Breaking from Your Parents

“Breaking from Your Parents” (published in 2014) explores such topics as confronting parents, dealing with siblings, becoming financially independent, doing self-therapy to strengthen ourselves, grieving our losses, dealing with the world’s judgments and negative pressures, healing our childhood traumas, making respectful friends and living a healthy lifestyle. The book is direct, straightforward and supportive—and takes the point of view that there can be great value for us all in our taking distance from our parents.

At present it’s available as an paperback and Amazon Kindle and as a PDF download.

To see more of my ideas on this subject, feel free to peruse the following:


47 thoughts on “Breaking from Your Parents

  1. Dear Daniel,

    Thank you so much for bravely writing your wonderful book, Breaking From Your Parents. My husband and I learned of it first from our therapist, and it has been helpful to process through the unhealthy ties between children and parents and learning how to be our own people. Throughout my journey towards emotional healthiness, I started writing a book encouraging mothers to learn how to balance taking care of themselves, while at the same time looking after their young children. There are two quotes from Breaking From Your Parents which I would like to ask your permission to use in my manuscript, regarding parents sorting their emotional baggage before raising their own children. If possible, please would you kindly send me an email, so I can message you directly on the specific quotes requested.

    Many thanks,

    Joy Mead

      • Dear Daniel

        I just came across your youtube video, “Breaking up with your parents”, and I wanted to say Well Done for being true to Daniel.

        Also, thank you.

        I resonated with every single sentence you spoke.

        Watching the video and listening to you was the very first time I ever felt not alone in this weirdness.

        Best regards,
        Bianca from South Africa

  2. Hello daniel.
    Iam very intersted in your work. I am a psychiatrist from tunisia, i watched almost all your videos on youtubr and i agree with most of your ideas. I am very interested by this book and i wanna reaaly read it but i cannot have access to it from here. Can you please send me a pdf version if possible.

  3. Hello Daniel,

    A friend of mine sent me a couple of links to your videos a few weeks ago, as I was feeling stuck. I am truly, happily surprised to have found your voice.

    I have bought a copy of your book since then and am wondering if translations into French or German have been done.

    A sincere thank you in any case.

    • greetings Pallas — thank you for reaching out. alas, this book is only in English. if someone wanted to translate it into another language that would be great, but that hasn’t happened yet! all the best to you—-daniel

      • Hi Daniel,

        Thanks for your answer – from the comments on this page I was hoping that it had already happened. I’d be interested in helping, but have no particular degree, am just used to speaking a couple of languages. I may as well give it a try on the side.

        Your ideas about the trauma caused by parents and family has hit even closer to home in the past days. I learnt that the most visibly traumatized member of my family is prematurely terminally ill after decades of refusing to grow and being enabled by their parents to stay home in a perpetual state of arrested development.

        As a child who always felt responsible for the wellbeing of their parents and family, I am faced with the challenge of figuring a way to help and support without falling back into this role.


  4. Couldn’t find any other contact information on the website, so I’ll be asking you here. I have recently bought and read your book on breaking from your parents and have also watched the movie on Schizophrenia, and I would really love to chat with you or even talk if that’s possible. I’ve in therapy for around 5 years with 3 different therapists from time to time and was able to solve some of my problems but I still struggle great from what has been done to me. So my questions is actually not going to be about the recovery itself but I’m curious how you’ve managed to get a degree in counseling, practice it for some time and then switch to making movies and music at the same time. I would love to do something similar but it is hard to take myself seriously and I have a dogma that person has to commit to 1 or 2 things only in order to be good at something. So my question would be how did you manage to become free in regards what you want to do with your life and at the same time feel good about yourself and what you do. Thanks in advance.

