Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Category: Relationships
Author: Lindsay C. Gibson
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About This Book

What happens when children are more mature than their parents? Growing up with an emotionally unavailable, immature, or selfish parent is painful, but rarely discussed.

In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay C. Gibson exposes an often overlooked, yet extremely common syndrome that shapes the lives of so many people. Gibson also provides powerful skills to help the adult children of self-centered parents gain the insight they need to move on from feelings of loneliness and abandonment, and find healthy ways to meet their own emotional needs.

Comments

by pharmersmarket   2019-11-17

Hey :) I'm sorry to hear you've had similar experiences. Especially with both parents which must have been so difficult growing up.

Here is the children of immature parents one : https://www.amazon.com/Adult-Children-Emotionally-Immature-Parents/dp/1626251703/ref=asc_df_1626251703/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312130960442&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9654312278016782856&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9004427&hvtargid=pla-347358731227&psc=1

And a link to a free pdf of the abusive adults one: https://www.docdroid.net/py03/why-does-he-do-that.pdf the chapter I mentioned was chapter 10

Also in my comment above to OP I added a few helpful links I've found. YouTube is also a really good source for some clarity because a lot of psychologists who specialize in these topics have consise advice to share.

by Tyrael17   2019-11-17

If they really love you but are just bad at it, imagine what they'd want you to do if they COULD understand. They'd want you to take care of yourself and do what's best for you, right? So do what's best for you, and if it makes them uncomfortable, be secure knowing that they'd support you giving yourself some distance if you need it. (And on the off chance they DON'T actually love you, well that's a pretty good reason to back away a bit!)

I highly recommend Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents as a great resource that helped me navigate my choice to stop talking with my parents for awhile (over a year and counting) while still letting them know I love them and I know they love me, but I need some space for awhile to take care of myself. (Age 18+ not required :P)

by solo954   2019-11-17

> I just wanted a normal supporting family..

That's what we all want, but we don't always get it.

I highly recommend this book:

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

However, one of the things it will tell you is that expecting your parent to change will likely only lead to disappointment. They almost never do.

by broomecamel   2019-08-24

This book was amazing for me: Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626251703/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ujA8CbS6WANXT

by BlueRhinos   2019-08-24

Boy, do I have a book for you! It's called "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents."

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626251703/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_Toj2Cb2MR5C67

by lilacabkins   2019-08-24

For sure! My therapist says that it makes all the difference. Suddenly, the narc’s actions aren’t happening to you - they become something you observe, moving away from “personal” to “objective”. I also read a book where that advised making all your interactions transactional. Go into conversation with a clear goal or outcome. This was the book: Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. If you live with your nmom, just buy a kindle or digital copy ;)

by justbigstickers   2019-07-21

The church actively promotes emotional immaturity in adults. It helps them continue the cycle of dependancy on the church.

I've been reading a book called 'Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents', the book is incredible. Many of the emotionally unhealthy dynamics I was raised with were right out of the church.... It's no wonder my parents both are emotionally stunted.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626251703/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_awdb_t1_9qoPCbP8CWXFA

by justbigstickers   2019-07-21

I feel for you. I am going through a similar situation with my family. They are less active in being assholes as yours, but some days it takes all I have not to write an email like yours to let them know how I feel about their actions.

I found a lot of help in this book given to me by my girlfriend. What was surprising to me was I found the church pretty much promoted immature parenting.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents https://www.amazon.com/dp/1626251703/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_h5.WCb569SFW8

Best of luck to you and your relationship with your family, and which ever direction you choose to go with it.

by 512165381   2019-07-21

Buy her a present

https://www.amazon.com.au/Adult-Children-Emotionally-Immature-Parents/dp/1626251703/

by StrzokedOut   2018-11-10

Just read this. It was the book that finally put my parent’s issues in perspective for me. My parents were much like yours. Can’t recommend it enough.

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1626251703

by muellaccount1337   2018-11-10

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Leseempfehlung, auch wenn die Hilfsstrategien leider nicht so toll sind. (im Sinne von effektiv)

Hat mir im Nachhinein ziemlich die Augen geöffnet...

by singlebuttaken   2018-11-10

Here's the one I was thinking of, but the other one below is good too:

"Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents" by Nina Brown EdD LPC

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1572245611

"Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay Gibson. I use this both personally and professionally. It's not necessarily aimed toward Narcissistic parents, but it's very close.

https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/1626251703

by MasterDetectiveCheez   2018-03-19

Books I recommend: Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents and Emotional Blackmail .

