Fatherless Sons: Healing the Legacy of Loss Hardcover – 22 Sep 2006
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Diamond′s father, whose lectures at Princeton were noted for their humor, was also a batterer who abused his wives and children. Psychotherapist Diamond′s moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath. The author also discusses the role his mother played, despite her lifelong alcoholism, in protecting him from his father′s episodic, mercurial rage. The author′s father contacted and attended meetings of a batterer′s program shortly before he died, which permitted Diamond to feel compassion and love for his parent. His childhood experiences have made Diamond constantly aware of how he expresses anger toward his own young sons. Interwoven with stories about his father are the experiences of other men, drawn from the author′s practice, that illuminate a son′s trauma when he is faced with the death of a male parent. One man, who at the age of 15 discovered his father hanging from a beam in the basement, deals 25 years later with the fact that his father, beloved by family and neighbors, was often depressed. For Diamond, his father left one positive legacy, a physically demonstrative nature. Diamond recommends physical affection between father and son, saying "[h]ugging is one of the best ways... to introduce hope into a strained or broken relationship...."(Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006)
"Diamond′s moving account of his relationship with his father is a nuanced exploration of mourning and its aftermath." (Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006)
From the Inside Flap
Years of training and a successful psychotherapy practice taught Jonathan Diamond how to guide others through the grieving process. Then he learned his own father, with whom he shared a tumultuous relationship, was dying. Suddenly, Diamond found himself ambushed by the intensity of his own feelings. The son of a popular Princeton professor, Diamond alone knew what his father′s adoring students and admiring colleagues did not: the explosive rage, the outbursts of violence, the unbearable anxietyand the equally fierce love that father and son felt for each other nonetheless.
For men whose relationship with their fathers has been marred by conflict, abuse, or indifference, death extinguishes any hope of really knowing the man. Even before their fathers die, these men′s grief is more about the loss of what could have been than the loss of what was. Many try to escape their feelings with anger or avoidance only to find that neither brings relief.
While navigating his own emotions, Diamond discovered that mourning a violent and abusive father becomes an attempt to take back what was stolenan act of defiance and hope. In Fatherless Sons, the author shares with great candor his personal journey through this largely uncharted territory. Drawing upon his own experiences and those shared by his clients, Diamond provides tools for untangling the confusion in the father–son relationship, releasing the past, and celebrating the good. On this road, many men will discover for the first time an opportunity to make peace with their deceased fathers, interrupt the cycle of violence, and free their own children from a legacy of unfinished grieving and unacknowledged pain.
Whether it is yourself you see in these pages or someone you love, here you will find many moving, illuminating, and ultimately redemptive stories framed by Diamond′s vivid analysis and reflections. Men and those who love them will find Fatherless Sons a powerful celebration of healing and a path to reconciliation and acceptance.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Diamond, a gifted psychotherapist and teacher, describes his own journey in healing from the death of his dearly loved father to cancer, not long after he became a father himself. His father, Malcolm Diamond, an attentive parent and beloved Princeton professor, had a darker side as sometimes physically and emotionally abusive, which renders his son's grieving more complicated. Diamond punctuates the book's self-help lessons with reflections on various scenes of his life with his dad interspersed throughout-- by turns tender, joyous and violent.
Diamond takes on the tough and complex issues of fatherloss: dealing with the death of fathers who have been absent or abusive, the influence of race, class and sexual orientation and the profound spiritual questions that the death of the father raises. The author also draws upon the stories of many men who have lost their fathers. He weaves their narratives with his own to make his central point: "To those whose fathers are already gone, the book illuminates the possibility for a second chance--an opportunity for rediscovery--for men to feel compassion and forgiveness for their fathers and thereby free themselves from the emotional bonds that keep their present tied in knots, their future out of reach, and their past chained to a wounded soul."
Besides gathering knowledge from his own and other men's stories, Diamond taps into the vast collection of insight across time and culture from writers and thinkers as diverse as Martin Buber and Anne Lamott, Sigmund Freud and Bob Dylan, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Alice Walker.
"Fatherless Sons" is definitely worth buying and reading if you have lost your father to death or love someone who has. Diamond's book is a beacon to navigate by in the confusing waters of grief.
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