Cover image for When misery is company : ending self-sabotage and become content
When misery is company : ending self-sabotage and become content
Katherine, Anne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Center City, Minn. : Hazelden, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 287 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC455.4.S43 K38 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This book offers solutions to anyone who has felt victimized, ostracized or left behind by life.

Surprising as it may sound, many people take comfort in their own misery. Feeling too good for too long (or even feeling good at all) can be scary for people, explains Anne Katherine. "Achievement creates anxiety. Intimacy leads to fear. Happiness produces uneasiness. Pleasure causes pain. The solution to this dilemma: what feels good has to be stopped. I call this an addiction to misery." Katherine's fascination and perspective book provides immediate assistance to those people who think they might be making choices that keep them at a "carefully calibrated level of existence--beneath bliss and above despair."

Author Notes

Anne Katherine, M.A., is a psychotherapist, licensed mental health counselor



from Chapter 1 Can This Book Really Help? Carrie left me a message. ôIÆm scared. My new office was finished yesterday, so I moved into it today. ItÆs really beautiful, with a view of the shipsÆ canal. My new boss likes me a lot. This morning she asked me to join some of the managers at an informal dinner at her home tonight. I accepted and got directions. ôI hadnÆt eaten breakfast and then I worked through lunch. After work, I went into the ladiesÆ room and looked at myself and I thought, How could anyone believe in me? IÆm gross looking. My clothes are all wrong. ôSo I putzed around, arranging my office, and lost track of the time and left fifteen minutes late. And then I got stuck behind a school bus. So I got to her place thirty minutes late. And then I saw the house she lives in. ItÆs huge. ItÆs elegant. What was I doing there? ôAnd all the cars were there already. Nobody was still arriving. I sat outside for an hour and I couldnÆt make myself go in. So I finally just left. I went to a restaurant and ate about three meals. Then I came home. ôIÆm not good enough for this kind of job. I was afraid I would do some stupid thing if I went inside and that everyone would hate me. And that sheÆd think she made a big mistake hiring me.ö I closed my eyes as I heard this because I could see the series of actions and nonactions that became a cascade of self-sabotage for Carrie. I could tell she wasnÆt seeing how her failure to show up would come across to her boss. In the state she was in, she couldnÆt imagine what would be happening inside the houseùher boss and the managers waiting for her, delaying dinner, wondering and worrying, then waiting for an explanatory phone call. SheÆd gotten lost in a tunnel in her head and saw everything from inside out. At first it seemed to me that the triggerùthe first event that started her slideùwas seeing herself in the ladiesÆ room mirror. But her anxiety had been brewing before that. Her fancy new office scared her. Her bossÆs appreciation scared her. Even her own thoughts scared herùwhat if she couldnÆt measure up? The invitation to be a member of the inner circle may have been the final straw. So much bounty so soon in her new job led her to fear that she might not rise to othersÆ expectations. This fear caused her to see herself as unattractive when she looked in the mirror. Carrie had already put herself in danger of not thinking clearly by skipping breakfast and lunch. Then she made a series of decisionsùor, rather, failed to make decisionsùthat could have led to a better outcome. She putzed instead of thinking about how to get ready, didnÆt set an alarm in order to get out of the office on time, and didnÆt call a therapy group member to get help with her anxiety and decisions. By not acting in an effective way, she allowed the internal avalanche to build. By the time she was sitting outside her bossÆs elegant home, she was in too deep. She had been swallowed by her anxiety and c Excerpted from When Misery Is Company: End Self-Sabotage and Become Content by Anne Katherine, Anne Katherine, MA All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Part 1 Understanding the Problem
Chapter 1 Can This Book Really Help?p. 3
Chapter 2 The Paradoxp. 11
Chapter 3 What's the Use?p. 19
Chapter 4 Tiltp. 25
Chapter 5 The Horns of the Dilemmap. 29
Chapter 6 Yes or No?p. 31
Chapter 7 Don't Push Mep. 39
Chapter 8 Isolation and Pseudo-Intimacyp. 45
Chapter 9 Sacrifice and the Systemp. 53
Chapter 10 Mom, Dad, and Angerp. 63
Chapter 11 Protecting Mom (or Dad)p. 69
Chapter 12 Body Hatep. 73
Chapter 13 Double Troublep. 77
Chapter 14 Stoppedp. 81
Chapter 15 The Tie That Unravelsp. 87
Chapter 16 Evicting a Source of Goodp. 105
Chapter 17 Self-Sabotagep. 109
Chapter 18 Symptomsp. 117
Part 2 Finding and Living the Solution
Chapter 19 A Look in the Mirrorp. 135
Chapter 20 Recoveryp. 139
Chapter 21 Allergic to Progress--The Misery Addict's Dilemmap. 149
Chapter 22 Step Onep. 163
Chapter 23 The Next Stepsp. 167
Chapter 24 Recovery Meetingsp. 173
Chapter 25 Abstinencep. 179
Chapter 26 Now That I'm Recovering I'm Feeling Stuffp. 199
Chapter 27 Toolshedp. 215
Chapter 28 Brain Healingp. 231
Chapter 29 Therapyp. 239
Chapter 30 Making It Last or Avoiding Relapsep. 243
Chapter 31 Is It Really an Addiction?p. 249
Chapter 32 Make a Commitment to Yourselfp. 253
Appendix A MAA Meeting Informationp. 259
Appendix B Author Letter to Therapistsp. 269
Appendix C Resourcesp. 271
Appendix D Notesp. 273
Appendix E Referencesp. 277
Indexp. 279
About the Authorp. 287