Bad Childhood, Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood

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Overview

Many people fail to understand the ways their histories impact their adult lives, or how their choices in people, repititive situations, and decisions today-even their emotional reactions-are connected to early negative experiences. Dr. Laura will help you realize that no matter what circumstances you came from or now live in, you are ultimately responsible for how you react to them. In her signature straightforward style, with real-life examples. Dr. Laura shows you what you will gain by not being satisfied with...
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Overview

Many people fail to understand the ways their histories impact their adult lives, or how their choices in people, repititive situations, and decisions today-even their emotional reactions-are connected to early negative experiences. Dr. Laura will help you realize that no matter what circumstances you came from or now live in, you are ultimately responsible for how you react to them. In her signature straightforward style, with real-life examples. Dr. Laura shows you what you will gain by not being satisfied with an identity as a victim or even as a survivor-but by striving instead to be a victor! In Bad-Childhood-Good Life, Dr Laura will guide you to a new understanding of your own unique coping style and how it affects your daily thoughts and actions, and help you to embrace a life of more peace and happiness.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
An unhappy childhood can be a damaging experience, but no one needs to be afflicted forever by an unhappy past. Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Bad Childhood, Good Life teaches readers to go beyond ugly childhood dynamics to build a life of optimism, confidence, and growth. With real-life cases, radio's "Dr. Laura" shows how family history can negatively impact adult lives in ways that are often more apparent to outsiders than to ourselves. Therapeutic advice for people stuck in a self-pitying victim mode.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641928314
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/29/2007
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is one of the most popular talk-show hosts in radio history and the only woman to win the prestigious Marconi Award for syndicated radio. She is the author of twelve New York Times bestsellers, writes a daily blog, and is a regular Newsmax columnist. She is heard daily on Sirius/XM Channel 155 live, and her program is streamed and podcast on www.drlaura.com. Dr. Schlessinger has her own YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/drlaura). She is also the skipper and driver of a racing sailboat program that won the 2010 international race from Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas. She and her husband live in Southern California.

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Read an Excerpt

Bad Childhood---Good Life
How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood

Chapter One

To Be or Not to Be . . . a Victim

Even flowers have to grow through dirt.
-Nancy, a listener

Unfortunately, a lot of people are made to suffer as children: beatings, rapes, torture, abandonment, neglect, parental divorce and subsequent remarriage with new or stepchildren to compete with, alcoholic or drug-addicted parent(s), erratic and even dangerous consequences of parental mental illness, browbeatings, parental insensitivity, psychological and emotional assaults, parental affairs, constant family turmoil, molestations, familial violence, single parent by choice or irresponsibility, and so forth. They are definitely victims of self-centered, evil, ignorant, and/or weak adults; and, for me, weakness or ignorance do not excuse the resultant harm.

In the Beginning . . .

More and more, the calls to my radio program are coming from children, children being victimized by their parents. I try, in the short time available to me in a live radio phone conversation, to do something to align that hurting child with something positive to hold onto. Samantha, for example, is a nine-year-old child who called wanting to know how to deal with a mother who won't take care of her and a father who is in and out of jail.

Dr. Laura: Where are you living?

Samantha: I'm living with my grandma.

Dr. Laura: Your grandma? Is your grandpa there, too?

Samantha: Uh-huh.

Dr. Laura: Are you a religious girl?

Samantha: Yes.

Dr.Laura: This is what I suggest you do to deal with it. I suggest that every now and then you pray to God, and say, "God, thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me a grandma and grandpa to take care of me."

Samantha: Okay.

Dr. Laura: Do you understand why I said that?

Samantha: Sort of.

Dr. Laura: In our lives, we are going to have many disappointments. That goes for everybody, Samantha. Everybody. Some disappointments are bigger than others. Having two parents you can't count on is a huge disappointment. Huge. Huge. I understand you being hurt and disappointed and upset and angry and all kinds of stuff. Now, there are two kinds of people in this world. There are the people who have those big disappointments and they spend their lives being sad. And then there are the other people, who go, "It is sad that I have these disappointments, but I am sooo lucky because I have . . ." Samantha, which do you think are the happier people?

Samantha: The people who are sad-but still happy.

Dr. Laura: Yup. That's going to be you, Samantha. That's how you are going to deal with it. You are going to be sad that you can't count on your mommy and daddy, but you are going to be happy because there are people you can count on. And you are going to make a happy life.

