Monkeytraps book review: We are all control addicts

Imagine being told you’re an addict, a control addict. What is a control addict, you might ask? Are you a control addict?

Find out more… in my Monkeytraps book review.

First, a little background

My therapist, Steve Hauptman, published a book called Monkeytraps: Why Everybody Tries to Control Everything and How We Can Stop in Dec 2015. I realised there aren’t many reviews done when I did a quick search online. This is my shout out for him and his book. More people need to know about it and get their hands on it!

What is the Monkeytraps book about? Monkeytraps book

It is a life manual of sorts; a guide to Life, if you will.

Steve’s expertise is “control addiction”, meaning, the addiction to control. This is his take on Codependency.

In the book, he says:

This is a book about control in general, and psychological monkeytraps in particular. A psychological monkeytrap is any situation that tempts us to hold on when we should let go — to control what either cannot or should not be controlled.

In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why everyone is addicted to control
  • How this addiction causes most—if not all—of our emotional problems
  • How to listen to feelings instead of controlling them

What I like about the Monkeytraps book

All 99 chapters are around 2 – 4 pages each. Which is great for me! I have a short attention span, and also have problems digesting lengthy and tedious information. I am unable to follow texts that are too long. So these super short chapters are perfect.

The chapters don’t necessarily have to be read in succession. Just look at the Contents page and pick topics you’re interested in, or chapter titles that pique your interest. Each chapter stands alone on its own and does not require reading of the previous chapter to make sense. I’m guessing reading Chapter 1 through to Chapter 99 could be the best way, but I was fine not reading the chapters in order.

A sampling of chapter titles include: “Choiceful and Compulsive”, “Five Weeds”, “The Risk of Feeling”, “The Kid in the Closet”, “Practice”, “Tribe”, “Lightbulb”

Steve writes in simple, succinct paragraphs. He makes possibly complex psychological concepts and theories easy to understand. It is almost an art, how he cuts through all the psychobabble and simplifies all this information. He writes to the point, just like how he speaks, during therapy.

And I must add, he likes to take the monkey mickey out of himself, people and situations. Quoting a reviewer on Amazon: “And as writer, I will aspire to Steve’s clarity, organization, brevity and humor.”

There are lovely illustrations in the book too, all done by Steve. It’s a pity they’re not in colour!

Communication problems - Monkeytraps
Its not a just world - Monkeytraps
Life is a patient teacher - Monkeytraps
Love - Monkeytraps
Connect - Monkeytraps

(Some of the coloured versions of the illustrations from the book — courtesy of Steve Hauptman.)

What I don’t like about the Monkeytraps book

I wish the illustrations in the book were in colour!

I can’t think of anything I don’t like about the book. In fact, I feel like buying one for everyone I care about, so they can read it and have a better understanding of themselves and the world around them —  Life itself!

You may not like this book if…

  • You prefer books that read like a novel — this book is almost like an instructional guide
  • You are not prepared to consider yourself a control addict — Steve asserts all human beings are, to varying extents
  • You don’t wish to get in touch with your FEELINGS — this book talks about feelings that you may have been ignoring!

Personally, through my recovery, I was made aware that I’ve been suppressing my feelings for a long, long time. It was devastating, and I can understand how that can put one in a vulnerable and uncomfortable position. Not everyone is prepared to face their own feelings.

Product Details


Author: Steve Hauptman
Paperback:
374 pages
Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing (December 20, 2015)
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
Price: Paperback, US$17.99 (Used, from US$13.64); Kindle version, US$9.99

Read more reviews on Amazon

Conclusion

I highly recommend this book to people boggled with the questions about Life, themselves and the people around them. And I’m not (entirely) saying this because I’m biased!

The writing style is matter-of-fact, cut to the chase, simple to understand. BUT, the content is tough to swallow sometimes… due to the many truths that are revealed.

If you want an honest glimpse of yourself, this book is for you. I guarantee you many “aha” moments when reading Monkeytraps. It can be life-changing, if you let it.

Check it out here

So, go ahead and check out Monkeytraps!

Quoting the book

(It is) filled with actionable insights you can start using today. Monkeytraps is a must-read for anyone seeking HAPPINESS, HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS and more PEACE OF MIND.

I hope you liked my Monkeytraps book review. Let me know if you have any questions, feedback or comments below.

If you liked this review, do Share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc… It could save a life or provide answers for people who are struggling right now.

38 comments

  1. jeffrey16201 says:

    The monkey traps sounds like a very good and useful self-help book, I do read more self-help books than any other type of book. The only novels I read which is seldom are mystery, James Patterson is one of my favorites.

    I like the idea of short chapters right to the point, step by step guides are my favorite way to learn anything new in my life.

