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on August 11, 2013
When I picked up this book, I was really hopeful it would provide new insights into female Relational Aggression (RA) within families, particularly in-laws. However, I found this book just a repeat of some of the other stuff I've read by this author, and when it got to the chapter on in-laws the book fell short. The ideas seemed incomplete and just left me going "Huh? And?"

Also, there was a little too many personal stories and articles in this book for my liking and not enough of the author's voice. While I do like the idea of other women sharing their stories, the continual poetry, personal memoirs and articles made for choppy reading. Also, it seemed more like this book should have been advertised as a collection of women's experiences more than an insightful analysis on female RA within the family dynamic.

In addition, I think the last segment about "what to do" about female family RA was too idealistic; while some good advice was given, the scope was too limited (i.e. the need to reconcile or just choose whether to put up with it because there's no escaping a family and there's still the notion of pleasing your spouse by putting up with it).

In my personal experience, having a reasonable discussion with a bully usually doesn't work and can even escalate their aggression because they know they're being called out on it. If these individuals were 'reasonable' they wouldn't be bullies to begin with. Therefore, sometimes reconciliation or mutual respect is not possible and what this book failed to mention was that it doesn't matter where bullying occurs (even in a family). You have the right to cut ties with other women who abuse you, period-- sometimes that might be the only way to save your self-worth and/or marriage.
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on April 22, 2010
I'm giving this book two stars instead of one, because I think someone could find it helpful. It spends a lot of pages dealing with issues between sisters, and issues between mothers and daughters. For people with those specific issues, this might be an excellent book.

However, I read this book hoping to find some insights into problems with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, more specifically looking for some explanation or understanding of my sister-in-law's behavior, and perhaps so tips for both situations. Unfortunately, the chapter entitled "Mothers and Sisters By Law" mostly informs the reader that there are websites where people are able to share their woes, talks about competition between sisters from a sister-in-law's point of view, and shares some statistics. For a book that admits that family problems are most commonly with mother-in-laws and sister-in-laws, this chapter reads like a last minute report. You know the one when the student stays up all night trying to make a few hours worth of research seem like they spent weeks on it? That one.

At the end of the chapter the author admits that she is one of the fortunate few that has always liked her sisters-in-law. Really? That's nice. But then the chapter ends. The only enlightening bit about sisters-in-law in the entire chapter is that "One expert I spoke with assured me that sisters will never get along with their brother's wives because of territorial issues." The author attributes this sentiment to cave-woman instincts, but does not elaborate. At one point there is a reference to "take-backs," a type of behavior wherein one party insults the other and then claims to have been joking, but there are no examples given, and no tips to be found for dealing with it.

At the very end of the book the author tries to give some universal advice in how to improve problems within families. I skimmed until I found the chapter "Special Solutions for In-Laws and Exes." Some of the advice is so simplistic that is unhelpfully obvious, while other bits of advice are helplessly naive. If you are someone who already has in-law problems, be warned that this chapter will frustrate you. "Live and let live." The author says. "Enjoy the moment." Advice that is about as helpful and insightful as a greeting card.
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on August 7, 2008
This book provides vivid anecdotes about relationship aggression (some of which I would categorize as abuse)and does an excellent job of describing the nature of the problem. It provides relatively little information, however, about how to deal effectively with these difficult family situations. More how-tos would significantly strengthen this book.
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on January 11, 2008
The author resurrects all the old cliches about mothers-in-law, backbiting sisters, and other assorted dysfunctional family members. The book was surprisingly uninforming. Anyone could have written this book. If you want masterful advice as to how to deal with these people, read Dickens, he's covered just about all the problems families pose, with more panache, pathos, and genius.
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on November 14, 2007
Dr. Dellasega has done it again! This book gives provides insight and captures the truth and reality about how women think and feel about those closest to us. A great read for those looking to gain a deeper understanding about relationships with the women who have shaped our own perceptions.
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on January 5, 2013
I bought this book after reading Mean Girls Grow Up, by Cheryl. I am the oldest of three sisters. My second sister has taken the Queen Bee role, the next the Middle Bee role/victim, and the youngest tries to stay out of it. Since most of it has been behind my back, things have recently come to the surface. I always thought it was just jealousy, but learned from the book it is more about power. The Queen Bee admitted her behavior several years ago, but could never change it. Her FINAL SOLUTION, as I call it, happened when my mom passed away. She told the grandchildren that they were inheriting everything, and to watch our for me, the executor, because I would not follow mom's wishes. My mom left everything to her children. They found a lawyer, and we are in the process of going to court. This book has helped me organize my thoughts, and to continue to write in my journal I have kept for the last 15 years. I have witnessed this behavior also in the work force, always between women. That makes me sad. When I saw this book I was so relieved that it happened to other people. All of my friends have loving relationships between their sisters. Bullying is at the root of our societies problems!
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on November 23, 2007
Wow - I never thought I'd find a book so easy and enjoyable to read and so helpful on a touchy topic. Dr. Dellasega comes through with heartfelt, professional advice on family relationships - many I find myself searching for answers for during holidays, picnics, weddings and day to day conversations with family females. A great, subtle holiday gift and message for those who may be culprits in your own family life - without the awkward confrontation!!! A real gem!

Elizabeth Cook, Harrisburg - PA
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on May 15, 2014
Just in anything else they are groupies in the family that cause nothing but division in the family, this book teaches you to be smart you do not need to hang out with toxic, gossipy, unhealthy, egotistical is your choice.
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on August 5, 2015
Great book. Was able to relate my in-law experiences with it.
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on November 12, 2007
I just finished reading "Forced to Be Family" and hope that EVERYONE reads this before their next family gathering. The stories Dr. Dellasega shares in this book are real, touching, and sometimes emotional. There were so many I could relate to personally.

It really made me think about myself and re-examine how I interact with the various women in my life, both family members and friends. Some of the quizzes in the book are amazing, and it was an eye opener to me when I honestly answered the questions in regards to close family members.

I am so glad I read this before my family gathers over the holidays. I am planning to use the tools in this book to make MY holidays smoother and really think about how I choose to react to the various personality types I'll face over the next few months.

Every woman needs to read this book!
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