Samantha: Okay. Bye. Thank you.

Getting calls like Samantha's, and there are too many, is the worst and best of all worlds. I ache that these children are hurting. I rejoice that they call me and that I can give them a perspective that will hopefully detour them from a life of a victimhood mentality.

Connor, an eleven-year-old boy, is "having a little dad problem." It seems that his mom and dad have been divorced for as long as he could remember (since he was four), and every time he sees his dad and then has to leave, it causes him so much pain.

Connor: I just can't bear to see him leave anymore. Even if that means I can't even see him again.

Dr. Laura: Connor, do you like spaghetti?

Connor: What does that have to do with the topic? [Good question, actually.]

Dr. Laura: Well, do you like spaghetti?

Connor: Yeah, why?

Dr. Laura: Do you like spaghetti and meatballs?

Connor: [getting impatient] Yeah.

Dr. Laura. I love spaghetti and meatballs. It's probably one of my favorite meals. What you are telling me, Connor, is that since I can only have two meatballs, and I can't have the three that I want, that I might just as well not eat any spaghetti and meatballs at all!

Connor: But I just can't take seeing him leave anymore.

Dr. Laura: It's the price you pay. And everything has a price attached to it, Connor. You want to see your dad? The price you have to pay is that it hurts when he goes. But the good part is that you get to see him. I pump iron. I can't say I love to do it, but I do it because it is the price to pay to be healthy and look good. I like having muscles! Everything has a price. For everything you really want, there's something you have to put up with.

Connor: Thank you, Dr. Laura

In speaking to Samantha and Connor, I had the opportunity to reframe a bad situation into a life lesson. Samantha learned about not ignoring the blessings (loving, caretaking grandparents) because of the curses (parental abandonment). Connor learned that life generally exacts a price (like painful goodbyes) for those things that are desired and meaningful (visitation with Dad).

Children need to learn at an early age that these lessons are universal experiences, not just their personal, unique, horrible cross to bear. It is easier for children to cope with difficult, even horrendous situations when they understand and accept that the advice they are getting is truths about life for all time and all people-not just an attempt to manipulate them out of justified hurt or angry feelings. While these are truths about a good life for all people, they are essential lessons for these victimized children.

As children get older, their ability to act out their hurt and anger with drugs, sex, truancy, and violence toward themselves or others becomes a serious concern. That is why it is so desperately important that these youngsters have someone they can turn to and count on. A mentor, family friend . . .

Bad Childhood---Good Life
How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood
. Copyright (c) by Dr. Laura Schlessinger . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     1
To Be or Not to Be...a Victim     17
Moving Toward the Good Life     41
Closure Versus Resilience     69
About Your Parents...     95
How Do I Deal with My Anger, My Resentment, and My Own Crazy Self?     121
Never Seek Love from the Devil     159
How Do I Get Love?     193
The Good Journey     225
Postscript     251
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    This book saved me from myself

    Dr. Laura, has a wonderful way to smack a hardheaded person, such as myself right upside the head to see exactly how thing are. this book i have recommended to many of my friends because she taught me you create what you know and if you have had a bad childhood, then somehow if you don't recognize that has formed you as a person, then you carry it on and create the same atmosphere in your grown up family and YOU don't have too. You can stop the madness yourself and let it go. i didn't realize the man i hated the most growing up (my dad) i had started to become - hence, i started to really hate myself and brought on depression. After reading this book my eyes were open (but i must say you have to be ready to open your eyes) and i have made enormous changes in my life and my family sees it as well.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I wish I had read this book 10 years ago!

    Very useful book that helps you to put past history into perspective and to take the approach of responsibility for your own actions and behaviours. This book helped me to let go of some things that I had been holding on to for many years and to really understand how hurtful (to myself) that displaced anger can be. It's one that I plan to read again in about 6 months to remind myself of the powerful message.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Great book. I wish that I would have read this book years ago.I

    Great book. I wish that I would have read this book years ago.I recommend this book for  all therapist and individuals with bad childhoods. It was a confirmation that I am on the right track. At some point in one's life, you must take responsibility for your own actions. Change happens when we own what is ours and move on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    This book saved my marriage