    I plan to consider this book next time I order any books, right now I have a nice pile of books to catch up on reading .

  2. Marta says:

    Hey Girl,

    thanks for your review, I am always looking for interesting stuff to read. And I am in therapy too. Depression, yeah. With my therapist, we’ve identified my main problem as perfectionism, which has pretty much to do with control… I like your blog and I promise to come back once in a while.

    • Girl says:

      Hey Marta, thank you for stopping by. I’m glad you liked the book review. Perfectionism – I know that too well! My perfectionist streak started at a young age.

      1. Steve (my therapist) told me because of how my mother was, I aimed to be “perfect” in hopes of getting the praise and validation I never got from her as a child. Which up to now, I still have not!

      2. Due to her critical nature, I always thought there was something wrong with me (which I still suffer from, as an adult), so I subconsciously modeled after her, becoming very critical myself, pointing fingers internally and externally on what “needs” to be perfect.

      3. Because I couldn’t control my mother’s critical nature – she would simply criticise me at any moment – my safety was in “being in control” of everything else – myself, people around me, situations, etc…

      This is all very convoluted (and honestly pretty f*cked up) but all the pieces fit together and make sense to me.

      Just a little sharing on my end, on what I’ve gone through and what I’ve learnt in this short time of being in therapy… I’m on various Social channels. Please look me up and we can chat more šŸ™‚

  3. Derek says:

    Great review!

    This sounds like a great book to read especially if you feel like you are stuck in a spot you can’t get out of.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Girlfriend says:

    I love these types of books, the types that are self-help. I am one that suppresses my feelings often, maybe it’s a female thing? I see a lot of women do it to keep the peace in their families. I also love that it’s matter of fact. I don’t like having to read between the lines to figure out what I’m supposed to be learning from it. Great review!

    • Girl says:

      Hey there… You are right. Female roles have been shaped by society to be submissive and subservient. That is obviously changing with the times, but not as quickly as it should (though some feminists have taken it to the extreme).

      It may also be a subconscious behaviour that has been instilled into us since childhood. I personally did not realise I hid so much of my feelings for such a long time – decades!

      There is a difference between suppression and repression, covered in Chapter 31 of the book (I didn’t know there was a difference either).
      In any case, if you like the “Self Help” genre, do take a look see on Amazon šŸ™‚

  5. Runnerboy says:

    The review and feedback looks great! I too have the book by Eckhart Tolle which sounds complimentary. I’m working on my 30 days program now. Will KIV this book for now but thanks for the review šŸ™‚

    • Girl says:

      Glad you could stop by, Runnerboy šŸ™‚

      Thanks for the reminder – have been wanting to check out Eckhart Tolle. I’ve come across his quotes, but have not had a look at his book itself.

      PS. The Kindle version of Monkeytraps is not available for our region via amazon.com though. But I’ve found a work around. Will send you the link!

  6. Steph Niziolek says:

    Welcome to the world of book reviews! This is a fantastic breakdown of a rather interesting and informational book. Love the addition of the graphics from the book. Looks like a very well thought out book that can help a lot of people!

    • Girl says:

      Thanks Steph šŸ™‚ You’re right – it’s interesting and informational. Do check it out yourself if you can!

  7. Lynne says:

    Oh wonderful, how cool that your therapist has written a book šŸ™‚

    When I was in treatment for alcoholism and addiction I remember being targeted by the counselors and given an assignment called “Letting Go The Need for Control”. I couldn’t understand at the time why I was singled out hahaha.

    It is all very clear now. As we recover we understand more. This sounds like a lovely book that will help addicts and “normal” people too.

    Putting up boundaries is really an essential skill that I have now successfully learned.

    • Girl says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Lynne.

      Indeed, as we recover, we understand more šŸ™‚

      Yes, this is his first book. From what I understand, it’s the first in a series of 4 or 5. Will likely be writing about them when they’re out!

  8. lastchance3 says:

    I love to read and agree that everyone loves control. No one likes feeling they don’t have control over their own life. However, I’m ont sure all codependents are control addicts. I actually feel somewhat opposite. They allow others to control them.

    • Girl says:

      Heya, thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a Codependent myself, I have to say I’ve experienced both sides of the spectrum.

      On one hand I was struggling with people-pleasing and therefore allowing people to control me. Not to mention my mother who has been exerting CONTROL over me for my entire life.

      But, because being in control was my subconscious comfort zone, and was what I was used to (modeling after my mom), plus unknowingly manipulating people to meet my needs, because I did not know how to articulate them to others in a healthy way, I became the bossiest person ever! And for a long time. My sis always referred to me having Type A personality.

