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Healing from Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off from a Family Member

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Ten steps to surviving a family rift, finding peace, and moving on

A family rift is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can face. It can have a profound effect on virtually every aspect of life, causing depression, relationship problems, and even physical illness. "Healing From Family Rifts "offers hope to those coping with a split in their families. Family therapist Mark Sichel addresses the pain and shame connected with family rifts and offers a way through the crisis and on toward healing and fulfillment. Uniquely, Sichel does not assume that every rift will or even should be mended. Instead, he offers ways to recover from any outcome, including: A 10-step process to come to terms with the family dynamics that led to the split Methods to find peace and personal reconciliation Skills that help to build a second family of people whose values are in line with one's own Techniques to fight feelings of guilt when faced with a family rift Includes inspiring and instructive stories drawn from the author's patients that help readers put their own situations in perspective.

272 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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Mark Sichel

2 books1 follower

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5 stars
62 (32%)
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68 (35%)
3 stars
47 (24%)
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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Nik Maack.
643 reviews19 followers
October 12, 2015
I am going through some serious crap with my "family of origin". Four out of five family members aren't talking to me. A recent attempt to start talking with them again went very poorly. It hurts, it's frustrating, it's maddening. It leaves me feeling utterly helpless.

My wife, watching me try to cope with all of this, sends me articles. One such article led me to this book. To sum it up: the book providescoping strategies for when families say, "That's it! I'm not talking to you anymore!" It offers ways to try to fix the problem, but also admits in some cases things simply cannot be fixed.

My initial reaction to the book was one of surprise and annoyance. Wait... You mean my unique pain isn't unique after all? It is somewhat alarming to think I am suffering in some unique and terrible way, only to pick up a book that flowcharts my pain and describes many people experiencing the same thing. The book is full of many stories of people exiled from their families. So may reasons to be disowned: you married the wrong race, the wrong religion, you're the wrong sexual orientation, you're trying to be your own person, you're moving away, you have the wrong values, etc, etc.

Many things I'd already thought about were here, underlined, emphasized. Family myths, and how, if you call them into question, family can freak out. ("How dare you admit we are in a constant state of chaos!") "Injustice collectors" versus "people pleasers", (as the book puts it), and how they breed more of each kind. Numbing out with food and alcohol. Learning how you can't help people who don't want to be helped. Establishing boundaries so your family members don't just get to abuse you at will. Strategies to minimize conflict -- such as simply lying.

The book often strays into AA and Al-Anon speak. For example, the serenity prayer is quoted more than once. But it's useful, in context. The author, also having experienced his own cutting off by his family, is particularly empathetic. He admits he reconciled, then UN-reconciled, which was somewhat nice to see -- his own admittance of "failure".

A large emphasis is placed on forgiving and forgetting. Either by attempting to reconcile, or simply by letting go of pain and grief, even as the split from family continues. This annoyed me. But the author does admit, there are times when a reconciliation is impossible, and you just have to move on with your life.

If you are going through this kind of crap, as I am, it is a useful book, reassuring and kind. Maybe a little preachy in places, but useful all the same.
December 21, 2014
Honest, Genuine & Extremely Helpful

This book has helped me realize the importance of my own self-care, and not to give away my power to the injustice collectors in my life. Thank you!
Profile Image for Chideziri .
33 reviews
January 16, 2019
It took a long time for me to read this book because I found myself going back applying some of the suggestions. It’s is written like a 12- step program but the good news to me was I’m not the only one dealing with a family rift and there’s a way to manage it with everyone in your family. He did go back and for in the book and the different people he talked about made the book hard to read. The reason it was difficult to read is because many of them were similar to my family members and I found myself observing some of them, gaining a better understanding of who I’m dealing with in my family. So I now am able to manage the interactions I have with them.

