Cain's Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy, and Regret

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Basic Books, Jan 3, 2012 - Psychology - 288 pages
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Shining a light on the darkness of failed sibling relationships

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Q. Do you have siblings? A. Yes, an older sister who died in 2000 and a brother two years younger than me. I have always had chilly relations with both, though I grew closer to my sister before she passed. She made a name for herself in tennis. A wheelchair tennis tournament held in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York, is named for her. My brother is talented, plays guitar and was a better athlete than me. I was always envious but never realized how this was controlling my mind until I was older. Q. So you read the book hoping to learn about yourself? A. Yes. But Jeanne interviewed many people and in all these cases I could not see my own circumstances. She seems to be interviewing people who are not unlike me but still they seem a little more grasping and selfish than me or my siblings. In fact, the whole focus of her book seems to be on competition between and among siblings, though there are exceptions. Q. Well that is the focus of her book, is it not, competition among siblings and getting closure? A. Yes, but her whole approach is from the material aspect, what one sibling gains and another loses as far as material items, especially money. This is to be expected, since she is a psychotherapist. Psychotherapists are not often known for their metaphysical concerns. Q. Oh, so you were hoping she would present more metaphysical concerns? A. Yes, I was. She covers the biblical patriarchs in the beginning of the book but only historically. She never gets to how Jesus and his brothers seemed to be close. For that matter, I guess her purpose is not to show close siblings but those who fight. You know, I always admired the Earp brothers, Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan, for always sticking together. To me, that was a real example of true brotherhood. I always wondered were they jealous of one another but I do not see how that could be, as they were fighting side by side. James, a fourth Earp brother, went his own way. The Earps seem to be a model for other brothers, oddly enough. Q. But the Clantons and the McLaurys were brothers who fought together also, but they were the bad guys, were they not? A. Well I did not know you were a western buff. I guess you are right about that.  


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For the Sake of the Parents
Thinking New Thoughts

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About the author (2012)

Jeanne Safer, Ph.D., has been a psychotherapist for thirty-eight years. She is the author of The Normal One, Death Benefits, Beyond Motherhood, and Forgiving and Not Forgiving. She appears frequently on television and radio and lectures widely. She has written for O: The Oprah Magazine, More, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She lives in New York City.

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