His tack is extremely alarmist and he does not site specific facts but rather will reference other authors premises as opposed to referencing their research.
Bradshaw's systematic description of what he calls "the poisonous pedagogy" found in some dysfunctional families allowed me to survey my own experiences thoroughly and find where I could make choices differently as I moved through an interesting divorce.
When I was reading it, I was shocked several times that how could a book know me that well. Also several times I wanna share the thoughts in this book with my friends and family.
Regardless of the fact that he tends to deal with more substance abuse, anyone who suffered emotional abuse as well will find a great deal of relief from reading this book.
If you want to end the toxic patterns in your life (codependency, substance abuse etc.), this is a great book to read.
If you want to help yourself and help your friends and loved ones, summon whatever it takes for you to read this book. I had a female friend who told me for years that she had a happy childhood, that she loved her parents. Years pass, she divorces the husband her parents forced her to marry, because she was pregnant with another mans' child. Every time I encouraged her to read this book or something like it, she claimed she had a happy childhood. Meanwhile, before that, she divorced the abusive husband, went back into the workforce and eventually started drinking due to work stress, and became an alcoholic. She went to the therapist eventually, and learned to say "no" to her parents, and thought she was all better. Meanwhile she met the love of her life, and blossomed, traveled for the first time, had her first orgasm (she told me) and became a much happier person...except...when stress caused her to lean on the bottle. She read this book, and Bradshaw's "Homecoming," about healing the inner child and the wounds of early life and such abuse, trauma and dysfunction. What you resist, in getting to the bottom of your early life conditioning -- and as a famous artist once said "I found childhood particularly difficult, it made me very sensitive, it wasn't anything my family did, my parents are wonderful, it was the society, the kids around me etc." And another brilliant artist said "It is very difficult to be both highly intelligent and highly emotional (from an abusive childhood), one uses the intelligence to navigate the emotions, but eventually, without education, therapy and the learning of self regulation techniques like meditations for down regulating negative emotions, and skills for navigating social live, conflict resolution, conscious honesty, kindness and gentleness to others...there are many pot holes and troubles one can fall into in life." Mt beliefs can be discerned by the above. The people I have met who had adverse childhoods, that have done the best, are the ones who for some reason are either desperate, or able to be intelligent enough to embrace the information such as this book and others about early life development, and then find and learn the skills to navigate and act successfully as an adult. And what this book is pointing out and educating people to is that how that little neonate is treated (we now have evidence that a fetus can feel his mothers experience/feelings at age 6 months in the womb, so the imprints start then) will absolutely have an effect on personality development, ability for contentment in life, core values, and the emotional baseline state of the human as they come of age. People who dismiss the important information in this book, after reading Ten Pages etc., are a sad joke. Yes, there are still light witted folk who want to attack the idea that we are influenced by our parents and siblings and that we are born with a fully formed personality and emotional traits etc. Bradshaw has owned that his southern accent, and his passion seems angry sometimes when he presented on TV, and he has apologized for that, that part of his conditioning, and urged those who or whose family members need help or recovery...to embrace the information whether it is from his work, or another author on the same topics / theory. To wit, there is a Renaissance of new authors, books and information on family systems theory and therapeutic practice in the non-USA Anglosphere. Sadly, if you cannot get into this book, or these ideas and theories, and understand them...it says more about your level of intellectual development than the work itself does. If ever there were a logical place to start to understand how we turned out they way we have...it would be the family unit, where we spent the most time being cared for or not, loved or not, where we received the majority of our early life treatment from others, and spent most of our time.
The first few chapters of this book were kind of boring--basically the background of this guy's theory and talking about what a healthy family would look like. The author made a horrible acrostic from the letters of "Adult children of alcoholics," and almost every single trait applies to me, or did apply to me until I worked really hard in therapy to change it. I never dreamed that they were characteristics common to adults who as children lived in alcoholic families." (p.98) Since nobody in my immediate family drinks regularly, I would be really confused right now if I hadn't already read a good bit about codependency. p. 185 "As the definition of addiction was expanded to include the wider range of addictions (activities, feelings, thoughts), the awareness dawned on observers that any type of dysfunctional family exhibits the same co-dependent structure." (emphasis the author's) It's like Tolstoy said: all happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is codependent. Hm. I was mostly looking forward to the last part of the book, which is about how to get better, but I was immensely disappointed that the solution was basically: join a 12-step program, get therapy, join a group of some sort, and get a spiritual life.
He created and hosted four nationally broadcast PBS television series based on his best-selling books.