Sara Kay Smullens author of Setting Yourself Free ($14.95, New Horizon Press)

Freedom and Inner Peace, Marriage and family therapist SaraKay Smullens has written a book about a problem she says plagues children and adults of all levels and backgrounds: emotional abuse. Setting Yourself Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendships, Work and Love explains the five common types of emotional abuse (rage, enmeshment, overprotection, abandonment and neglect) and offers advice on how people can put an end to it. Smullens bases her book on her counseling work, and her recommendations are appropriately realistic. In the end, she says, facing reality, no matter how stony its path, is the only path that can free your present and future.

Emotional abuse, like a bad gene, passes from generation to generation in a vicious cycle. It creates sad, angry and fragile children who grow up and perpetuate the cycle as bitter and frustrated adults. But the cycle doesn’t stay within the confines of the family; it infects the emotionally abused adults’ relationships with every person they know, whether a friend, relative, child, coworker, boss or lover. The only way to stop poisoning close ties and keep the toxic behavior from spreading is to break the cycle.

In this long anticipated follow-up to her best-seller Whoever Said Life Is Fair?, SaraKay Smullens empowers men and women to identify the signs of emotional abuse cycles and understand the five major types (rage, enmeshment, extreme overprotection, rejection/abandonment and complete neglect), and offers compassionate, practical advice to destroy the chain. This valuable guide will enable readers to confront painful emotional injuries and put an end to the cycles of emotional abuse that pervade every aspect of victims’ lives setting them free to grasp new opportunities for happiness in love, work, family relationships and friendships.

SaraKay Smullens, a marriage and family therapist in private practice for over twenty years, received her master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. The best-selling author of Whoever Said Life Is Fair?, Smullens is a frequent guest columnist for Philadelphia area newspapers and has appeared on Oprah. The mother of four, she and her husband live in Philadelphia.

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