Cover image for Becoming real : overcoming the stories we tell ourselves that hold us back
Becoming real : overcoming the stories we tell ourselves that hold us back
Saltz, Gail.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Riverhead Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
247 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF637.S4 S245 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Today show's psychiatrist shows readers how to stop living half a life, break old patterns, and take control

You have a story. The one you're not even aware you're telling yourself, the one you made up as a child to explain the behavior of your parents, the lack of control over your circumstances, the one that's keeping you from becoming more confident, the story that's keeping you from the five qualities of becoming real:
Authenticity Personal Freedom True Strength Self-Acceptance Intimacy

Through revealing and intensive questionnaires, Dr. Gail Saltz helps you to finally identify self-defeating behaviors, improve your self-esteem, and escape your personal traps—the same difficult relationships, the same work problems, the same issues with family and friends—so that you can live with more freedom and control once and for all. Identify the symptoms, and you'll be able to discover—and rewrite—the story of your life.

Author Notes

Gail Saltz, M.D., is the mental health contributor to the Today show and is a contributing editor for Glamour magazine. She has appeared on Dateline, on CBS News and the Early Show, and on Fox News and Health News, and has been featured in the Associated Press, The New York Times, the New York Daily News and Post, the Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, Newsweek, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Woman's World, Town & Country, and WebMD

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Saltz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital appears who weekly on the Today show, provides a guide to a kind of narrative unconscious as it affects decision making. The author says that most people live according to stories about care and need that were created in childhood to help them stay attached to and feel safe with adults who often failed to give what was needed emotionally. Saltz finds five major groups of stories about oneself and others, and names them by their distinguishing traits: dependent, super achiever, self-defeater, competitor, perfectionist. Such descriptors, she finds, lodge in the unconscious and result in self-destructive or nonproductive behavior in relationships and at work, as each type (or a combination of several) is used as a shield to fend off emotional stress. To move beyond these early stories to a more satisfying life, Saltz recommends that one clearly articulate the "old story" and its cost to one now, and then "rewrite" it and act accordingly. Although the author's instructions for undergoing this process are specific and clear, this is not a quick fix self-help book, but is based on psychoanalytic technique that will take time and commitment. Agent, Marly Rusoff at Marly Russof & Associates. (May 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1 The Power of What We Don't Knowp. 9
Chapter 2 The Primary Emotional Storiesp. 27
Chapter 3 How Stories Keep Us from Our True Selvesp. 46
Chapter 4 Every Story Creates a Personality Type: Find Yoursp. 61
Chapter 5 When Your Story Defeats Youp. 96
Chapter 6 Turning Pain into Progressp. 114
Chapter 7 Four Steps to Defeating Your Storyp. 141
Chapter 8 Defeating the Dependent Storyp. 155
Chapter 9 Defeating the Superachiever Storyp. 163
Chapter 10 Defeating the Self-Defeater Storyp. 172
Chapter 11 Defeating the Competitor Storyp. 179
Chapter 12 Defeating the Perfectionist Storyp. 188
Chapter 13 Ten Roadblocks to Authenticityp. 198
Chapter 14 Being Realp. 224
Acknowledgmentsp. 239
Indexp. 243