The Breakdown of an All-American Family

by Lon Woodbury on August 18, 2014

  Guest Blogger:  Saleem Rana

Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview by Lon Woodbury


Mary Romero, author of “The Breakdown of an All-American Family,” was interviewed by Lon Woodbury on Parent Choices for Struggling Teens hosted on L.A. Talk Radio, and during the show she shared intimate details of her own personal experience concerning the breakdown of an All-American family.   Growing up in an abusive household as both the victim of abuse and witness of her mother’s abuse, she shared how children suffer under these traumatic circumstances.

The host of Parent Choices for Struggling Teens, Lon Woodbury, is an Independent Educational Consultant and publishes the well-known Woodbury Reports.  He has worked with families and struggling teens since 1984.  He has authored numerous books to help parents with at-risk teens.

About Mary Romero

Mary Romero holds an AAS in Human Services and Police Science, a CSC for Substance Abuse Assistance, and a CSC in Administration of Justice.  Additionally, she has trained in Dialectical Behavior therapy.  As an active Life Coach and the author of “The Breakdown of an All American Family: an autobiography of child abuse, domestic violence and recovery, ” she has an intimate understanding of the subject.  Today, she has used her traumatic experience to help others through her work in conflict resolution with juvenile and adult populations.  Mary teaches her clients how to be present in their lives, rather than constantly dwelling on their traumatic past.

A Firsthand Account of the Breakdown of An All-American Family

Mary said that her autobiography has actually been a lifetime process for her because she had to face her own personal issues when narrating her experience.   She was encouraged to write the book by her own children when they were older.  She described how physical, verbal, and emotional abuse made children hypervigilant and incapable of developing positive relationship or creating functional lives as adults because of a pervasive lack of trust.  Consistent abuse degraded children’s sense of self-worth and they often had either attachment or detachment disorders.

Besides child abuse, witnessing domestic abuse is equally damaging.  Children feel frightened and helpless.   “For me, I held it in,” she said, “I was small and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I would talk to my other siblings about it and they would say, ‘it is not our business.  Dad does it all the time.’”   She also described the conspiracy of silence around abuse.  “There is a real sense of powerlessness and danger when that happens. As a child, you learn real fast to keep your mouth shut, because if you don’t, the abuse will get worse!”

Writing the book helped Mary heal her own suppressed emotions, although some of her siblings were uncomfortable that she had disclosed the family secrets.  Mary believes the book will help other adults who were once victims of childhood abuse and hopefully prevent the cycle of abuse continuing from one generation to another.  Ultimately, “The Breakdown of an All-American Family” is a book that is intended to expose the secretive violence that happens in many American homes.

The full interview titled “Breakdown of an All-American Family” with Mary Romero, 804-651-4869, can be heard at

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