As for finding a therapist, I would use your insurance provider's search and look up the offices and generally they should have a list of areas of expertise covered by their therapists. You want to look for descriptions like Adult Children of Alcoholics/Addicts, Codependency, Family Issues, and when he calls he can give a brief description like you mentioned in your post. They should be able to direct him to a counselor to set up a first appointment. Also, think of finding a therapist like finding a partner. The first person he meets might not be the best fit, and he doesn't have to keep going to them if he wants to find someone he feels more comfortable with.

Good luck to you both!

by not-moses   2018-03-19

If one was regularly ignored, abandoned, discounted, disclaimed, and rejected -- as well as invalidated, confused, betrayed, insulted, criticized, judged, blamed, embarrassed, humiliated, victimized, demonized, persecuted, picked on, dumped on, bullied, scapegoated, and/or otherwise abused -- by others upon whom they depended for survival in early life, they may have been in-struct-ed, programmed, conditioned, socialized and/or normalized to their abuser's way of trying to deal with life. (Happens a lot.)

If you see yourself at stage two or higher on this list of the five stages of therapeutic recovery (and it sounds like you are), chances are very good that you will be able to do plenty to get a handle on your understandable compensations, because -- for a narcissist -- the hardest part of getting over it is getting to stage three.

Once there, however, here's the road map:

1) Medications, but only if really needed to get one stabilized enough to do the next six things on this list: Find a board certified psychopharmacologist in your area by using the clinician locator on the Psychology Today website. Getting psych meds from a GP or primary care doc can be useless or even risky. Psych diagnoses, meds and med interactions are just too complex now for most GPs and primary care docs.

2) Support Groups: AA, MA and/or NA if one is using intoxicants to try to cope with emotional pain; ACA, EA and CoDA... where you will find others in similar boats who have found explanations, answers and solutions.

3) Books and academic, professional websites including Mayo Clinic, WebMD, NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and even Wikipedia (when everything asserted is solidly documented with citations). Strongly recommended because they all understand the upshots of having been stressed for too long, including complex PTSD which sounds like at least a good possibility here: Bessel van der Kolk, Peter Levine, Patricia Ogden, Ronald Kurtz, Laurence Heller, Bruce McEwen, Sonya Lupien and Robert Sapolsky. This article will get you oriented.

And additionally owing to your specific circumstances:

Nina Brown's Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents

Eleanor Payson's The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

Lindsay Gibson's Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Elan Golomb's Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in the Struggle for Self

Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (a bit long in tooth now, but still useful) and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

Kimberlee Roth & Frieda Friedman's Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem

Accurate information is power.

see the remainder below

by show_time_synergy   2018-03-19

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

I have recommended this book before, it's exactly what you're looking for.

When I first read it I was just blown away. It was like somebody had followed my family around and then written a book about us.

It has exercises to help you process and get over things. As the book helps you work through the exercises you'll find that your anger will hopefully diminish.

Good luck, and be good to yourself!

by not-moses   2018-02-16

> Does it subside or get better?

Left untreated, my parents' abuse did little other than fester, and at times erupt in unfortunate ways.

> She used to stare at me with squinted eyes, and would randomly blurt out things that she had somehow “figured out” about me, most of which was untrue and weird.

I never thought I'd ever read anyone else's description of that experience.

> it seems like she thought she knew me more than I knew myself, and really enjoyed telling me insights about my behavior and making assumptions.

"Righteous narcissism." Once I understood why my own mother needed that so desperately as a defense against her own fear of being abused again (and be denied her reality as her mother and grandmother had denied it after she was raped by her cousin when she was nine), I could see her and I very clearly pushing each other around on our little Karpman Drama Triangle. Sick.

I had to read book like these (below) and steep myself in ACA and CoDA to get the bitterness to subside.

Nina Brown's Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents

Eleanor Payson's The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

Lindsay Gibson's Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Elan Golomb's Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in the Struggle for Self

Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (a bit long in tooth now, but still useful) and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

Kimberlee Roth & Frieda Friedman's Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem

Alexander Chapman & Kimberly Gratz's The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living with BPD

Block, S.; Block, C.: Mind-Body Workbook for Anger, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2013.

Chapman, A.; Gratz, K.; Tull, M.: The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Anger: Using DBT Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Skills to Manage Anger, Oakland CA: New Harbinger, 2015.

Eifert, G.; McKay, M.; Forsyth, J.: ACT on life not anger: The New Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Guide to Problem Anger, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2006.

Harbin, T.: Beyond Anger: a guide for me: How to Free Yourself from the Grip of Anger and Get More Out of Life, New York: Marlowe & Company, 2000.

