Unraveling Decades of Abuse

This is an interesting and unsolicited endorsement I just received from someone who I think has been reading one of my books, probably Feeling Good.

Dear Dr. Burns,

Amazing book!!!! You are helping me unravel decades of abuse and realistically–no fake positivity mantra….!!!

I think my biggest problem is attracting toxic people and breaking up with them, and then going back to them.

I think your book will help me love myself and stop needing approval from people that are no good for me.


Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your kind words! I’m so sorry you’ve had to tolerate decades of abuse. It sounds like you’ve been through a tremendous amount of unhappiness and suffering. And I’m so glad you’re bouncing back now! That’s super cool!

I’m absolutely with you on the “fake positivity” stuff. That has always annoyed me tremendously, so we’re on the same page for sure. When you try to cheer someone up who’s depressed, it nearly always comes across as patronizing. It sounds like you’re trivializing what the person is experiencing. True healing requires therapist compassion, empathy and skill, and not silly “affirmations.”

I also agree strongly with your comments about self-love. You are 100% right–once you love yourself and no longer “need” love and approval from others, the world can kind of open up for you. Although I talk about this in the chapters on the Love Addiction and the Approval Addiction in Feeling Good, it is one of the main themes of my book, Intimate Connections. Intimate Connections is all about the dating game, and the power dynamic that so many lonely single folks don’t understand. That book will show you how to get people chasing after you so you don’t have to chase them, so you’ll have a large supply of people to date. However, that book, sadly, doesn’t really show you how to develop a deep and meaningful relationship once you’ve found someone who you really care about and want to get close to. For that, you’ll have to read my book, Feeling Good Together!

Mmmm, this sounds like I’m doing an infomercial. I apologize. But I wanted to let you know of other resources that might further your cause.

One of the great things about the cognitive model of trauma is the basic idea that our thoughts create our moods. This idea goes all the way back to the Greek philosopher, Epictetus. Nearly 2,000 years ago he wrote that people are disturbed, not by things, but by the views they take of them. This can be extremely liberating to individuals who have been victims of trauma. That’s because the trauma actually occurred, and in most cases, cannot be undone. However, we CAN change the way we think about the trauma. Once you crush the distorted negative thought that trigger your depression, shame, anxiety, hopelessness, and anger, you can develop joy, confidence, and self-esteem once again. And often, this transformation can take place rapidly. In my experience, effective treatment usually does not require months or years of treatment, although many therapists do not believe this and find the notion of high speed recovery to be quackery or impossible.

To learn more about the high speed treatment of trauma, you might also want to read my blog on this topic. If you are interested, you can CLICK HERE.

All the best, David