New Book by Co-Founder is Announced

I’ve written much about the replacement child condition, and talked about it more in interviews and on this forum. In my new book, WHITE FLAG, I explore how generational trauma can have deep ramifications from one generation to the next. My own story, as I told it in Replacement Child – a memoir, touches on the traumatic event of the plane crash that killed my sister, gravely injured my other sister, and led to my being conceived “as the salve for the burns.” In writing it, I discovered the existence of replacement child syndrome and identified with many of the features of the condition. I prefer to call it a condition, because syndrome sounds so damn clinical. In reality, as we know, it’s an existential condition that affects many.

White Flag 3D Cover

Writing WHITE FLAG has had its own revelations for me. I always start out writing with some question I want to answer. In the case of this book, the question was why my sweet, loving niece became addicted to substances. Yes, she was part of the opioid epidemic, but truly it was whatever drug was available when she was using. Did our family tragedy play a part? Did her mother’s lifelong struggle and trauma filter down to her? Was there additional trauma in her life? What about her parents? Where the hell was I?  And, what is addiction anyway? Why can some people drink casually, or smoke weed, and never look for more? Why do others descend into the hell of substance use disorder?

Looking for these answers sent me on my own long journey of research, interviews and fact finding. There is so much written, and so much conflicting information, that it is difficult to cull what makes sense in any specific situation. I turned to Bessel Van der Kolk and his revered book, The Body Keeps the Score. I studied the writings of Dr. Gabor Maté, and especially his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. But those were just for starters, and led me to more and more questions about the complexities of addiction.

With all this said, I want to introduce my new book, WHITE FLAG, to my Replacement Child Forum family. WHITE FLAG is a personal story of how trauma can filter down through generations, how the added trauma of silence in a family feeds on itself, and how addiction can be the insidious child of abuse.

My true hope is that WHITE FLAG fosters more open discussion about treatment options, new attitudes toward those afflicted with substance use disorder, and offers a healing experience for readers.

WHITE FLAG is available for pre-order now, ahead of its official October 1, 2022 release.

You can find out more at judymandel.com and subscribe on the website for an excerpt and updates about the book.

Advance Praise for WHITE FLAG

“We rarely know the deeper ramifications of tragedy through people’s lives. Judy L. Mandel’s book WHITE FLAG shows us the true story of how the same tragedy I drew from for In The Unlikely Event spiraled through her family, giving a glimpse of the way trauma can be felt for generations.” 

  • Judy Blume

“Judy Mandel’s new memoir, WHITE FLAG, is both harrowing and heartbreaking.  It’s also strangely timely.  Though deeply personal and intimate, the book asks us all to consider our own agency – and lack thereof – when things go terribly wrong.”

  • Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, essayist and screenwriter. His most recent book is Chances Are . . .

“Judy Mandel’s second memoir, WHITE FLAG, plumbs the depths of the original generational trauma that affected not only Judy’s parents, but their children and grand-children. I have not read a memoir that so carefully and personally explores the difficulties associated with trying to help an addict find the proper treatment, when insurmountable obstacles — including the addict’s and the writer’s own denial — bar the way to peace and recovery. An extremely important and timely book that is a lifeline thrown out into the cold and unforgiving ocean that is our present time.”

  • Kaylie Jones, award-winning author of A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, Speak Now, Celeste Ascending, Lies My Mother Never Told Me, The Anger Meridian.

“Judy Mandel tells a most moving story of her niece’s descent into drug addiction and the author’s efforts to try to rescue her. This book opens our eyes and hearts: the suffering from trauma can be transmitted from one generation to the next generation. Cheryl was certainly affected by the suffering of her mother who was badly injured as a child when an airplane crashed into the family home. Judy was born after this horrific accident as a salve to her family’s wounds. The author offers a loving testimony to her family’s losses, to our human succumbing to suffering but also to our capacity for transcending tragedy by remembering and ultimately by surrendering ourselves to the life source. May this book enrich and deepen the reader’s life and may it still reach, in some mysterious loving ways, the soul of Cheryl and her family. In the tree of life it is never too late to remember and bring back to living memory all its branches.

  • Kristina Schellinski, M.A., Psychoanalyst and Teaching Supervisor with the C.G. Jung Institute Zürich, Küsnacht, and International School of Analytical Psychology, Zürich, Switzerland. She is the author of Individuation for Adult Replacement Children: Ways of Coming into Being.
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