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The Troubling Designs of their Lives

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Neurotic Children as Adults is a guide to help parents understand themselves and in effect become better parents. Why was this an important book for you to write?

After several decades of professional experience with clients who had been overtaken by serious neurotic disturbances in both their social and intimate partner relationships, along with damaging perceptions of self-worth, and with lives simply going nowhere, it was as clear as the noonday sun how maternal deficiencies and abject parental failures, often from day one, determined the troubling designs of their lives as adults. Inasmuch as I had written this book for young parents whose intentions were essentially very positive but whose own histories perhaps lacked bonding experiences, the experience of worthiness, and a recognition of their most fundamental security needs, it was also written for the adults who might identify with people described on these pages and grasp what had so mangled their own lives. True, genuinely absorbed awareness of what was responsible for the neurotic designs in their personalities offers, in effect, the only leverage permitting lasting therapeutic adjustments.

What do you feel is one common misconception people have about parenting?

Parents rarely grasp the degree to which a child is powerfully molded by just about everything that defines its earliest home environment. Up until about the age of eight the parents are seen as the life models with which they must identify and emulate. Later they may insist that the very opposite is true, but the patterns are effectively ingrained.The early experience of an unstable home environment, grievous emotional scarring, serious and prolonged parental discord produces children who, as adults, are without the capacity to experience true joy in any area of their lives.

I thought you showed a solid grasp of psychology and behaviorism. What background in education or experience do you have that helped you write this book?

A Ph.D. in the behavioral sciences, many decades of private clinical experience and almost as many decades lecturing on these experiences. The last decade included laboratory work in psychiatric hospitals and papers on biometric diagnostic procedures published in academic psychiatric journals.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

When therapy fails it is largely because the therapist has no idea what may be at the root of his, or her, client’s distress. The therapist is entirely without access to the history of the client’s earliest pre-conscious experiences – information that is almost always vital in grasping the very reasons why that person had been moved to invite professional intervention. What sets this book apart from every other in the genre of child development and parenting issues are the perfect links it presents between very specific infant/child stress experiences, and equally specific disturbing attitudes and behaviors in the adult. Nothing is ever lost to memory even such as transpired in the earliest development phases. This work is intended, in the main, as a guide for the genuinely devoted parents of infants and young children. At the same time it delivers clear answers to adults weighed under by lives going nowhere and suffering anxieties of an unforgiving nature.

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Neurotic Children as Adults

“It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”

This right here is an accurate summary of the purpose of this book. The kind of adults children grow into is entirely dependent on how they are brought upon. According to Arnold Holtzman, nothing is ever truly forgotten. There is always a subconscious memory of childhood comforts. For this reason, something as simple as interrupting the comfort and joy of suckling can have deeply etched effects on the child. Effects that run into adulthood.

The author introduces the idea of the mother from hell and the mother from heaven. The mother from heaven instinctively cares for her child. Her physical and emotional connection with her child is real and almost tangible. Even when she is chastising the child, he or she can still see the love and affection in her eyes. The mother from hell does not take the time to build this bond. They let their own demons color their interactions with their child.

Over the years, behavioral disorders have been defined differently. It seems that every few years a different disorder becomes the it-thing. A look at the root and basis of all these disorders reveals that they are all as a result of parenting from hell. They are all a result of some form of deficiency in childhood. It all comes down to the experience in formative years. All the way from infancy, not just when the child learns how to speak.

The author obviously has a good understanding of psychology and behaviorism. His understanding is obvious in the way he relays his message. He does not just regurgitate the information from textbooks but rather lays out his understanding in simpler terms. He does this in simple language. The prose flows freely. This is a subject requiring a strong voice. The author is unapologetic but not arrogant or offensive. This book has depth. It is not an overview. It is a breakdown of the subject matter. It is a contribution to a discussion. It is not a lecture.

This book has several examples of adults with behavioral issues deeply rooted in developmental deficiency. His description of each one of these cases is vivid and revealing. These cases are relatable. More often than not, the reader will recognize his or herself in Janice or Cheryl. If one is already a mother they will recognize how their childhood played a part into making them into this kind of adult. Hopefully, that will help their own relationship with their child so that they will not grow into such an adult.

Being a parent is often tinged with doubt. No one stops to tell a parent they are doing a good job. They only ever stop to make judgment when something looks wrong. This means that life as a parent is uncertain. One can never know if they are doing it right, they can only hope. This book is that much needed assurance and guidance. Children are the future. This book is one way of ensuring the adults of the future are emotionally and psychologically healthy. Five stars out of five for this book. It is incredibly helpful. It is not judgmental. It is apt and fitting. If there were more stars, Neurotic Children as Adults would be deserving.

Pages: 286 | ISBN: 198169692X

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Allegories of Biblical Narratives

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

Arnold Holtzman Author Interview

The End of Days follows the tragic story of Avrum as he spends his young life making his way to America to build a life for himself and hoping to reunite with his brother. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional novel?

