This is essentially a book about the comfort of the familiar, however destructive or limiting, and the lies we tell ourselves to preserve that comfort: a revealing self-glimpse for some, no doubt, though the claim of ""cure"" may be a bit over-optimistic. Starting from the observation that people often refuse--perversely--the ""nice treatment"" and ""positive environment"" we all claim to seek, this psychologist and educational therapist reach back into our family relationships during the dependency of childhood to explain such neurosis. If we felt the pain of rejection by an overly critical parent, rather than shunning such treatment as adults, we often seek out and even marry similarly critical people: reliving the old patterns helps to blot out early fears of parental abandonment. (In one case cited here, a man named Lawrence provoked his employers at job after job into punishing him by firing him--even as his father punished him as a child.) Other destructive patterns include withholding our affections or abilities; playing the victim; relying on anxiety-reducing ""painkillers"" (such as smoking and habitually ritualistic behavior); and sabotaging worldly success by retreating into fantasy. The supposition that, having discovered the destructive nature of one's behavior, one will then change--merely by establishing open friendships to counteract the established traits--is open to serious question. Still, this is a little more complex than the average change-overnight venture; and it contains enough substance to prompt more than a passing thought.