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Overcoming Your Difficult Family: 8 Skills for Thriving in Any Family Situation Paperback – June 9, 2017
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“With gentle humor and compassion, Eric Maisel acts as a wise friend in this clear and practical guide that offers specific tools for navigating the roughest of family seas. It even helps you calm the waters! A wonderfully useful, unique, and comforting book.”
— Judith Schlesinger, PhD, author of The Insanity Hoax
“Eric Maisel rejects diagnostic labels in this insightful, practical, and extremely helpful book. Anyone should find his no-nonsense approach and practical tips useful.”
— James B. Gottstein, Esq., President of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
“Throughout this book, Dr. Maisel maintains a nonmedical and non-pathology theme, describing family problems as natural human phenomena rather than mental disorders. His eight skills are introduced and applied step-by-step within the context of several unique family cultures whose members unwittingly develop problematic ways of coping. This refreshing guide to overcoming interpersonal conflict with respect for personal diversity, coexistence, and cooperation is invigorating to those of us who struggle to rehumanize the mental health industry!”
— Chuck Ruby, PhD, executive director of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry
“With characteristic clarity, Dr. Eric Maisel lays out an approach to family difficulties that cuts through the surface tension to reach the compassionate core of human relationships. An accessible guide grounded in current research and the author’s own clinical experience.”
— Dr. Dale McGowan, coauthor of Raising Freethinkers
“Dr. Maisel offers more than just understanding; he also offers hope by way of practical suggestions for dealing with difficult family members that can provide relief for those who have for years been beleaguered by hard-to-deal-with parents, siblings, in-laws, and others. I recommend this book not only to family, individual, and couples therapists but also to the clients with whom they work.”
— James E. Maddux, PhD, George Mason University Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology
“Overcoming Your Difficult Family is a treasure trove of ideas and strategies. Eric Maisel has a gift for making complicated ideas easy to understand. I’m sure anyone who is struggling with family relationships of any sort will find something in this book that they can identify with and that’s bound to help them!”
— Sami Timimi, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Director of Medical Education, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust
“This may be the most important book you will ever read. If you want to have a more joyful life and a relationship full of real, lasting love, this book is for you. Practical and powerful, it will teach you how to be smart, strong, calm, clear, aware, brave, present, and resilient — qualities that too many of us lack living in our stressed-out world. Get a copy for yourself and one for everyone in your family. It will change your life.”
— Jed Diamond, PhD, author of The Enlightened Marriage
“This accessible book shines a liberating light on past family pain and patterns as it offers new skills and hope for creating the healthy, supportive family you’ve always dreamed of — right here, right now. Highly recommended!”
— Donald Altman, LPC, bestselling author of The Mindfulness Toolbox and One-Minute Mindfulness
“Spoiler alert: after you read Overcoming Your Difficult Family, you will feel less distress and be more able to utilize your personal power to create the life you want! Dr. Maisel eloquently offers practical tools on every page, teaching you how to stay calm and effective in even the most challenging family environment. You will be equipped with the knowledge of what family type you are from, and you will learn eight essential skills to overcome lingering family-of-origin problems that have, consciously or unconsciously, caused you upset for years. In short, this book will set you free.”
— Dr. Lee Jampolsky, author of Healing the Addictive Personality and founder of Inspirational Psychology
“An uber-pragmatic how-to guide on overcoming not just your difficult family but your own internal demons. Through powerful examples, exercises, and tips, Maisel masterfully guides you to cultivate eight pillars of inner strength. Thoughtful, empowering, and practical, this book will help you overcome whatever family pattern may still be holding you back in your life and your relationships!”
— Anna Yusim, MD, psychiatrist and author of Fulfilled
About the Author
Eric Maisel, PhD, is a retired family therapist, a creativity and life coach, and the author of more than fifty books. He writes the “Rethinking Mental Health” blog for Psychology Today and the “Coaching the Artist Within” column for Professional Artist magazine and lectures throughout the world. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Top customer reviews
“You may be accustomed to thinking of your ‘symptoms’ like feeling nervous, sad, or distracted, as ‘personal’ problems. But they may be family problems, including lingering family-of-origin problems. Families can be toxic and can cause disturbances. You may find your ‘personal’ problems dramatically reduce when you overcome your present or past difficult family!”
Dr. Maisel invites us to learn to be smart as in “aware, insightful, savvy, and strategic” with dealing with our family (p. 13).
On page 23, the author invites us to develop a “Warrior’s Mind”—that is, one learns to be “resolute about thinking only thoughts that serve” the person. It’s crucial to develop personal strength.
Dr. Maisel provides powerful stories and examples to help us develop the inner strength and strategic actions to improve our family life. He invites us to develop resilience as “the ability—and the willingness—to shake off slights, insults, criticism, and regrets for the sake of moving forward and living the best life possible.” (p.68)
The author shares pragmatic ways to increase closeness and foster forgiveness. On page 110, he discusses “Three Ceremonies.” He recommends that one considers: “Making a Peace Offering … At the appointed time, [you] arrive with your peace offering—say, a pizza that you both like. Say, ‘I brought us a pizza to share as a peace offering. I wonder if there’s a way we can make peace? Do you think there might be a chance?’”
On page 176, Dr. Maisel notes that we can experience a time when “you are quietly and calmly living.” He emphasizes: “To live like this, you must believe that you matter.”
My friend, you do matter. It’s suggested that 80% of happiness rises from our relationships. Still, 80% of our unhappiness can come from a difficult family.
Treat yourself well. Get this book, Overcoming Your Difficult Family, and create your better life.
Now we come to a book that suggests the possibility of Overcoming Your Difficult Family. It suggests that there are 8 Skills for Thriving in Any Family Situation. The author, Eric Maisel, is a genuine elder teacher with much to offer, and I am confident that whatever he says about dealing with family will be wise and valuable. I also suspect that the 8 skills are valuable enough to make it worth while having a difficult family because it provides the motivation to develop those skills. I say that on the basis of my apriori opinion—adversity drives evolution.
What are the 8 skills he suggests you learn? Be smart. Be strong. Be calm. Be clear. Be aware. Be brave. Be present. Be resilient. These are great skills! He provides advice on how to develop each of these skills. That’s a wonderful service the book provides. We all could use those skills, and not just for family.
Eric admits, “These skills are also valuable everywhere in life, so mastering them will not only help you deal with difficult family members but will also help you deal with all of life’s challenges. Where would a carpenter or a plumber be without his tools? We need tools, too, because family life can be really difficult.”
Like I say, be grateful for your difficult family because of the goodies it grows in you. Your family not difficult? You have my condolences, you’ll have to find another “life gym” to develop those muscles a difficult family would have provided you. Only you can determine if they were doing you a favor or trying to do you in!