TO THE END OF DAYS can best be understood when the characters and episodes are visualized as allegories of biblical narratives. The saga begins with the covenant between God and Abraham (through his mother). That covenant is in effect a prophesy that foretells of the forced separation between the brothers (the separation between the tribe of Judah and the “lost”, or dispersed tribes of Israel – and their eventual reunification.

Avrum and his brother share a tight bond with one another that I truly appreciated. What were some themes that guided you when creating their relationship?

Ianuk, the giant lumberman at the start of the story is the Pharoah of biblical Egypt who held Avraham (the Hebrews) for those years in slavery. The Hebrews then cross the Red Sea to the land of Can’nan (here the water crossed is the Atlantic – and America is the “promised” land). Bella reflects the infamous Golden Calf, Fanny represents the extremely fanatic biblical clerics obsessed with purity (the Essens) – those responsible for the destruction of the temple and the loss of Jerusalem. “The Doctor” (among the woodsman) and “Strulevitch” in Montreal represent Sodom and Gomorrah. Israel’s prophets are represented in Kapitolnik. Avram’s battle with the street gang that so violated Fanny reflects the wars of Israel against those who had so violated the Holy Land and Jerusalem and successfully redeemed it – bonding with an evolved Fanny. The reunion at that time between Avrum and his brother reflects the reunion between all the tribes of Israel in the rebirth of the land (the ingathering of the exiles)

I felt myself immersed in the sights and sounds of early 1900’s America. What kind of research did you do to ensure you maintained accuracy?

I am 80 years old born in Montreal to parents who reached Montreal in the 20″s. No research was necessary.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

There are 2 other books I would like to share with you: Dead-End Sex – 42 accounts from the 42 years of my clinical work as a psychologist. These introduce serious problems with intimacy and failures in relationships, and explaining their core failures. Neurotic Children as Adults: a book as much for people who suffer their lives going nowhere as for truly caring mothers of young infants.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

To the End of Days is a pulsing theater rich with allegories of Old Testament narratives. This is the story of a heritage delivered by a mother to her very young sons in the last hours of her life. It is a heritage which man could not modify, time could not temper, and the expanse of oceans could not distance from their lives. This is a book of secrets. The steamy alchemy of will, fate, and destiny deliver a kaleidoscope of everything human and inhuman in man. It is an epic saga charged with life and the thick rich of blood. where lawlessness and anarchy are the vehicles of timeless and inexorable laws of this universe. But all that was promised becomes delivered.

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To the End of Days


When the Cossacks invade their village, young Avrum and his brother Hershel manage to hide and survive the attacks which kill more than 80 members of their small Polish community. Trying to gather their wits about them and come to terms with the deaths of both parents, the two boys decide to make their way to the synagogue in Lvov. The road to Lvov is paved with one horror after another, and a harrowing experience at the home of a decrepit old woman leads to the brothers’ ultimate separation. Avrum, the tragic main character in Arnold Holtzman’s To The End of Days, spends the better part of his young life making his way to America to build a life for himself and, hoping beyond hope, to reunite with Hershel.

Holtzman has the striking ability to appeal to all of the reader’s senses through his writing. The scene in which Avrum and Hershel are fighting for their lives at the cottage of the old woman is particularly gripping. I was utterly repulsed by the vivid descriptions of the vile woman and the filth in which she lived. As horrific as the circumstances were, I was unable to tear myself away from this disturbing string of events. The same can be said for each stage in Avrum’s life. As he moves across the country and eventually on to North America, each new circumstance brings rich details, vivid images of despair, and poignant scenes of his struggle as an immigrant.

The various settings described throughout Avrum’s journey are exceptionally well-written. At every turn, I felt myself immersed in the sights and sounds of early 1900’s America and the Jewish culture. Holtzman leaves nothing to the imagination which, in turn, leaves the reader more time to focus on the plot surrounding Avrum and the subplot focusing on Fanny.

Avrum captured my heart from the moment he and Hershel faced the fate of their mother. His heart-wrenching grief and his determination to find his brother dominate his life for years, and are the driving force behind everything he does from finding work and wrestling when offered the opportunity to pursuing every lead no matter how futile it may seem. Avrum’s strength is unmatched.

Bella is not a character I enjoyed–but I wasn’t supposed to feel warm toward her. Holtzman has done a phenomenal job creating a selfish, arrogant, and needy female match for unlucky Avrum. Though she doesn’t make her true intentions known until much later in her relationship with Avrum, I admit I was suspicious of her from the beginning. She is one of those characters who is far too concerned with making herself understood and appreciated. The author has succeeded phenomenally in creating a character worthy and deserving of the reader’s loathing.

Intermingled with the characteristics of historical fiction is a pleasing amount of mystery. Avrum encounters numerous clues to Hershel’s fate throughout the years, but the author skillfully weaves a web of subplots while redirecting the reader’s attention. Even to the final pages, I was yet unsure of poor Hershel’s fate. Kudos to Holtzman–this is how I prefer my fiction.

Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the insanely detailed descriptions of the havoc wreaked by the Cossacks and the accuracy regarding the Jewish culture. Avrum and Hershel represent everything that was wrong with this period in world history and everything that can go incredibly right when a man remains unfailingly loyal to his family.

Pages: 410 | ASIN: 1977981844

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