Recommended Reading: Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker

Synopsis

This book is a practical, user-friendly self-help guide to recovering from the lingering effects of childhood trauma, and to achieving a rich and fulfilling life. It is copiously illustrated with examples of my own and my clients’ journeys of recovering. This book is also for those who do not have Cptsd but want to understand and help a loved one who does.

This book also contains an overview of the tasks of recovering and a great many practical tools and techniques for recovering from childhood trauma. It extensively elaborates on all the recovery concepts explained on my website, and many more. However, unlike the articles on my website, it is oriented toward the layperson. As such, much of the psychological jargon and dense concentration of concepts in the website articles has been replaced with expanded and easier to follow explanations. Moreover, many principles that were only sketched out in the articles are explained in much greater detail. A great deal of new material is also explored.

Key concepts of the book include managing emotional flashbacks, understanding the four different types of trauma survivors, differentiating the outer critic from the inner critic, healing the abandonment depression that come from emotional abandonment and self-abandonment, self-reparenting and reparenting by committee, and deconstructing the hierarchy of self-injuring responses that childhood trauma forces survivors to adopt.

The book also functions as a map to help you understand the somewhat linear progression of recovery, to help you identify what you have already accomplished, and to help you figure out what is best to work on and prioritize now. This in turn also serves to help you identify the signs of your recovery and to develop reasonable expectations about the rate of your recovery.

I hope this map will guide you to heal in a way that helps you to become an unflinching source of kindness and self-compassion for yourself, and that out of that journey you will find at least one other human being who will reciprocally love you well enough in that way.


Review

I can’t stop raving about this book. I think it’s wonderful and everyone should read it at some point in their lives. This book primarily focuses on cPTSD from childhood trauma (e.g. being brought up in an abusive household). But I think everyone can benefit from reading this book as it highlights just how our past relationships can affect the relationships we make with others today, and, more importantly, the relationship with yourself.

If you have ever called yourself your own worst critic or been remonstrated for being too hard on yourself, this book can absolutely get you on your way to being kinder to yourself. It might also help you understand the people around you – there were so many times when I read this book and it reminded me of people I used to know.

So while this book does primarily focus on childhood abuse, I think it can be applied to anyone in any position, and especially those who suffer from emotional flashbacks. There are some very useful toolboxes towards the end of the book that I have distributed to my closest friends as they could be helpful to anyone in any position, cPTSD or otherwise. For example, there’s a section on lovingly resolving conflict which I think everyone who has close friends or relationships should read, and a section on flashback management which can be helpful for those who experience flashbacks and those who know people who do.

There were some bits I took with a pinch of salt, but everyone’s experience of life is very different, and the author speaks from his own experience and that of his clients. All in all, thoroughly recommend this book to everyone – if you have anything you would like to know before committing to purchasing this book, I’ll be more than happy to discuss! I can honestly say I have never been so in love with a book as I have this one. The only type of person it might not suit is the person in early recovery whose wounds may be too tender, but that’s just my opinion.

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