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From the Publisher"Fathers Who Fail is an elegant exposition of one of the cardinal issues facing American families today: the role of the father in the origins and dynamics of family violence, including self-destructive behavior of family members. Lansky writes in a clinically unique way. His deep understanding of family dynamics is enriched by an even deeper appreciation of the complexities of achieving self-regulation and of transmitting values from one generation to the next. By showing how the child's vision of his or her father ultimately depends on the child's own ability to discern the family myths that distort perceptions among family members, Lansky demonstrates how the child's early character formation is a product of the total family constellation, not just the nature of the mother-child dyad. He thus redresses the tendency to blame mothers, a blind spot in the field for decades. This book is mandatory reading not only for analysts, individual and family therapists, and developmentalists, but also for sociologists, critics, and lay readers intent on understanding the richly varied ways in which our images of fathers and fathering inspire and inform our social ideals and cultural institutions."
- Stanley Cath, M.D., Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
"In a series of essays both gripping and wise, Lansky identifies the powerful affect of shame as an organizing force in human affaris. He clearly documents the lengths to which people will go to avoid feelings of humiliation and shame. Defenses against these disorganizing emotions create serious problems internally and in family systems. When viewed from this perspective, many puzzling intrapsychic and intimate relationship symptoms - alcohol abuse, suicidal despair, marital conflict, violence, and child abuse - can be decoded and made understandable. The underrecognized problem of failed fathering in our culture is a theme that runs through this book. Lansky describes how fathers who got little from their own fathers are unable to give to their own children; he most poignantly describes how these impaired fathers will do almost anything to avoid the shame and mortification of facing their inability to father their own children."
- James L. Framo, Ph.D., United States International University
"Lansy's work is a supremely successful attempt at theoretical and clinical synthesis: he integrates in a series of original essays, which have been gathered into a coherent whole, his clinical experiences as a psychoanalyst and as a family therapist, as a theoretician at home in a number of traditions, and as a practitioner thoroughly familiar with several modalities of treatment. Insightfully drawing on recent findings about the development and nature of affects, he places particular emphasis on integrating modern ideas about the role of shaming and blaming, both intrapsychically and interpersonally. Fathers Who Fail is very highly recommended."
- Leon Wurmser, M.D., New York Freudian Society