Another encounter with adult children of divorce, or ACODs (see Berman's Adult Children of Divorce Speak Out, reviewed above), but one that offers significant expertise in analyzing and resolving the problems. Though Fassel insists on referring to her subjects as ACODs (Adult Children of Divorce), which makes them sound like a Pentagon weapons delivery system, this is nonetheless an authoritative look at adults who continue to suffer feelings of isolation, abandonment, and more as a result of their parents' divorces. Fassel, who has been a mediator and counselor for divorcing couples and has also studied and written about addiction, interviewed hundreds of subjects by mail and in person. She found, as did Berman, a constellation of symptoms that were rooted in the trauma of divorce. The strength of symptoms varied depending on the child's age at the time of divorce and the circumstances of the break-up. Not all characteristics were negative—independence and resilience of character are often evident. Fassel recommends some of the techniques used by recovering addicts, including 12-step group programs like A.A., to help men and women still troubled by shattered families. She also faults society, which stigmatizes divorce because it holds on to the myth of the intact family as a model. Perceptive and pointed, Fassel's observations and advice are hardheaded but not hardhearted. An excellent first step for ACODs in search of support.
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