Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes, Second Edition

Healing the Scars from Childhood Mistreatment

Non-Fiction - Self Help
137 Pages
Reviewed on 05/25/2021
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Author Biography

I have struggled with depression and the aftereffects of child abuse most of my adult life. I wrote two books to assist others who face these issues.

My first book is TRANSCENDING DEPRESSION. The motivation for presenting my history is to encourage others who grapple with either chronic depression or occasional bouts. I hope my journey resonates with some, validates feelings, and sparks the thoughts “I'm not alone” and “I will feel better.” This book can also help family members and friends of the mentally ill, and their caregivers, find compassion and enable them to understand the struggle. My goal is to save lives.

My second, SURVIVING OUR PARENTS' MISTAKES, concerns recovery from emotional child abuse. My writing reflects the progression of my thinking as I stopped blaming my parents for mistreating me and started taking responsibility for my predicament and recovery. I mention stumbling blocks I encountered along the way, and finish each chapter with insights that have soothed and enriched my present life, bringing peace and vitality. I suggest strategies that will help other abuse victims.

My articles about depression have appeared on the websites of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Canadian Mental Heath Association. I live with my wife, Cathy, in Missoula, Montana.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite

Surviving Our Parents’ Mistakes: Healing the Scars from Childhood Mistreatment—Second Edition by Larry Godwin, Ph.D., is a compilation of the author’s lifelong problems from having grown up with a single abusive mother, who, her husband having abandoned her, placed all her attention, useful and not, on her son. Dr. Godwin was not physically free to find his own way until he left home for college. From then on, he struggled to understand and to manage the personality defects he came to understand were a direct result of his chaotic upbringing. He writes his book using footnoted professional references from the psychological community. Though the exact incidences of difficult behaviors are not chronological, the reader can read between the lines to construct the confused life path of the author and, more importantly, the coping methods he eventually learned.

I was particularly intrigued by the format Larry Godwin uses. Instead of a chronology of life experiences, he divides his story into topics: Depression, Insecurity, Self-Concept and Self-Esteem, Guilt, Responsibility and Obligation, Engulfment and Confinement, Control and Assertiveness, Anger, and Stress. Within this framework, he presents journal-like vignettes, demonstrating first the emotional reaction to a specific event (a student criticizes him) with the rational antidote (his right to defend himself). Especially poignant is his long evolution from blaming his mother to forgiving her. He anchors his views with references to a variety of experts, clearly footnoted. What stands out is his brutal self-criticism and honesty, almost as if we’re eavesdropping on actual psychoanalytical office sessions. By using himself as an example, Dr. Godwin presents answers for anyone whose damaging childhood has created often debilitating struggles in adult life. Having traveled a bit on that route myself, I am grateful for this enlightening book: Surviving Our Parents’ Mistakes: Healing the Scars from Childhood Mistreatment, Second Edition by Larry Godwin, Ph.D.