    This is not a read once book ... I've listened to it four times and am now going through the book and highlighting the lessons I need to practice and live. I hesitated reading this book for years because I felt bad that I would be saying my parents did a crappy job raising me when in fact they both did the best they could with what they new to do. My issues now are mine, not theirs; not my wonderful husbands, not my step children and certainly not my new and old friends. The best thing Dr. Laura said was a bad childhood is not limited to the physically abused, children of addicted parents or victims of sexual assault. It gave me permission for my anger HOWEVER, and most importantly, taught me that my behavior now is my choice and my responsibility to change to make my life as happy as I expected it to be. Thank you Dr. Laura for this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2008

    The Best Counsel Ever on Bad Childhoods

    Over and above the many self-help, psychology, books and methods I have read and studied over many years of interest in such subjects, 'Bad Childhood, Good Life' is the most accurate, real, true and practical assessment I have ever come in contact with. Page after page I would think. 'This is the best thought, or information I have ever heard, I need to share it with ....., it would surely be an answer to their prayers, needs or struggles.' Then I would turn the page and have the very same thoughts at the end of that page. The book, in my opinion, is the absolute ultimate saving grace for many, many wonderful people who will read and practice Dr. Laura's advice.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2006

    Disappointment that Dr. L. wrote so little about herself

    I saw Dr. Laura on Sean Hannity and from his remarks to her and her reaction and responses, I thought this book was more about her. I love to hear her, but this book is a compilation of 'phone calls' and therapy sessions about other people's problems and her guiding wisdom. I was disappointed that only the last chapter - a few pages - was a brief analysis of her relationship with her parents.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2006

    Getting past the past !

    I was the victim of abuse from the ages of 8 to 13. There is not even one present day friend of mine who knows this. Only my family. I have had counseling, and have read various books to heal some wounds that still need healing. Now in my thirties, things are finally getting better. Bad Childhood - Good Life is a book worth reading, and offered some helpful advice. But... In hopes of helping some others who, for one reason or another need help in getting past the past, I am sharing the best book I've read in two years. I 'gambled' last month and purchased a book from a new author. I must say it has helped me more than any of the others. Passengers Side, by John Michael Forosisky. Chapter 11 is called 'letting go'. Something I needed to do. This book showed me how to do it. So buy both, but I think you'll get more from the latter. I've already emailed the author to thank him. But I thought the least I could do would be to give him a plug here, and hopefully help others like me (who may read this) that need an amazing book like Passenger's Side, to help them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    Parents please read

    Im a kid wyo does noy always behave i am a 13 year old hirl who need help i jad just got a phone for the first time on my 13 birth day may 3 and i started talking to boys and mu dad was really mad and took my phome away i doent have a mom he then hit me do i really deserve this i need help on how not to be bad or get in trouble I NEED HELP PLZ ANSWER :,(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2009

    Worth reading if you or someone you know has had a bad childhood.

    I'm not a fan of Dr. Laura. I think that she has a lot right but also some wrong. However, this book rang with a lot of truth! I know this from dealing with those that have had bad childhoods and her advice was pratical, helpful and stright forward. I would highly recommend it.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    Great book for finally letting go.

    This is a wonderful book, that changed the way I viewed my past, and helped me come to terms with and understand many things.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    It's a Choice...

    This book was exactly what I needed right now this moment in my life. Actually, I could have used it a decade or two ago! I have been at a crossroads for most of my adult life and I am 44-years-old now...I'm not sure why I couldn't just let go of my childhood and move on. I just want what we all want - to be happy. This book tells about many different people and how Dr. Laura helped them to become aware of their choices. That is what it all boils down to - choices - and making the right ones for yourself. I could relate to so much in this book. It truly changed my life and is allowing me to finally let go of my past and say good-bye to my family - something I have needed to do my whole life. I am buying this book for my brother and also my adult daughter, so she can better understand why I am doing what I am doing. I may even buy one for mother dearest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2006

    A Mediocre Portrait of Life

    This is a so-so book. I think Dr. Laura is way too preachy without showing why. I do not think this is her best book. I bought it for my Mom and then read it and thought 'now that was a waste of money'. I do not believe it contains anything pithy at all. Reactions are not meaningful unless backed up by truths.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    Becoming a better Parent

    Readers interested in this book might also be interested in Lisa Dunning's book: 'Good Parents Bad Parenting-How to Parent Together When Your Parenting Styles are Worlds Apart.'

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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