Mothering is tough at the best of times. But when we come from dysfuntional families and are stressed out in the present, we tend to resort to automatic, reactive ways of dealing with our children and our stress. And things get worse..

This is a book that can really help!

I posted a review of Carey Sipp’s book, The Turnaround Mom, on Amazon over a year ago. I re-read it the other day and was again struck by what a wonderful resource it is.  It is a deceptively simple and profoundly useful book about mothering when your family of origin is dysfunctional and /or addicted.

I love the way Carey Sipp demonstrates and describes so clearly how easily the cycle of dysfunction and abuse is transmitted across generations; and how this can be interrupted.

It’s message is very uplifting and hopeful. No matter how bad things were in your family of origin, you CAN break the cycle of abuse and neglect and create a working, functional family for your children. Carey Sipp demonstrates how it can be done: It takes courage, self-reflection and self-honesty, yes! But she goes further than that, there are practical steps you can and must follow: extreme self-care, recovery from addictions, the dedication to building a support system and then consistently asking for help and feedback from your community and friends, and the willingness to slow down and think things through.

Each chapter focuses on one of these necessary changes and is beautifully organized into four parts:
1. A description of an aspect of the authors own toxic childhood
2. A description of how she begins to repeat that aspect with her own children
3. How she manages to turn it around and break the pattern
4. Practical steps for how the reader can turn it around.

For example, chapter 8 is titled: Avoid Toxic Intensity. The first step she recommends is as follows:

If your life is filled with anxiety – drama over relationship, tension about money, stress about work and other major issues, consequences of drinking or using drugs – stop trying to handle it all on  your own. Get help from a mental health professional, and find appropriate twelve-step support group, be it Al-Anon for friends and family members of alcoholics, CODA for people who struggle with issues of co-dependence, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other groups that deal with your concerns…Do not suffer. If you do not have the money for therapy, simply go to the twelve-step program best suited for you. These programs are free. You will find help there. It’s likely that the longer you suffer, the greater the effects on  your problem. (178)”

I recommend this book to all moms. There is something here about valuing our role as mother and caring for ourselves for each and everyone of us.


5 thoughts on “Breaking cycles of dysfunction

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