Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them (Paperback)
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Real solutions to a hidden epidemic: family estrangement.
Estrangement from a family member is one of the most painful life experiences. It is devastating not only to the individuals directly involved--collateral damage can extend upward, downward, and across generations, More than 65 million Americans suffer such rifts, yet little guidance exists on how to cope with and overcome them. In this book, Karl Pillemer combines the advice of people who have successfully reconciled with powerful insights from social science research. The result is a unique guide to mending fractured families.
Fault Lines shares for the first time findings from Dr. Pillemer's ten-year groundbreaking Cornell Reconciliation Project, based on the first national survey on estrangement; rich, in-depth interviews with hundreds of people who have experienced it; and insights from leading family researchers and therapists. He assures people who are estranged, and those who care about them, that they are not alone and that fissures can be bridged.
Through the wisdom of people who have "been there," Fault Lines shows how healing is possible through clear steps that people can use right away in their own families. It addresses such questions as: How do rifts begin? What makes estrangement so painful? Why is it so often triggered by a single event? Are you ready to reconcile? How can you overcome past hurts to build a new future with a relative?
Tackling a subject that is achingly familiar to almost everyone, especially in an era when powerful outside forces such as technology and mobility are lessening family cohesion, Dr. Pillemer combines dramatic stories, science-based guidance, and practical repair tools to help people find the path to reconciliation.
About the Author
Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized family sociologist and professor of human development at Cornell University. He is also a professor in the Weill Cornell Medical College. Pillemer is the author of the bestselling book 30 Lessons for Living and 30 Lessons for Loving.
"Rifts and ruptures upend tens of millions of families, leaving a trail of sorrow and despair. But in this wise and moving book, Karl Pillemer combines academic rigor and practical advice to show us how to move toward reconciliation. Fault Lines is a book that will change lives."
—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind
"Chronic, seemingly intractable estrangement blights many families in our stressed and fragmented culture. In this thoughtful, compassionate book Karl Pillemer shows that it need not be permanent and his perceptive, gentle guidance lights the way to reconciliation."
—Gabor Maté M.D., author, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
"Fault Lines is a masterful study of the causes family estrangements, the reasons to heal, and the ways to make it happen. Don’t waste a minute. Read this book and get back together."
—Jane Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells
"I could not stop reading this wonderful combination of new data, psychological insight, practical advice, and compassion. It will be a terrific personal and professional resource."
—Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. author of The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples
"Estrangement is the mysterious, intractable and secret pain affecting millions of families (including my own). With Fault Lines, Karl Pillemer courageously rappels into the deep social crevice created by these devastating rifts. Using original research and empathic storytelling, Pillemer doesn't just explore this territory, but he shows us a way out. This is an extremely important and insightful guide for anyone wrestling with the heartbreak of estrangement."
—Amy Dickinson, “Ask Amy” advice columnist
"This is one of the most original contributions to relationship research and literature I have seen in a long time. It is filled with real examples and practical wisdom, but perhaps most of all, every page is filled with hope."
—Matthew Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Rhythm of Life
"A fascinating examination of family estrangement, which is far more common that you might think."
–Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project