Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward

My experiments with truths

51p2xsvkkzl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Photo: Amazon

In this book, the author takes us into the minds of emotionally unavailable, over-controlling, dominating, neglectful, alcoholic, manipulative, verbally and physically abusive parents, whose actions stop children from living a happy, free and functional life. You may think that this doesn’t apply to you because you had a great childhood and great parents, but I would still urge you to read it because toxicity is not limited to parent-child relationships and even if ALL of your relationships are healthy, it is a good idea to read this because there might be many many people around you who have toxic parents. And if you live in a country like India, it is highly likely that your parents or your relatives use guilt, fear and many other things to manipulate you. But I must say that this book contains a lot of disturbing content. Parts of this book explores incest, rape and…

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15 Comments

  1. I have this book. I find it to be terrifically validating. When you grow up emotionally abused, you’re trained that your point of view is completely unimportant, maybe irrelevant. Yes, irrelevant. I read this book with my head nodding up and down on my shoulders like one of those bobbly head car dolls, Going yep, yep, yep….yep. Aha, so my impressions are real after all. Great book, great choice 👍

    1. This book is still on my purchase list, but I do have Mothers Who Can’t Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters that was published after Toxic Parents. It’s very, very good. I highly recommend this one to daughters who grew up with narcissistic mothers.

      1. I’ll have to get that one. Our family is a study in intergenerational abuse.

      2. I’m convinced that mine is too.

      3. How not? We never had healthy role models. Our mothers took their cues from THEIR mothers…

        When I was five months pregnant with my son it hit me over the head hard, that if I didn’t do something proactive, I would certainly do the reenactment. I threw myself into therapy. I can’t say I managed to change history entirely, but at least I never called him horrible names. I never gave him the silent treatment. I have never lied to him. So OK, I’m human. I’m sure I messed up plenty. I’m hopeful that at least bringing this thing into consciousness will effect some change. I’m hopeful that if each generation improves upon the last, perhaps by the End of Days we will have it figured out 😉

      4. I do think awareness and acknowledgment is the key to bring about change for future generations. What I hadn’t counted on was my children choosing mates with these same characteristics, which makes my mission harder–not impossible, just harder.

      5. That’s got to be rough. I’ve learned a lot from the relationships my son chooses…I see myself in them, and cringe…each one is an avatar of an aspect of “me” that, try as I might, I clearly have not managed to exorcise. I need psychic surgery! The baton has passed to our children. Do you have any insights on whether it is possible to help our children navigate this legacy?

        Are you aware of Imago Therapy?

      6. Unfortunately I do not other than awareness and acknowledgment, so their children won’t be marred by their choices. It’s a slow process. No I’m not aware of Imago Therapy.

      7. Thank you so much for this link.

      8. You’re welcome. My therapist uses the Imago workbooks in couples therapy. In fact, that’s how I met her: I was in a relationship that felt like being repeatedly hit over the head with a very familiar hammer. The same for my partner. We did the Imago work, but he freaked out and rejected the whole premise….Narc alert!!! I bailed, haven’t missed him, dodged a bullet thanks to my therapist and good ol’ Harville Hendricks

  2. I have both Toxic Parenting and Mother’s Who Can’t Love. Dr. Susan Forward’s books are very enlightening and validating.

  3. Great book Lynette. 🙂

    1. Mothers Who Can’t Love, the one Dr. Forward published after that is pretty good too!

      1. Thanks for that Lynette. 🙂

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