I discovered that the way I’d been looking at my family needed to change. I’d been the family doormat for so long and when I stopped doing that to keep the peace the rift started. This book helped me make productive changes in my family and helped me to get over feeling guilty about my second-chance family and it’s an acceptable family to have.
Profile Image for Michele Harvey.
Author 2 books63 followers
June 16, 2018
This book offers empowerment to those experiencing a family rift. My one criticism is that the book deals with both mending a family rift and healing from a rift that cannot be mended. In a sense, going back and forth between the two is disorienting. I believe this book could be two books. By covering each topic in a separate book, I believe readers would benefit more from the flow of dialog and content.
209 reviews2 followers
November 9, 2021
There is a lot of good stuff in this book which I found extremely helpful, and can be summed up in this quote from the final pages, “…forgiveness always wins out: there are only benefits to giving up grievances and moving on in life……..as we undergo the process of healing from our family rifts, we experience an increased capacity to be loving, to feel loving, to act in a loving way towards others.”
10 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2018
Excellent great relationship book whether you’ve had a family rift or not. Anyone should read

Recommend read for all humans. Provides great insight and Understanding not only I to other people’s behavior in relationships but insight into your own gives vibrate actionable ways to relate with others better and to become s better person. Highly recommend!!!
Profile Image for Sheila Altman.
67 reviews
April 29, 2020
This was a very helpful book. I will recommend it to friends and family. It helps you to be able to take a look at things from a different perspective. I really enjoyed it. It did bring up some hard memories though.
Profile Image for Libby.
168 reviews4 followers
June 28, 2014
This is a very thoughtful and helpful book written by a therapist who specializes in working with people who have suffered cutoffs in their families (as he himself has, which he describes in the book). He likens the process of recovery to being in a 12-step program: appreciating oneself, taking responsibility for one's own part in creating the rift (and, if possible, approaching those who have engineered the cutoff in this spirit to see if reconnection is possible--it isn't always), and being grateful for the positive things and people one has in one's own life. He describes how to create a "second-chance family," who may be able to provide what one hasn't received from his or her own family (his assumption being that rifts have a deep history and don't emerge full-blown all of a sudden). One of the best pieces of advice in the book is to accept people at face value: "What you see is what you get." A worthwhile book shining hope on a difficult subject.
Profile Image for Carmen.
47 reviews2 followers
January 24, 2016
This book found me! I was sitting in the waiting room at my doctor's office and noticed it on the book shelf. While all the other books were placed uniformly, this one was skewed and in plain sight. Coincidental? I think not...because I was ruminating about choices I'd made concerning my estranged mom.
The best & least expensive counseling you'll ever receive! Mom and I are still estranged, but I'm okay with it. Thanks in part to Mark Sichel, the author of this book.

P.S.: The size of this book is not overwhelming--an interesting, quick-read, based on common "12 Step" programs.
Profile Image for Mario Andres Solano.
4 reviews1 follower
June 14, 2016
Insightful and hopeful

A great read for those of us who've yet to take better control of our lives after suffering from big family problems that have lead to sone degree or total estrangement. It provides a healing perspective and supplies practical strategies to deal with our family issues and look at our responses and responsibilities towards complicated family issues. Definitively recommended!
7 reviews
April 8, 2022
This book has a lot of good information, my one problem with it was the way it was structured. From a lay person's perspective for me, it was hard to follow. Would have been better to have specifically named chapters that didn't skip around so much. I did like reading about other people's struggles but maybe would have been better if there were less of them and more ideas on how to resolve the family rifts.
18 reviews
November 3, 2008
Mark Sichel provides good common sense advice to heal family rifts. Also noting that not all family rifts can be mended.
Profile Image for Tina.
73 reviews15 followers
November 5, 2009
I found a lot of helpful information in this book. Probably one of the most helpful with a narcissist in the family.
Profile Image for Karen.
64 reviews2 followers
February 23, 2016
I have been cut off from my oldest son for 3 years per his choice. This book has been helpful to me in dealing with this family rift.
August 5, 2017

I really love reading this book. There were many things that gave me a lot think about. It help bring healing.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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