Forgive Your Parents, Heal Yourself: How Understanding Your Painful Family Legacy Can Transform Your Life

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Free Press, 1999 - Self-Help - 279 pages
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"A profoundly moving guide to personal and family growth that teaches us it is healthier to forgive than to blame."

For a generation, pop psychology and psychotherapy have promised healing and self-fulfillment through examination of our own childhood stories. We have been encouraged to indulge our interest in ourselves, to embrace our victimhood, and to reclaim and nurture the wounded inner child. But psychiatrist Barry Grosskopf has found a different path. Drawing on the ancient biblical tradition of the Fifth Commandment, "Forgive Your Parents, Heal Yourself" asks adult children to reframe their family's painful legacy as a way to free themselves from childhood hurt and trauma.

In this exceptionally wise and refreshing departure from standard recovery and relationship books, Grosskopf emphasizes the healing power and benefits of forgiveness and shows how adult children can approach their parents with open hearts -- without recrimination or blame -- to hear the stories of their family's past. Informed by both his experiences with patients and his command of issues in psychology and neuroscience, Grosskopf has developed a sophisticated and powerful plan through which children can repair their own character and relationships by respecting and understanding even hurtful caregivers. He suggests the questions to ask our parents and grandparents about their childhoods, how and when to ask them, and how to use the information to change self-destructive patterns.

Drawing upon a range of case studies and personal stories, including his own family experiences, Grosskopf leads us through a series of chapters that provide insight into the most difficult problems that can arise in atroubled childhood, from untimely loss to depression to food and drug addictions. We discover a novel approach that is particularly effective with survivors of the Holocaust, sexual abuse, and abandonment, for whom traditional self-help techniques rarely work. "Forgive Your Parents, Heat Yourself" encourages us to restore relationships with our parents, siblings, partners, and children and gain greater health, happiness, and emotional wholeness along the way.

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Forgive your parents, heal yourself: how understanding your painful family legacy can transform your life

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Grosskopf, a Seattle psychiatrist, has written an extremely insightful book that will be of value to everyone who reads it. He explains that in order to understand our own problems and shortcomings ... Read full review



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About the author (1999)

Barry Crosskopf, M.D., is in private practice in Seattle and is a clinical instructor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry. He is active in community medicine with difficult-to-treat patients, the underprivileged, and the under-served. He lives in Seattle with his wife, therapist and author Wendy Lustbader.

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