Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life--for the Better

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Overview

When psychotherapist Jeanne Safer lost her mother, she was determined to turn her loss into an opportunity for insight and growth. Through her own experience, her work with patients, and in-depth interviews, Safer shows that the death of a parent can be a catalyst for change. In this updated paperback edition, Safer includes a helpful resource section, including information on hospice care, rehabilitation programs, and more. Bold, surprising, and compassionate, Death Benefits challenges the idea that loss must ...

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Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life--for the Better

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Overview

When psychotherapist Jeanne Safer lost her mother, she was determined to turn her loss into an opportunity for insight and growth. Through her own experience, her work with patients, and in-depth interviews, Safer shows that the death of a parent can be a catalyst for change. In this updated paperback edition, Safer includes a helpful resource section, including information on hospice care, rehabilitation programs, and more. Bold, surprising, and compassionate, Death Benefits challenges the idea that loss must simply be endured or overcome.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Psychotherapist Safer appears to be targeting surviving adult children of dysfunctional parents when she claims, "The death of your parents can be the best thing that ever happens to you." Safer (The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling) describes her own mother as an unhappy woman who viewed her daughter as an extension of herself; she also relates anecdotes from patients and 60 interviewees whose parents were critical or rejecting, or who significantly impeded their children's happiness and personal growth. In other cases, parents dominated their children's lives because of prolonged illness. Safer offers some perspective along with helpful exercises for adult children to begin to heal from emotional wounds inflicted by their parents. For instance, just as one sorts through a parent's physical possessions and keeps some while discarding others, one can do the same with parents' emotional legacy. Some will be shocked by the central idea of Safer's book; others seeking to free themselves from ties that have bound too tightly will welcome Safer's message: there's no need to feel guilty about a sense of freedom and finding one's true self after a parent's death. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465018574
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 971,002
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Safer, PhD, is the author of The Normal One, Beyond Motherhood, and Forgiving and Not Forgiving. She appears frequently on television and radio and has written for O, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and more. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Introduction: Life After Death 1

Part I Death Changes Everything

Chapter 1 My Death Benefit (Autobiography) 11

Chapter 2 Death Benefits: The Last Taboo 49

Chapter 3 Going Through the Stuff: Choosing a Legacy 63

Part II Life Benefits: Body, Mind, and Spirit

Chapter 4 Using the Good China: Deserving a Life at Last 81

Chapter 5 My Body, Myself: Health and Beauty Benefits 91

Chapter 6 Till Death Do Us Part: Marriage and Divorce 103

Chapter 7 Lifted Up in My Mother's Arms: Religious Epiphanies 119

Chapter 8 A Voice of My Own: Creative Self-Expression 131

Part III Orphans' Benefits: Seeing Parents with New Eyes

Chapter 9 Father Knows Best? The Punitive Parent Dies 145

Chapter 10 Mom's Best Friend: The End of Emotional Caretaking 157

Part IV In Morte Veritas: The Insights Death Brings

Chapter 11 The Eleventh Hour: Near-Death Revelations 171

Chapter 12 Perspectives from the Deathspace 183

Chapter 13 In Their End Is My Beginning: Cultivating Death Benefits 205

Acknowledgments 217

Notes 219

Index 221

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