A story of resilience...
A look at what childhood is like
growing up with mentally ill mom, and an
exploration of the aftermath for adults

Available Now on Amazon

About Alice Kenny

Alice M. Kenny (pseudonym) is a Philadelphia-born journalist. Her credentials include contributing freelance articles to a major Philadelphia daily newspaper on medical, family, social, and psychological issues . . . now she’s sharing her story.

Read Her Story


Crazy Was All I Ever Knew explores the impact of maternal mental illness on children through memoir and research. CRAZY WAS ALL I EVER KNEW intersperses episodes from my childhood with research on the risks faced by children of mentally ill moms, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in general, and the science of resilience. It sends a message of hope to children of mentally ill moms. Resilience can be built at any age.

Available Now on Amazon

From Alice's Blog

Children Who Get Hugs Tend to Become Happier Adults

As it turns out, hugs, cuddles, and comforting words, can help mitigate the effects of toxic stress for kids of all ages. As noted in the Newsweek article, “Yes, Stress Really Is Making You Sick,” the effects of childhood adversity “can be blunted by emotional ‘buffering’—a response from a loving, supportive caregiver that comforts the child, restores a sense of safety and allows cortisol levels to fall back down to normal. Some research suggests that this buffering works in part because a good hug—or even soft reassuring words from a caregiver—can cause the body to release the hormone oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the ‘cuddle ’or ‘love’ hormone.”

Read More

The Cinderella Phenomenon: When One Child Is the Target of Abuse

Why would a parent single out one child for abuse? Byron Egeland, an expert in child maltreatment at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, says, “Reasons for the abuse are highly varied, and there is no consistent pattern across maltreatment cases.” Accumulated research shows the Cinderella Phenomenon often involves redirection of anger that an abusive parent feels toward someone else—perhaps an absent spouse or former partner. The targeted child may remind the parent of a trauma he or she experienced, such as rape or their own abuse.

Read More

When Mommies Berate and Belittle

If you were psychologically abused, but lucky enough to have one caring adult in your life, this supportive relationship could have compensated for the emotional abuse you endured. As noted by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, supportive relationships with adults, adaptive skill building, and positive experiences enable children who experience ACEs to build resilience.

Read More

Reach Out to Alice

Fill out the form below, and Alice will get back to you.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.