This book came to me at the perfect time. I spent a lot of my life being manipulated by my family and it came to a breaking point with my dad a couple years ago (although my mother and drug addicted brother were master manipulators too). Once I truly became aware that I was being manipulated, this book was a must and a great next step in getting my life and my sanity back. I was in a bad place one night and I had just received the book and it was sitting on my coffee table. I opened the book to some random page and it addressed the exact issue I was having at that moment. I took it as a sign that I had found a gem and a trusted companion in this book during this turbulent time. If you suspect you're being manipulated by anybody and it's wearing you down, read this book.

4. "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less: 101 Stories about Having More by Simplifying Our Lives" by Amy Newmark & Brooke Burke-Charvet

Since early 2018, i have been on a personal crusade to use and appreciate what i already have. I have been buying less not out of a place of lack, but from a place of abundance. If I can't appreciate what i already have and use what I have, how can I welcome more blessings into my life? This isn't just a material journey, but a spiritual journey as well. By now, most of us have already read at least one or two of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. This one is by far my favorite. If you're learning to live with less, either on purpose or due to circumstances beyond your control, treat yourself to this book.

5. "Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself" by Melody Beattie

As the daughter of alcoholic parents and sister to a former addict, I have witnessed a lot of codependency in my family dynamic and in myself. A lot of us are currently codependent or have been at some point in our lives. This book was a great read because Melody writes it from a place of first hand experience and not just clinical experience. In the book she tells you her own experience, as well as, other people's experience and it will echo what you are going though if you suspect you are stuck in codependency. That in and of itself helps so much. She then goes on to help you find your own way out of it. Sometimes with a lot of these types of problems, we simply need permission to allow ourselves to think differently and know it's okay to live. After reading this myself, i passed this book onto a friend. She read it thinking she had a codependent relationship with one person and realized she in fact had a codependent relationship with someone else. She then passed it onto a friend of hers who has a brother who is an extreme alcoholic.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jess B

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    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      14 months ago from U.S.A.

      Jessica, my dog was jumping on my keyboard: That sentence should read: Reading does something for the brain which is not duplicated by any other activity. Thanks. - Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      14 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Jessica,

      These are great books. Interestingly enough, research has shown that reading printed books acutally does something for the brain which is duplicated by any other activities. I particularly like the fact that you read Chicken Soup for the Soul, it is a wonderful book, and many of the thoughts and ideas are similarly expressed in certain religious faiths.

      You are a superb writer and creative person who has given others some fabulous materials they can explore for their own lives.

      Thanks a lot.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

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