      Give the book a chance if you can. See if you learn anything new from it šŸ™‚

      • lastchance3 says:

        Will do. I myself am a people pleaser. I don’t have healthy boundaries and find it hard to express what’s want without feeling like a bad person

        • Girl says:

          It’s great that you have an awareness of your lack of healthy boundaries. I did not even know about “boundaries”! Until I learnt about it in CoDependents Anonymous. No one here talks about boundaries, at all…!

          Realising you’re not responsible for how people feel was my first step of not feeling like a bad person. Of course not saying one should be intentionally offensive or cavalier. I suffered a lot of pent-up angst because I did not know how to express my needs, and I ended up with A LOT of unmet needs over the years.

          Steve (my therapist) says Anger is the bottle cap of all bottled-up feelings. That made a lot of sense to me, since I would experience meltdowns from time to time. I thought I had a temper issue or an anger management problem. Now I know it was all due to my unmet needs since I was a child.

          • lastchance3 says:

            I still struggle with not feeling like a bad person when I put up boundaries. It’s an ongoing struggle that I’ve had for quite some time.

  9. Ali says:

    Brilliant review. I’ve read the book and now I keep it my handbag and read a chapter whenever I need stuff like inspiration, reassurance, connection and some gentle reminding that I’m human….best book ever.

    • Girl says:

      Indeed – we don’t really think about these things, but when it’s pointed out to us, it makes so much sense! Do check it out if you can šŸ™‚

  10. Basem Fodah says:

    I really loved your review! I love anything related to psychology and read so many books about it. I just added your review to my favorite place so I can order it and go to amazon through your site, I’m gonna order the book next month after finishing my summer semester. Thank you and keep up the good work! šŸ™‚

  11. Katelin says:

    Interesting!! I know that I seek to be in control, but this sounds like an interesting read. This sounds like a great read for psychology and counseling students.

    • Girl says:

      The idea of “control” is explored here in a way that escapes us mostly, in or everyday lives. I hope you get to check it out šŸ™‚

  12. Hillary says:

    OMG this is SO ME. I KNOW I am a control freak–so no problem with acknowledging that! I love self help books and read constantly, so i am off to check this out. And I love how he talks about feelings being the “root” of our relationships–i am trying to learn to pay better attention to my feelings, whcih i often ignore. Thank you for this review.

    • Girl says:

      I’m glad you can relate, Hillary šŸ™‚ I ignore my own feelings all too often too. Let me know what you think of it after you’ve checked it out!

  13. Stella says:

    You really sold me on this book! I will check it out for myself because this is a favorite topic. I have also used the teaching of Eckhart Tolle a lot to help with this issue.
    Funny story (sort of): When my son was born I woke up during the C-section and had to have some therapy after to deal with it. The doc said that one possible reason was that I was such a control freak I had to wake up and see what was going on. Not sure, but could it be possible?? Great review! Stella šŸ™‚

    • Girl says:

      Wow, waking up during delivery sounds pretty traumatic? šŸ™ I hope you’ve recovered from that!. There are many possibilities regarding this; I’m not a doctor so I don’t know. BUT, the human body – and mind – can be mysterious. So, who knows? šŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your feedback, Stella. I hope this book helps you gain some insight to your own behavioural traits. You’d develop a new perspective and start to see things differently. This book encapsulates what we cover during my weekly therapy. It is a great resource for me in between sessions šŸ™‚

  14. Dave says:

    Monkeytraps looks like an intriguing book.
    I have never considered myself a controlling person. Though many would probably consider me a ‘passive controller’ if there is such a thing… I don’t demand people to do things my way but I certainly provide a lot of encouragement and guidance to help people see the way I think something should be done. šŸ˜‰
    Short succinct writing certainly falls within my attention span. Monkeytraps will be going onto my must-read list.

    • Girl says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Dave. Yes the concept of “controlling” seems to fall into a clear box for most. But it turns out we tussle with “control” every single day of our lives, in ways we’re unaware of. Glad you’ll be giving the book a go; would love to know what you think of it šŸ™‚

  15. Allen Adkins says:

    This page really hits home when it comes to control issues. I know I would like to read the book because I also have a very short attention span when it comes to reading. I love to write but not read. I have had a lot of control issues in my life and your web pages has really given me some great advice. You have done a great job keep up the hard work!

    • Girl says:

      Thanks for checking out my review, Jenn. Yes the chapters being short is a really good thing. I think you’d find the book interesting…

  16. The Oryx Land Blogger-Sahar says:

    I would to read as well after reading this review. I am not a big reader but I take spontaneous decisions on topics that I select to read! I love all the topics covered in the book and the fact that each chapter is tiny makes it something I love again.

    • Girl says:

      Great, go check it out and feel free to let me know what you think of it after šŸ™‚ Would love to hear your feedback… (Sample pages can be found here)

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