Woman hopes book on painful family dynamics helps other families heal

November 30, 2018 10:14 AM

Families came together on Thanksgiving to share a meal, celebrate their connections and appreciate their blessings. However, for some, family life wasn't ideal. Despite painful family dynamics, one woman hopes to help other families heal.

Bernadette Willis grew up in Roosevelt on Long Island. While affluence is found there, Willis says there's also another demographic – people who are usually very poor.


Her mom, a single mom of five kids, worked several jobs. However, the challenges caught up with her – and she turned to drugs.

"I basically watched my mom go from a very independent, warm woman to someone who was very bitter," recalled Willis. "I came to Albany to get away from my family."

Despite the chaos, she says she always knew that she could have a better life.

"I always believed or felt that what I was experiencing was not the way it was supposed to be," said Willis.

She studied social work and earned a degree from Russell Sage. This year, she revisited her class by writing a very personal book on family addiction, dysfunction and forgiveness.

She is getting a response. As the current epidemic of opioid addiction hangs over us, she's traveling, speaking and using the book as a way of helping families just talk.

"So many people stop me and just want to talk and they know they have the same experience – whether it being an adult sibling, or a parent or even an adult child," explained Willis.

MORE INFORMATION: Facebook: Bernadette Willis


Elaine Houston & WNYT Staff

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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