Running on Empty’s Table of Contents

Running on Empty:

Table of Contents 

Introduction: Is This Book for You?

What is Emotional Neglect?

Does This Book Apply to You? Take This Questionnaire to Find Out


Part I: Running on Empty

Chapter 1:    Why Wasn’t the Tank Filled?

Chapter 2:   Twelve Ways to End Up Empty

Type 1:   The Narcissistic Parent

Type 2:  The Authoritarian Parent

Type 3:  The Permissive Parent

Type 4:  The Bereaved Parent: Divorced or Widowed

Type 5:  The Addicted Parent

Type 6:  The Depressed Parent

Type 7:  The Workaholic Parent

Type 8:  The Parent with a Special Needs Family Member

Type 9:  The Achievement/Perfection Focused Parent

Type 10: The Sociopathic Parent

Type 11: Child as Parent

Type 12: The Well-Meaning-but-Neglected-Themselves Parent


Part II: Out of Fuel

Chapter 3:   The Neglected Child, All Grown Up

  1. Feelings of Emptiness
  2. Counter-Dependence
  3. Unrealistic Self-Appraisal
  4. No Compassion for Self, Plenty for Others
  5. Guilt and Shame: What is Wrong With Me?
  6. Self-Directed Anger, Self-Blame
  7. Fatal Flaw (If People Really Know Me They Won’t Like Me)
  8. Difficulty Nurturing Self and Others
  9. Poor Self-Discipline
  10. Alexithymia: Poor Awareness and Understanding of Emotions

Chapter 4:   Cognitive Secrets: The Special Problem of Suicidal Feelings


Part III: Filling the Tank

Chapter 5:   How Change Happens

False Expectations



Chapter 6:   Why Feelings Matter and What to Do with Them

  1. Understanding the Purpose and Value of Your Emotions
  2. Identifying and Naming Your Feelings
  3. Learning to Self-Monitor Your Feelings
  4. Accepting and Trusting Your Own Feelings
  5. Learning to Express Your Feelings in the Moment
  6. Recognizing, Understanding and Valuing Emotions in Relationships

Chapter 7:   Self-Care

Part 1: Learning to Nurture Yourself

Step A. Putting Yourself First

Learning to say no

Asking for help

Learning your likes and dislikes

Prioritizing your own enjoyment

Step B. Eating

Step C. Exercise

Step D. Rest and Relaxation

Part 2: Improving Self-Discipline

Part 3:Self-Soothing

Part 4: Having Compassion for Yourself

Principle 1: The golden rule in reverse

Principle 2: Become aware of damaging self-directed anger

Principle 3: Give yourself the benefit of your own wisdom and compassion

Principle 4: Develop an inner loving-but-firm voice

Principle 5: Allow yourself to be human

Chapter 8:   Ending the Cycle: Giving Your Child What You Never Got

Your Parental Guilt

The Changes You Have Made So Far

Identify Your Own Specific Parenting Challenges

Chapter 9:   For the Therapist


Attachment Theory

Emotional Intelligence

Identification of Emotional Neglect





Resources for Recovery


Relationship Improvement

Feeling Word List