Friday, January 15, 2016

Daughters of Divorce

Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard, Tracy Clifford
Sourcebooks: 1/19/16
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9781492620655

Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard, Tracy Clifford is a recommended self-help book.

Written by a mother/daughter team who have both been daughters of divorced parents, Daughters of Divorce is focused on helping women who are from a family effected by divorce to overcome their background and establish healthy, long-lasting relationships as adults.

"This book is about how you, a daughter of divorce, can learn to overcome the legacy of divorce and move forward to enjoy rewarding relationships built on love, trust, and intimacy. Each chapter describes a central theme and skill that are essential to achieving this, and includes practical steps to go about it. At the end of each chapter, we include perspectives from both of us - mother and daughter - on our own experiences with divorce and lessons we've learned."

Even as a child, women are wired to have "a fairly precise, three-dimensional, sensory snapshot of experiences such as family disharmony or breakup." The authors want to reassure women that there are steps they can take to change the family legacy in their own lives. She is not broken just because her family is broken.

The authors present 7 steps to a Successful Relationship and show women how to proceed through those steps. The steps include:
Step 1: Examine your parents' divorce from an adult perspective.
Step 2: Attempt to forgive others and move on from the past by developing a forgiving mind-set.
Step 3: Examine your relationship with your father and attempt to repair any father-daughter wounds.
Step 4: Improve your self-esteem.
Step 5: Build trust in your relationships.
Step 6: Practice being vulnerable with your partner in small steps.
Step 7: Make the commitment.

The authors encourage those reading the book to keep a journal to document their thoughts. The book also includes questions for women to answer for themselves and action steps they can take to encourage their healing. The book includes recommendations for further reading and a list of informational websites available. The book also includes source notes and an index, tools I always look for in nonfiction titles.

While the concept of this book is certainly needed and should be well received, it is not going to address all situations equally since the circumstances surrounding the divorce and family situations can widely vary. Daughters who have been abandoned by their fathers after the divorce are going through some different experiences. I found the following two quotes, from the same author, actually better addressed the situation my daughter is experiencing more than anything else in this book:

Author Victoria Secunda writes, "It is a tragic and unavoidable reality that once a marriage ends, a great many fathers simply vanish. "Surprisingly, this parental neglect isn't due to the vindictiveness of ex-wives. In her research, Secunda found that very few mothers deliberately withheld their daughters from their fathers. She says, "In the end it was indifference and inertia that kept these fathers from finding their daughters. And if the reunion was to be effected, it was almost always the daughters who did the legwork, broke through the silences."
Secunda explains, "My own research has led me to conclude that divorced fathers who abandon their children, either wholly or in part, share one primary characteristic: they don't appear to have a paternal identity. Abandoning fathers are essentially immature, stuck in the primary narcissism of early childhood, unable to feel anyone's pain or joy but their own."

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Sourcebooks for review purposes.

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