McKay, M.; Rogers, P.: The Anger Control Workbook: Simple, innovative techniques for managing anger and developing healthier ways of relating; Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2000.

McKay, M.; Rogers, P.; McKay, J.: When Anger Hurts: Quieting the Storm Within, 2nd Ed., Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2003.

Simpkins, C. A.; Simpkins, A. M.: The Tao of Bipolar: Using Meditation & Mindfulness to Find Balance & Peace, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2013.

Stahl, B.; Goldstein, E.: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Oakland CA: New Harbinger, 2010.

by not-moses   2018-02-16

> "I'm ignoring you while still vaguely acknowledging your existence in an abusive way" from a distance to try and break me and there's something in me that keeps digging for some kind of oral truth he'll never supply -- which drives me crazy and keeps me trapped

Only if we but their stuff as having some element of truth to it, make a down payment and then make installment payments on their utterances every time they make them. I'd look into "attachment theory" in general and "ambivalent" and "disorganized" attachment in particular. (John Bowlby was the big name in that stuff. It's definitely worth looking into because is the "fuel" that powers relationships on the Karpman Drama Triangle. The "persecutor" in the upper corner there is often "Mr. Revenge" to try to get out of the "victim" corner at the bottom.

> part of my mind froze over and is stuck

Of course. Children don't have the wherewithall to get out of the "victim" corner. And if a persecuting parent (or other authority figure) keeps shoving them down into the victim corner, they get conditioned, socialized and [normalized](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalization_(sociology) to the whole drama in the brain's default mode network.

Hmm. Might wanna read some of these, even thought they tend to be about parents. If one understands that they may have found a new version of one or both parents in a romantic relationship -- and transferred the unprocessed emotions from the original onto the new one because it is similar in some ways -- it can help to connect some major mental dots sufficiently to give something like the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing, Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFST), Trauma Focused Therapy (TFT), Hakomi Body Centered Psychotherapy (HBCP), Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapy (SEPt), Sensorimotor Processing for Trauma (SP4T), or the Neuro-Affective Relational Model (NARM) a chance to "digest" those emotions.

Nina Brown's Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents

Eleanor Payson's The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

Lindsay Gibson's Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Elan Golomb's Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in the Struggle for Self

Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (a bit long in tooth now, but still useful) and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

Kimberlee Roth & Frieda Friedman's Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem

by not-moses   2018-02-16

Rule of thumb for this abusee: NEVER confront an abuser without giving it plenty of forethought.

Here's a pick-up that may be pointless after the corral gate got opened and the horses ran off, but...

Confronting Abusers & Handling Rage Effectively

And... as regards dealing with the upshots:

Recovering from Shame

The Feeling is Always Temporary

Distress Tolerance & Emotion Regulation

Finally, some books to help your process the abuse without getting into it with either parent:

Nina Brown's Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents

Eleanor Payson's The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

Lindsay Gibson's Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Elan Golomb's Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in the Struggle for Self

Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (a bit long in tooth now, but still useful) and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

Kimberlee Roth & Frieda Friedman's Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem

by not-moses   2018-02-16

> ...hateful letters

Are the hateful letters factual? Yes or no?

> ...destroyed what was left of my mental health

Why? If mental health is predicated on being able to see things as they are, while mental illness is predicated on NOT being able to see things as they are, how can one's mental health be destroyed by the perp's lies? (Do you see where I am headed here?)

> Has anyone here had problems with thoughts like that?

I did. For years. Because I bought into, believed and never questioned the lies my perp spread around.

> how do you deal with them?

I got educated. In ways described in part at each of the links below. Finding the actual facts -- regardless of what anyone else ever thought or may still think -- changed everything for me.

Perp D.A.R.V.O.

How & Why, and the Road Out of CPTSD

Miller, A.: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child Rearing and the Roots of Violence, London: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979, 1983.

Miller, A.: Prisoners of Childhood / The Drama of the Gifted Child, New York: Basic Books, 1979, 1996.

Miller, A.: Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child, London: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981, 1984, 1998.

Miller, A.: Breaking Down the Walls of Silence, New York: Dutton/Penguin, 1991.

Why we Tolerate Abuse, in my reply on this earlier thread

Why Memory Retrieval is So Important

10 StEPs of Emotion Processing

Positively Shameless

Nina Brown's Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents

Eleanor Payson's The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family

Lindsay Gibson's Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Elan Golomb's Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in the Struggle for Self

Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life (a bit long in tooth now, but still useful) and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

Kimberlee Roth & Frieda Friedman's Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem