Synopses & Reviews
At least one-third of adult siblings in America suffer serious sibling strife. Instead of feelings of kinship and warmth for their closest of relatives, most brothers and sisters feel secret shame, rage, guilt, resentment, alienation, contempt, orperhaps worst of allcold indifference. When brothers and sisters dont get along, it can be far worse than bickering or the occasional fight. If you have a brother or sister, chances are you know this.
In Cains Legacy, recognized authority on sibling psychology Jeanne Safer explores the various levels of inter-sibling woes. Incorporating case studies, interviews, and insights from her own patient psychoanalysis, Safer examines the lives of siblings whose relationships fall along a vast spectrum, including criminal exploitation and manipulation, obligatory civility, mutual resentment, and estrangement. Anyone with a sibling knows their influence follows us from home and the bedroom to cocktail parties and the boardroom; when that influence is malign, it can doom us to a lifetime of sibling misery. The upshot of the books tour of terrors is insight into how to fix broken sibling relationships that deserve it, and how to completely sever those relationships that demand it. Taking a critical look at the most hard to define relationships, Cains Legacy is a prescriptive guide to navigating the darkness that might dwell in the hearts of our brothers and sisters.
An important contribution to the self-help bookshelf.”
Reeve Lindbergh, author of Forward From Here and Under a Wing
Cains Legacy is a compelling, deeply intelligent book about a subject all too often avoided: how destructive relationships between siblings can be, how much a bad sibling relationship can hurt us long after our childhood years are over, and what can be done to acknowledge and repair the damage. Dr. Jeanne Safer has made another courageous, illuminating journey into the dark places of family life.”
Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, author of The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss
In Cains Legacy, Jeanne Safer goes where at least a third of Americans fear to treadto their troubled and seemingly intransigent relationships with their adult siblings. Safer makes the powerful argument that our brothers and sisters have a profound influence on who we areeven when we appear to be disconnected. For siblings in strife to make peace with the past, and even forge a new present, requires clear-eyed plumbing of the nature of the connection, says Safer. Cains Legacy shows you how.”
Douglas Mock, George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, and author of More Than Kin and Less Than Kind: The Evolution of Human Conflict
In Cains Legacy Jeanne Safer unravels the complex emotional dynamics of human sibling relationships. And Im glad she doeswhile most of us make a hash of our dealings with sibs, it helps to know that others are muddling through these issues as well. Her insights on family social tensions help us to understand the incomprehensible.”
New York Journal of Books
Psychotherapist Jeanne Safers Cains Legacy is highly recommended for those who want to think about siblings in a new way, as well as get critical insights into the area of sibling strife, its causes, and potential remedies. Dr. Safer digs deep into the world of sibling strife and makes this complex, emotionally charged area accessible to the reader through exceptional organization and conceptual clarity.”
Winnipeg Free Press
Cains Legacy is an engaging albeit sometimes disturbing exploration of the complex lives of human siblings.... For those suffering troubled relationships with brothers and sisters, Cains Legacy may open a door to understanding why and just perhaps the path to reconciliation.”
Midwest Book Review
Case studies and interviews blend with insights from the authors own psychotherapy practice in this powerful guide.”
Bonds between brothers and sisters are among the longest lasting and most emotionally significant of human relationships. But while 45 percent of adults struggle with serious sibling strife, few discuss it openly. Even fewer resolve it to their satisfaction. In Cain’s Legacy, psychotherapist Jeanne Safer, a recognized authority on sibling psychology (and an estranged sister herself) illuminates this pervasive but hidden phenomenon. She explores the roots of inter-sibling woes, from siblicide in the book of Genesis to tensions in Freud’s family history. Drawing on sixty in-depth interviews with adult siblings struggling with conflicts over money, family businesses, aging parents, contentious wills, unhealed childhood wounds, and blocked communication, Safer provides compassionate guidance to brothers and sisters whose relationship is broken. She helps siblings overcome their paralysis and pain, revealing how they can come to terms with the one peer relationship they can never sever—even if they never see each other again. A heartfelt look at a too-often avoided topic, Cain’s Legacy is a sympathetic and clear-eyed guide to navigating the darkness separating us from our brothers and sisters.
Shining a light on the darkness of failed sibling relationships
About the Author
Jeanne Safer, Ph.D., has been a psychotherapist for thirty-eight years. She is the author of The Normal One, Death Benefits, Beyond Motherhood, and Forgiving and Not Forgiving. She appears frequently on television and radio and lectures widely. She has written for O: The Oprah Magazine, More, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She lives in New York City.