  5. Hi Daniel,
    Thank you for writing, singing and filming such wildtruths. It’s a huge support on my way.
    As I am french I would like reread your book in my mother tongue and also share it with more people around me.
    Do you have a French translation?
    If not, can I help you to translate it?
    (same for the 12 steps)

    • hello arnaud–greetings! i’m not sure why i didn’t see this comment soon, but for some reason i missed it. i will write you backchannel. greetings! daniel

  6. Hi Daniel,
    I appreciate your work very much.

    I would like to get in contact with you regarding translating and publishing this book in my country. Breaking From Your Parents has done me a lot of good. It sure accomplished the goal you set in the introduction, of providing “a voice of support on your shoulder”. If I could, I would like to lend a hand in bringing this support to more people by the way of translation.

    If you find the time, please send me an email as I would like to know your basic view on this.


  7. Hello Daniel,
    I am really excited to have found your homepage and your book “Breaking from your parents”. My husband Alex and I both broke completely from our parents about 8 years ago.
    Some time ago, I started writing texts about this topic and about my whole healing journey and created a website for people who maybe resonate with it.
    Yesterday someone wrote me after reading my texts and recommended me your book.
    I only knew the books from Alice Miller and Susan Forward, so it’s great to have found you.
    Your book, your homepage and also your youtube-videos seem to be really inspiring, supporting and true. Thank you for this. This is so needed in this world.
    It’s amazing how your words speak to me and Alex and your message seems to be quite similar to mine. So maybe you are interested to read some of my texts, especially “Toxic Parents”, “False Forgiveness”, “Anger” and “Zombies” could be interesting for you:
    It would be great to get in contact. It is so rare to get to know people who really did this step – and with the same result: self-love and authenticity.
    All the best to you
    Verena (from Germany)

  8. Just reading this book for second time. Its so full of rare wisdom and honesty. I felt during my own psychotherapy training we need to confront our parents for their abuse and yet i seemed to be a lone voice. I alienated many of me peers with my “too radical approach” My own therapist suggested it would be too hurtful for my father to cut off contact with him. I now realise she was just playing out her own parental rescue fantasy (I love that term) . I did confront my father a number of times. My father claimed i was persecuting him more than the Nazis. I challenged him and he claimed he never said Nazis, but Germans (he’s a holocaust survivor) . I broke contact with my family for 6 months last summer and never felt better, although as you recommend, i had a good support structure.

    Im thinking of a longer separation as i still pick up on my father’s unworked through rage, even though our interactions are pleasant at a surface level, i somatise after i see him.

    Your book inspired me to write a blog article on being the son of someone that is both a survivor and uses the status of being a victim to get their needs met. Few if any speak up for the children of survivors and the emotional burden we carry. I feel Daniel is one of the few. If interested it can be read here:

  9. Hi Daniel,
    I’ve been working on finding my authentic self because life has been confusing and terrifying and lonely. I am coming to terms with my depression and anxiety. For the longest time, perhaps even as far as I can remember, I lived for my parents and others. I avoided my own childhood feelings because they were painful– I put so much value into the approval of others…I came across your Youtube videos and am currently reading your book, “Breaking from Your Parents”. I’m finding it really insightful. Thank you so much for taking your time to write this book from your heart. I want to grow to become a loving and real individual; your book came at the right time.

    • oh! how nice, Michelle. thank you for writing this. i remember when i wrote that book i wondered if anyone would actually read it and find value in it. i certainly thought many people from my past (and some from my present) would find me nutty or bitter for writing it. but i’m glad i did — and messages like yours remind me of why. thank you — and wishing you the best on your journey! daniel

  10. Well I’m sure that thought goes through your mind that the negative comments will deter people from purchasing the book, but I read them all and it didn’t deter me, so that’s a good sign! There isn’t much help out there for people like us… Through my searches I found your book and one other… The other had more reviews and about the same ratings but I felt and immediate draw to your book. I’m sure your supporters are die hard, and will suggest your material until the end of time! I mean what’s the alternative? Write a filtered, edited version of your thoughts book? Screw that! I have a random question for you, you can answer whenever you have time I know you’re so busy. 1. I’m working on my self therapy, what do you think I should do other than journaling and reflecting… Since through my experience and your advice I don’t want to waste my money on a therapist that is going to nod their head at me for an hour lol

    • thanks blaire… hmm………again, i’m not so big on advice……though i do think bad therapy is a big waste!! other than journaling and reflecting…….well……i would say (not to be facetious) but maybe the best person to answer those questions is you……through journaling and reflecting! that said…..i do have a whole self-therapy essay section here:

      also, a book on it too, which goes into some more detail….

      all the best!!

