THE SHOULDING: A Story of Resilience and Hope is my journey from being a child-abuse and domestic-abuse survivor to the happy, healthy person I am today. Each chapter takes the reader through the events of my dysfunctional relationships and how that dysfunction impacted every aspect of my life. I suffered through agoraphobia, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. At age fifty-one I got the final piece of the puzzle that set me free and led me to emotional and mental health.
I was raised in a middle-class Jewish home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. No one had any idea what was going on behind closed doors. Honestly, I don't think I understood the gravity of what was happening. I just thought everyone got beaten up at home. I have spent years in therapy trying to understand my life. I can proudly say that agoraphobia is no longer an issue. My anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder are minimal so I believe I have won the battle.
Writing my autobiography/memoir was daunting to say the least. My writing style is conversational, as if I'm having coffee with my reader. I think with my relaxed writing style and the humor I include, which is my greatest coping skill, I hope that the reader will understand their own similar circumstances and maybe even try some of the things that have helped me through some of the toughest parts of my life. For me, the goal of THE SHOULDING: A Story of Resilience and Hope is to help others.
This new book by Roberta Brown is breathtakingly authentic and honest. She describes how she spent many years driven by the power of SHOULD--doing what she thought she should do to please narcissistic family and romantic partners--and the negative effects that had on her. She writes about very difficult and very personal things, and still manages explain the situations and many, many examples of abuse without pointing fingers of blame. She describes how she thought that her experience was what all families were like behind closed doors in a way that is almost heart-breaking. Roberta came to a place where she recognized and owned the SHOULDS, and she brings a mindfulness to them that allowed her to climb out of the pit of narcissism and abuse that shaped her life for so many years. Reading this, you can't help but feel empathy for what she has experienced, and elation that she managed to grow to a healthy place. Roberta writes in a style that is very easy to read. The book went by quickly for me--I couldn't put it down once I had started. I wanted to know what else happened, and what happened next, and how she dealt with these things she experienced. I was engrossed the whole time. Highly recommended; especially for people wrestling with relationships that just don't feel right, and for people searching for what healthy relationships ought to be.