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Susan Forward - "Toxic Parents"

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Fireball72 posted 12/10/2013 09:28 AM

I was recently recommended a book called "Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life" by Susan Forward. Some here might know that my parents (both of them) are/have been pretty abusive (mother emotionally/mentally, father absent).

Has anyone ever read this book, or gotten anything out of it? I'm just curious - I've heard of this author but haven't ever read anything by her.


Jrazz posted 12/10/2013 13:01 PM

Crazz read "Toxic Parents" and we both read "Toxic Inlaws."

Very illuminating. I highly recommend these books. They fall in line with everything our counselors are saying as well. It really helps someone who's codependent on their parents learn to detach.

DixieD posted 12/10/2013 13:50 PM

Both my husband and I read Toxic Parents. It's a good book.

It was easy to see specific parents leap off the page, and dive into various reasons why (we) behave as we do with them.

To come to terms and deal with them whether they are living or deceased, you have current contact or you don't, and to realize that they are who they are and they will not change even if you confront them. Getting them to or expecting them to change is not the end goal in confrontation.

Susan Forward has lots of good books. We read Emotional Blackmail too. Described my MIL very well. So, therefore Toxic Inlaws is on my reading list too.

Also read Obsessive Love to have a greater understanding of the 'bunny boiler' type of AP.

persevere posted 1/1/2014 17:05 PM

I read Toxic Parents - good book. It really helped me to create appropriate boundaries with my mom.

Fireball72 posted 1/1/2014 19:31 PM

I finished it a couple of days ago. It brought me to tears, mainly because I recognized so much of my mother in that book - and I started to seriously wonder if my mother is NPD. So I've started researching a little about it, but I don't know where to start. All that I know for sure is that daughters of NPD mothers have serious issues, including codependency (I'm now reading "Codependent No More" and I see so much of myself in it).

Can anyone recommend books specifically dealing with NPD, especially NPD parents/mothers?


DixieD posted 1/2/2014 11:09 AM

Fireball, it's good you could recognize things in Toxic Parents. Codependent No More is a great book too.

I've not read it but I've seen it on Amazon's suggestions list..... Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Dr. Karyl McBride

I didn't get all the way through Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown. It didn't keep my interest, perhaps because it was an audiobook.

I have Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss but haven't read it yet.

I've heard good things about Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy T. Behary

Hope that helps

persevere posted 1/2/2014 21:40 PM

It was very helpful to me with boundaries with my mom, and she's responded well to them, but now the issue is that she's getting older and the dynamics are changing to me needing to care for her more, and this includes financially. And I don't recall the book addressing that. Anyone have a book for Toxic Parents who then need their kids to care for them? It's a tough dynamic.

Cally60 posted 1/4/2014 12:43 PM

Another book that I found interesting was Difficult Mothers: Understanding and Overcoming Their Power by Terri Apter.

The following newspaper article will tell you more about the content:

Fireball72 posted 1/4/2014 20:23 PM

Thanks for the recommendations, all. I plan on purchasing all of what you've suggested, and more.

I had to spend the day with my mother fixing a problem that, of course, needed "immediate" attention, and I could see more and more how NPD traits fit her. I was absolutely chilled by how accurate the descriptions are.

Not a good thing to live with, but better that I've started looking into it now so that I'll know (or at least figure out) better coping skills.


DixieD posted 1/5/2014 09:42 AM

Persevere, that is a tough spot. The only suggestion I have are books like Codependent No More or ones on boundaries that may be helpful to keep you on your toes and stop you from overdoing it, giving too much or being taken advantage of.

Fireball72, it's hard dealing with a NPD. Saw my MIL recently. WOW. It is helpful when you can identify it and have a better sense of what is happening before your eyes. It's helped me not get sucked into her behavior or comments.

Good luck

Fireball72 posted 1/5/2014 11:11 AM

Persevere, I'm in the same situation as you are. The books that I'm reading are helping me to identify the issues that underly our interactions (which, up until now, I didn't even know about), so I figure that I'll get to the "caretaking" part of it sooner or later.

I grew up seriously thinking that there was something wrong with ME - that I could never do anything right or please my mother in any way. One of the most shocking things I ever read was a "list" of phrases that NPD parents tend to use, and one of those phrases listed was the EXACT SAME WORDS that my mother used with me as a child -

"Look at Sarah Bernhardt, hamming it up again!"

Now, that's a pretty specific phrase, and one that I thought was just individual to my mother - but, no. It was on the list (in a different way, but still on the list) - and I blanched. My mouth literally dropped to the FLOOR. Instant tears. Really!

To this day, the word "melodramatic" makes me trigger VERY, very hard. How can you call a four year old melodramatic?

Anyway, sorry for the threadjack. I figure that when the time comes where I need to be more hands-on involved in my mother's care... this sounds really bad, but I figure that she's dependent on me and if I've had enough of her antics, I'll just walk away and she won't get what she wants (which will force her to toe the line, so to speak). That's how I'm planning to handle it - for now. Unless I can come up with a better strategy in my readings.

I'm sorry we're all in this position.

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