Running on Empty
Jonice Webb

I came across this book as a result of a recent conversation with my Dad in which he shared how illuminating he was finding it as it came to making sense of some of his upbringing. As a continual student of many things, emotional and relational health being one of them, I thought it would be worth the read for sure.

In this book, Webb zeros in on an aspect of her clinical practice that she says she often encounters but is not a central part of most counseling conversations: Emotional Neglect. Webb defines emotional neglect as what your parents didn't give you; not the mistakes they made by doing the wrong things, but the absences they left and the resulting holes in our emotional being and identity. She spends the first half of the book helping the reader examine their own life–first giving twelve different parenting scenarios that can wind up with emotional neglect, then ten symptoms that people with emotional neglect often carry. The second half of the book is given to healing and recovery, and I found it quite good. The chapter she has in which she paints a picture of self-care and how it works may be the best I've read on that particular subject.

The book reads easily due both to Webb's writing style, as well as the vignettes she has intentionally sprinkled throughout to make it accessible. She's got great insights here and it's a great book that will help any reader engage with whatever degree of your own emotional neglect you have experienced and what moving past it looks like.

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