Foreword Reviews

Adult Survivors of Toxic Family Members

Tools to Maintain Boundaries, Deal with Criticism, and Heal from Shame After Ties Have Been Cut

Sherrie Campbell’s Adult Survivors of Toxic Family Members equips people to maintain their health, even in the wake of damaging family relationships.

A source of encouragement to those who have experienced family abuse, the book discusses when and how to set no-contact boundaries—the central piece of its approach. Then it addresses the complicated, conflicting emotions, like relief and shame, that follow from cutting ties with a family member. Next it helps people to develop their senses of self, apart from their destructive relationships, focusing on safety, peace, and personal healing. It also gives practical advice for the period after ties are cut, including on how to handle family holidays and ongoing financial abuse, and how to nurture the remaining healthy relationships.

With each suggestion, the book conveys its deep understanding of toxic family relationships. It is conscious of how such relationships develop, as well as of the ideas that maintain them. As such, it is able to address the issue at its roots, rather than just suggesting means of modifying one’s behavior: toxic relationships, Campbell notes, rely on “groupthink,” where all thoughts and decisions are products of the whole family, not its individuals, discouraging the “creativity, independence, or individual responsibility of each family member.” Nuanced understandings of emotional, financial, and physical abuse in relationships with one’s parents, siblings, and children are also shared.

With a tone of unshakable support, the book takes a reassuring yet firm approach, intoning that abuse is not okay, and that people should not put up with it, no matter from whom it comes. Campbell supports each notion with personal experiences and research, including from social and behavioral psychology.

Adult Survivors of Toxic Family Members is a self-help guide to ending and healing from toxic relationships.

Reviewed by Melissa Wuske

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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