Cover image for Forgive your parents, heal yourself : how understanding your painful family legacy can transform your life
Forgive your parents, heal yourself : how understanding your painful family legacy can transform your life
Grosskopf, Barry, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxii, 279 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF637.F67 G76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BF637.F67 G76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A guide to parent-forgiveness can aid adults in finding the strength to finally release oppressive anger and begin the personal healing process.

Author Notes

Barry Grosskopf, M.D., is in private practice in Seattle and is a clinical instructor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

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

Library Journal Review

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.ÄElizabeth Caulfield Felt, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Wendy Lustbader
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introductionp. xix
1. When Life Doesn't Work: Taking Another Look at Our Life Storiesp. 1
2. Imagining Another Person's Experience: Overcoming the Limitations of a Self-Centered Perspectivep. 12
3. Why we Can't "Just Get Over it": The Psychobiology of Wounded Peoplep. 24
4. Moving on After Bad Things Happen: The Need for Consolation and Witnessp. 54
5. How the Wars of Our Forebears Relate to Our Lives Todayp. 70
6. Needing to Let Others Know: Healing from Childhood Sexual Abusep. 82
7. Giving Grief its Duep. 93
8. Protecting Against Dangers that Are no Longer There: Passing On Survival Reactionsp. 125
9. Mastery and Reenactment: Overcoming Our Limitations, Growing Beyond Our Familiesp. 136
10. "Ayeckah?": Being Honest with Ourselvesp. 155
11. Risking the Truthp. 173
12. The Healing Marriage: A Second Chance to Master Childhood Traumap. 185
13. The Discipline of the Fifth Commandment: Re-forming Character, Forgiving Our Parentsp. 199
14. Reading Between the Lines: of Our Parents' Storiesp. 222
15. Final Witness and Final Momentsp. 236
Notesp. 251
Indexp. 271