Transitional Character
July 7, 2015
Transitional Character

Dear Dr. Laura, 

I am my kid's mom and my husband's girlfriend. As a young adult, I listened to your program primarily for entertainment purposes. It was fun to hear you rip into self-absorbed, arrogant callers. Now as a SAHM, I appreciate the wisdom and guidance you give countless families every day. 

Over the years, you've revealed in guarded moments bits and pieces of your childhood. I think it's safe to say that life with your family of origin was less-than-ideal. Even though you come across as having a hard shell at times, I know you have a tender and compassionate heart. I read your book "Bad Childhood, Good Life" and couldn't help but think you were writing from a position of experience. 

This past week, I had an epiphany about why you are doing your program. It's not for entertainment, it's not for kicks and giggles, it's not even for the fun of ripping new ones into callers. Are you familiar with the term, "transitional character"?  A transitional character is one who, in a single generation, changes the entire course of a lineage. The changes might be for good or ill, but the most noteworthy examples are those individuals who grow up in an abusive, emotionally destructive environment and who somehow find a way to metabolize the poison and refuse to pass it on to their children. They break the mold. They refute the observation that abused children become abusive parents; that the children of alcoholics become alcoholic adults, that "the sins of the fathers are visited upon the heads of children to the third and fourth generation." Their contribution to humanity is to filter the destructiveness out of their own lineage so the generations downstream will have a supportive foundation upon which to build productive lives. I think you are the very definition of a transitional character. You experienced a dysfunctional family without BEING dysfunctional. You experienced failure without BEING a failure. And you refused to pass along to your son the destructive messages you received in your childhood. Not only that, but you are encouraging, pleading, and DEMANDING others to step up to the plate and be transitional characters themselves. 

I thank you for all that you do, and for being an example for good, to so many. 


Quote source: Carlfred Broderick 1932-1999, psychologist and marriage/family scholar at USC.

Posted by Staff at 10:58 AM