  11. Hey Daniel,
    I’ve been reading this book for about a week now… It really seems to give me a lot of comfort. I’ve been trying to follow a lot of your advice and I’ve been making time to journal. I was wondering if you know of some good things to get you started, I mean like entries almost? Things to get the honest juices flowing that will do the most good in the end. I noticed in the book you spoke about people emailing you and of course the needy child inside of me searched the internet for your email address, sometimes I feel so alone in the process of breaking away from my parents. I’d like to share my story with you sometime. If there is a better way to get in contact with you I’d greatly appreciate that. Thanks for all the help already. I admire your honesty and wish I could find a replica of you as a therapist! haha. Hope all is well. Blaire

    • hi blaire,
      greetings. i’m glad you’ve found some value in my book. well, i’m not on the web much right now — and am so busy. traveling in croatia….film screenings and whatnot…. i’m not sure about what to write in entries. a person i know and respect, hannah braime, has written a book on journaling you might like…. just in case!!
      wishing you the best!
      p.s. i hope my book doesn’t come across as too “advicey”……i intended more as just possible ideas….

      • I don’t think it’s too advicey at all. I read some reviews before purchasing it on my kindle and saw that someone’s comment was that your book was like a cult… Now reading your book and thinking back on that comment I first thought, wow this lunatic that said cult must clearly have not been damaged enough by his parents! Then further thinking about it, thought wow maybe he was a little too damaged. It’s not too advicey at all, its been really helpful and for that I thank you! And thank you for the link. I appreciate it. Don’t ever apologize for your honesty in your advise, people need to hear more honest opinions, pure truth and not sugar coated crap. Blaire

        • thanks blaire. hmm — i just went and read the amazon reviews — i hadn’t read them before….. actually i read the two negative ones. i saw one where someone accused me of having a cult. ah…that woman — she’s been following me around on the web commenting on everything i write, giving it one-star reviews — even though, oddly, when i’ve read what she writes on the web (aside from her comments on my writings) she actually agrees with a lot of what i say. basically, she’s furious that i criticized alice miller at all…..but what i have come to think is that it’s not just that i criticized alice miller, but that i criticized alice miller in a nuanced way….that is, that i really LIKE alice miller and think her writings are fantastic, but think alice miller had some real flaws in spite of her brilliance. that person loves alice miller 100%, no criticisms, and i guess i challenge her. i know you didn’t ask for any of this (all my writings about that criticism) but i guess this has been a perfect place for me to share some of what i’ve been thinking, because it’s weird and unpleasant for me to have that woman (and one or two others) following me around on the web making it part of their mission to make me look horrible or insane. so……thank you for giving me this (safer!) chance to express myself on this subject a bit, because it’s been nagging at me. greetings from croatia — where i am at the moment!!!! daniel

          • Sorry to bring to your attention the negative comments! Although sometimes it does seem that weird things happen right when you need to talk about them. I’m glad you got to get that off of your chest where some people can see it. Its odd how when people that are emotionally “damaged” for lack of a better term cling to one person that has somehow helped them in their journey, and make them think that person can do no wrong. For you to point out that you disagree with this woman, and that she is not in fact perfect doesn’t make your writing any less meaningful or at all cult like. It means that you see that everyone has flaws. People are internet bullies, don’t ever let that effect the way you write, the way you express your opinion. I’ve seen from other comments that you not only help me, but you help a lot of others, and you do that by being you. Thank you for the book selection of your friend on journaling. It is really interesting and is seeming to help. I know that I cannot give myself psychiatric help, lol but I just can’t find anyone I am comfortable talking to, my last psychologist was a young man and everything I said to him he just said, oh, and then what? how did that make you feel? It was freaking hopeless… I get more feedback from my dogs. So, i figured journaling would at least dig a little deeper than that guy. And like you said in your book, I spoke to this man about my family issues and he said the same crap everyone else does. ” Have you tried confronting your parents?” “Oh well, you only have one set of parents” “Forgiveness is very important” Blah Blah Blah. By the way…. your personal feelings on forgiveness really hit home with me. You’re absolutely right and it was so unbelievably refreshing for someone to say those words out loud. I mean seriously, how can forgiving someone repeatedly be healthy? After awhile its like the hand on the hot stove thing. Blah I’m rambling.

            • And so after leaving this comment I read the next few chapters in your book only to find that I I basically just described your therarapists! Our stories are so similar it’s scary. So back to the point, I know you’re busy in Croatia and I don’t mean to keep bombarding you but I was wondering if you knew of any therapists in the clevelans Ohio area that will “love my inner child” I couod really use that right now… I’m at the first stages of breaking away from my parents and I’m a heart broken mess. I’m fully committed this time and I think that’s what’s been so hard on me. Thanks again.

              • thanks blaire — i actually found myself surprised to appreciate so much your comment about “internet bullies.” i’ve never considered any of these nasty people who write nasty personal stuff about me to be internet bullies, but…..when you said it it actually hit home. you are correct! the funny thing is, i was a victim of some bullying as a kid, not just by other kids but by my father too. (sad to say, i became, for a thankfully somewhat short while, a bit of a bully myself — testing it out, perhaps…..erg… always felt kinda shitty and made me hate myself.) so it helped to see it that way. the frustrating thing about these internet bullies is that they actually accuse me of being the bully — against, for instance, alice miller. alas, no! what’s funny is that alice miller’s son describes her quite clearly a bully (to him), and i heard stories of her being a bit of a bully to others….yet many people who profess to side with the child cannot side with the child who is/was alice miller’s son when it comes to really seeing the flaws, still there late in life, in their idol. ah!! now i’m rambling.

                you asked about great therapists in cleveland. alas, i know almost no great therapists anywhere — much less anywhere in ohio. but if i hear of one i’ll let you know. all the best — daniel

                • I guess that just proves how cyclical abuse (bullying in this situation) can be… I’m glad you didn’t like bullying, I went through a similar thing myself. I’m sure to think of these people as bullies and remember that you yourself are not a bully than that might give their mean words a little less meaning? I’m not sure.. I’ve found that people who are too afraid to be a bully in real life tend to be super bullies when they are on the internet and have no fear of repercussions. Makes you almost even more mad. My mom is a huge bully :/ ugh.. I’ve referred your book to everyone who will listen, to every person that I know could use your raw honesty (which in my opinion this whole world needs raw honesty) I’m to the chapter in your book where you write about finding your best friend, and your friend helping you to realize how sick it is to run back to your parents… I’m in that realization phase right now…. I’m recognizing how sick I am for their love. How badly I want them to be the mommy and daddy I never had, to hold on to that feeling that maybe, just maybe they can change and become those parents that I need. I’m a recovering addict and I’d like to think that people can change, but at this point I’m very confident in saying that my parents will never change, unless they get Alzheimer’s and forget they’re assholes LOL. I don’t meant to flood you with comments I just can’t believe how much your book speaks to my situation, and in a way that I need to hear. It really hits home with me when you write about how that you as an adult need to learn to love and to care for yourself, that you don’t need your mommy and daddy for love as much as you think… I’m going to really work on that. I’m going to work on loving my true self, and to help my true self shine through all the shit they have put on me to cover it up. My true self makes them uncomfortable. I’m going to dig that self out from all the dirt they have thrown on top of it, find it, and set it out for the world to see. Like it or not hear it comes! haha. I can’t thank you enough for all you are doing for me in my journey. I hope that Croatia has been everything you hoped for! That you are meeting new people and hearing new stories, continuing to find your true self. Blaire

