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Forgive Your Parents, Heal Yourself: How Understanding Your Painful Family Legacy Can Transform Your Life Hardcover – June 18, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

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, we must examine the lives of our parents as children. When we know their childhoods, we can begin to understand their behavior as spouses and parents, which allows us to look at our own lives and relationships and begin to change our own behavior. Grosskopf writes simply and beautifully. He skillfully uses the experiences of his patients to illustrate behaviors passed on through the generations as well as ways people have broken these patterns and moved on to healthier relationships. The only thing wrong with this book is its title, which may turn off the very people for whom it was written. Highly recommended for all libraries.AElizabeth Caulfield Felt, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Forgiving one's parents, rather than blaming them for our own psychological problems--and everything else--is not a new concept. What is new here is the laudable attempt by Grosskopf to require us to take a closer look at our parents and try to see through their eyes: that a parent's hand-me-down legacy of anger, alcoholism, abuse, or other psychological scarring may be the product of their own painful pasts. This view is especially relevant when you consider that many parents of today's baby boomers did, after all, go through war and, for some, a deep economic depression. Aside from these obvious historical legacies, Grosskopf points out that every parent has her or his own personal history, and it's worthwhile for the children to investigate it. Given this, it's very plausible that taking their parents' pasts for granted can blind scarred individuals from healing in the present. Certain to improve self-help collections. Marlene Chamberlain
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (June 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068482406X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684824062
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert L. Rose VINE VOICE on December 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Increasingly, those of middle-age (and beyond) are becoming caregivers for aging but long-lived parents. All the more reason to learn the lessons of generational forgiveness and healing so wisely taught in this book. As I continue to research my own family's history, and to write what I know of the family story, this book is helping me to take a more compassionate stance toward my own parents. Dr. Grosskopf skillfully blends anecdotal accounts, biblical narratives, fairy tales and religious proverbs to help the reader ask their own parents, in a way which heals, the question from God to humanity in the biblical book of Genesis: "Where are you?"

Of particular use to me is the way the author reinterprets the fifth commandment's "honor thy father and thy mother." While reading through chapter two I was struck by the liberating potential for forgiveness in hearing the command to "honor" parents not as an authoritarian dictate but instead as an invitation to "imagine" parents as the powerful but complex individuals they really are.

In chapter four, Dr. Grosskopf underscores the need we all have for "witnesses" to our emotional pain and how restorative it can be for parents when their children meet such a need. For me, the main insight here is that children who would honor their parents (and heal themselves) can best do so in learning how to ask them (or others) "where are you" without implying judgment or rejection. In this way the answers may repair and transform the fabric of life shared by parents and children and all of society.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the absolute best self-help-ish books I've ever read. Super helpful, smart, interesting, engaging. Would also be helpful for new parents so they can see just how they will affect their child. This book helped lessen my own burden and is a gift to anyone who reads it.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure I can agree with what to me seems to be the central thesis of this book: that to heal yourself, you should essentially act as your parents' therapist, listening to and understanding the problems they had that led them to hurt you. While I think knowing those things could help in the healing process, and if your parents are open to a bilateral discussion to hear about the pain they've caused you while also explaining their own pains with their parents, this could be wonderful. However, the sad reality for many of us--leading to the need for books like this--is that these kinds of parents are not able to hear, understand, and recognize the pains they've caused their own children.

I believe that the most appropriate help for harmful parents of their adult children is going to be with their own private therapist, who can help guide them and manage the guilt that might allow them to begin to hear the pain they've caused their own children.
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Format: Hardcover
Babble free, sensible, profound. A soul opening work
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Grosskopf's book is a tremendous stride forward in constructive reflection upon our lives. The language and imagery is powerful, elegant and memorable. He expresses the pivotal elements that can help anyone free themselves of the bondage of their past.
Dr. Grosskopf's book is an excellent guide for the professional therapist as well as younger people like myself. I have struggled for years to overcome some behavioral and emotional hurdles. This book gave me the key to unlock my potential as a healer & participant in my family and community. This is a book which will alter your perspective on life for good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just as the title promises, it helps you to understand the generational gaps that plague us, and understand the people who are our parents so that we can forgive them their shortcomings and untimately find greater happiness and acceptance for ourselves.
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