The following books had a profound influence on me and have become invaluable relationship resources. Some you can listen to once on Audible. Others you’ll want to buy, highlight, loan out, re-read and keep forever.
Facing Love Addiction
Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love
This book saved my life. I read it in a few days then immediately got a group of close friends to meet every week to go through it together. I’ve since re-read and referenced it countless times. It’s actually within arm’s reach as I write this. If you are a love addict OR a love avoidant, this is your bible. Get it. Post haste.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex & Life
This is the only book I’ve ever sat down with and literally read the entire thing in one sitting! Although, I did have to go back later to work on the writing exercises. Technically, it’s written for men, but I think anyone who identifies as a people-pleaser would benefit from reading it. *Spoiler Alert* people-pleasing is a fundamentally dishonest way of living.
The 5 Love Languages
How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
I used to think that everyone experiences love the same way I do. I was very wrong and I paid for that presumption repeatedly. This book made me realize for the first time that loving someone is a skill to be cultivated. Saying “I love you” means nothing if you can’t show it. This book is like “Love 101.” Highly recommend it.
Running on Empty
Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
This book blew my whole mind. Do you struggle with self-care, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-awareness, self-hate, self-confidence, accurate self-appraisal, anger, guilt, shame, counter-dependence or emptiness? Get your hands on this book NOW! Running on Empty is revolutionary. No exaggeration.
Getting the Love You Want
A Guide for Couples
Not just for couples! This book is a tremendous resource for understanding where your relationship patterns came from, how to change, and what showing up in a healthy relationship looks like. Harville and Helen have been counseling people for decades. Lots of wisdom in here, even though the subtitle is misleading.
How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
This is the most powerful, insightful and incessantly quotable book about vulnerability, shame and courage I have ever read. It is a tremendous tool for healing and overcoming the barriers to intimacy and authenticity. Brené Brown has an amazing Netflix special and tons of YouTube and Podcast content. Check her out.
What It Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabotages Our Lives
Many people use the word codependency, but very few understand its vast network of corrosive dysfunction. When I read Facing Love Addiction I found codependency at the root of my problems (it’s actually the root cause of many addictions). This book CLEARLY explains what the subtitle says.
Mating in Captivity
Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
Esther Perel is amazing. I cannot tell you how brilliant she is. I ripped through half this audiobook in one day then ordered a hard copy because I knew I wanted to study it. Her insights are so fresh. The concepts in this book are indispensable to the success of any long-term relationship. Get your highlighters out.
Letting Go of Shame
Understanding How Shame Affects Your Life
Shame is SO toxic! It creates shitty beliefs about ourselves that drive our thoughts and actions for a lifetime. People are ashamed of having shame, so they deny its very existence and never heal. This book helped me identify and recover from toxic shame. You may be surprised to discover how much shame has affected you.
How To Be an Adult in Relationships
The Five Keys to Mindful Loving
Immaturity is behind most failed relationships. Many of us weren’t raised to be adults; we just didn’t die. This book taught me the difference between mature love and childish demands and (drumroll) how to be an adult in relationships.
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents
How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents
This book hits so hard! It’s like Running On Empty but completely fresh and engaging in its own way. Dr. Lindsay Gibson dissects childhood with surgical accuracy to illuminate the source of sooo many dysfunctional adult behavior patterns. Wow!
The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love
Attachment theory is vital to understanding relationships. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller do a superb job of illustrating attachment styles and explaining how they affect us without being too sciency about it. Very enlightening book.
The Intimacy Factor
Ground Rules for Overcoming Obstacles to Truth, Respect and Lasting Love
Pia Mellody is a spiritual gangster. I trust her with my life. Sounds sensational, but that’s how I feel. Her other two books are more about recovering from something. This one is straight up tools for healthy communication, boundaries and relationships.
The Deepest Well
Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an actual superhero. She had me misty-eyed and awestruck as I learned the far-reaching impact of my childhood experiences. Understanding the physiological response to adversity was crucial for healing and understanding myself. This should be required reading for all humans.
The Body Keeps The Score
Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma
I read Running On Empty, then The Deepest Well, and just when I thought I couldn’t be more fascinated by the lifelong impacts of adversity, this magnum opus blew my wig clean off. It’s got 3,750+ five-star reviews! These 3 books are the holy trinity for understanding where all of my problems come from.
Loving What Is
Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Many of life’s difficulties stem from the stories in our heads. Byron Katie provides a practical framework (called “The Work”) to free us from the suffering we create in our minds. The Work slices through bullshit like a samurai sword. This book can change your whole relationship with reality from adversarial to peaceful.
These are books that changed my life and I stand behind them 100%. However, as an Amazon Associate, I’m legally required to tell you that I get monetary kickbacks for qualifying purchases through these links. I hope this won’t affect your decision to drop ten bucks on a book that could potentially save your life. That would be silly.