                • dig it Blaire — thanks. I appreciate your comments. i’m still on a healing process, for sure — so much of what you write still applies to me! meanwhile, my fear with those negative reviews is that it will turn people off to reading what i’ve written. i think that’s the point of those people giving such nasty and negative reviews…..and i actually wonder if they even read the book. but….such is life!! i can only keep plugging on and moving forward. meanwhile, fascinating stuff here in croatia… all the best, daniel

  12. Daniel all the best with your new book.

    As a mother and grandmother for whom family is key I find it very sad to think that people have to break with their families although I know it is the reality for some and maybe many. My family through 3 generations, my mother and father to my 3 sons, have had to engage with psychiatry, have been forcibly treated and have survived the experience, some of us by never going to a doctor again the rest of our lives (my father). My grandparents did what they could to support us when alive. I do the same for my sons and try to be there for them whenever they need me.

    And they have needed me to advocate for them in psychiatric settings. They call me the “big guns”. And so I have gone with them, when invited, to clinical meetings, and worn my flack vest. My boys trust me to do the business. They are everything to me although I admit that at times they have driven me to distraction. But that is the reality of being a mother. They have tested my limits and my patience. And me theirs no doubt. For we are all individuals in our own right with our own orbits. However when it comes down to it we stand with each other. And I will do until the end.

  13. Hi, have just finished reading Breaking from Your Parents — thank you for writing it — and would like to email you about it if that’s okay but I can’t find an email address for you. Can I email you through your facebook account?

  14. Would really like to buy ‘Breaking from your Parents’ but I don’t have kindle.
    Will you be publishing it in book format?

    • hi — hmm………i don’t think i’m going to be publishing it in book format. it is in PDF……. also, it’s pretty easy to download a kindle app for free. i downloaded the kindle app for the first time when i created this book — it’s pretty easy to use….. sorry though that it’s not in book format……ugh……..erg…… daniel

  15. Hi Daniel, there’s two brief messages I’d like to pass on to you.
    First of all, I notice that your manuscript for the breaking up with your parents book is as of yet unpublished. I am concerned that with your busy schedule it may remain permanently unpublished. That would be a great loss. There are many people who, after confronting their parents with past abuse and denial, find themselves rejected by their families and hitting a brick wall. There is currently nothing on the market that covers this topic. Your book on the matter provides much needed guidance and is a pioneering debut in this area. Please publish it.
    Second of all, I would like to thank you sincerely for putting up your earlier youtube videos covering topics such as confronting parents’ denial, denial in the family system, cults and the family system, and forgiveness and blame. I have found them very helpful for working through my issues and putting my situation in perspective. I am sure others have too.
    Keep up the good work,
    cheers B

    • hi Bas–
      cool! thanks for your comments. so — i’m actually basically done with the manuscript for the book on “breaking up with parents,” and it should be coming out shortly. weeks at the soonest….a month or two at the longest…. that’s my plans. wishing you the best at this end-of-the-year time. and happy soon-to-be 2014!

      • hi daniel.

        your message has even reached Germany that you’re writing to a hard „stuff“ – but dont forget to sleep – take your time because amazon there are also in 6 months 🙂 I buy the book – distributed in amazon ? and before I forget: a happy new year and all the best for YOU!

        embrance you wolfgang.

        PS. I found a new Slogan in context monster-parents or toxic people: „If you are talking with people over the right brain, just back away!“


      • Hi Daniel, that’s very good to hear. Well done on getting the manuscript finished and off to publication. Looking forward to reading the book.
        Best wishes for the new year

        • Hi Daniel, have you read Margaret Heffernan’s book on Wilful Blindness? See her TED talk video on youtube to get an idea. I can recommend it.

      • Hi Daniel, saw that your manuscript has been published. And it looks great too! Covering all the right topics. Very relieved to see it and can’t wait to start reading.
        I do have a question: I didn’t see it on the Apple iBooks store -will it be sold there? And if yes, do you have an indication as to when? If it won’t be available through iBooks I’ll get it through Amazon Kindle.
        Well done on getting it published,
        cheers B

    • Hi Daniel, I managed to get the pdf version of the book from your website just now. Looking forward to reading it 🙂
      cheers Bas

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