Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Author: Susan Forward, Craig Buck
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About This Book

The connection between controlling abusive or alcoholic parents and adult problems with self-esteem, work, or intimacy is examined in a compelling guide to coming to terms with a troubled childhood.

 

This article has a lot of information about Postpartum Depression

Comments

by not-moses   2018-03-19

I've been a witness to this on several occasions. Some won judgments. Others got nothing but grief. And the ones who "won" judgments paid a significant price during the depositions they had to give the defense attorneys.

What you elect to do is your own business, of course. I could have "played nice" and come away with a pretty good nest egg when my adoptive mother finally passed. But she was such an insufferably self-righteous fraud (as well as abusive to my spouse), that I just walked away. After reading books like those listed below, I'm convinced now that I would have done myself a lot more damage to just remain in contact, let alone have to fight with her and her attorneys for a few years.

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

> sometimes I am perfectly content and very happy with the way our relationship is and then sometimes I️m very very critical and am very reluctant to let any little thing slide because I don’t want to be taken advantage of/ controlled again, but on the other hand I️ know I can be a people pleaser...

Coming from an abusive childhood, it's no problem for me to identify with every word there. Here's what I have had to do thus far (from a longer list):

1) The Patterns & Characteristics of Codependence on the Codependents Anonymous website;

3) "Understand the Drama Triangle. Understand BPD." at pairadocks.blogspot.com;

4) Codependents Anonymous and Emotions Anonymous meetings (you can find meeting locators on their websites);

5) "Romantic Love, Being with What Is, and The 10 StEPs" at pairadocks.blogspot.com;

6) Jiddu Krishnamurti's On Relationships;

8) Practicing some thought questioner & mindfulness inducer like the "10 StEPs of Emotion Processing" at pairadocks.blogspot.com, so that I am able to continue to sense what is going on and know what to do about it;

9) Reading the lyrics while listening to Alanis Morrissette's "Not the Doctor" on Jagged Little Pill and "Precious Illusions" on Under Rug Swept, as well as "Death of Cinderella," which one will have to find on YouTube;

10) Pia Mellody's Facing Codependence;

11) Anne Wilson Schaef's Co-Dependence: Misunderstood, Mistreated;

12) Barry & Janae Weinhold's Breaking Free of the Codependency Trap;

13) Melody Beattie's The Language of Letting Go;

14) Pia Mellody's Facing Love Addiction, especially with respect to the flip flop from addiction to avoidance;

15) Anne Wilson Schaef's Escape from Intimacy on the same topic;

16) Barry & Janae Weinhold's Flight from Intimacy on co- and counter-dependence;

17) Susan Forward's Emotional Blackmail on manipulative relationships;

18) Patricia Evans's Controlling People on the same topic;

19) Patrick Carnes's The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships;

20) DBT's "FAST" interpersonal-boundary-setting skills set (at DBTSelfHelp.com).

21) The following great books:

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

> I want to forgive my parents for emotional abuse...

Understanding the following is almost always helpful in deals like this:

1) Anxious and ambivalent attachment,

2) learned helplessness,

3) family systems theory, and the

4) Karpman Drama Triangle.

Once you have those down, reading books like these with a journal close by to make notes and process in as one comes to tease out the truth from the family fantasies and secrets usually works wonders.

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

Also likely to be helpful: From Bipolar to Borderline to Complex PTSD: The Long Way Around the Recovery Barn.

by not-moses   2018-02-16

What in the world is normal? (Because normal does not mean "healthy" or "functional.") Okay... Let's move on to some suggested reading and other activity, shall we?

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 The Patterns & Characteristics of Codependence on the Codependents Anonymous website;

"Understanding the Drama Triangle...;"

ACA, EA and CoDA meetings (you can find meeting locators on their websites);

Jiddu Krishnamurti's On Relationships;

Practicing some thought questioner & mindfulness inducer like the "10 StEPs of Emotion Processing" so that one is able to continue to sense what is going on and know what to do about it;

Pia Mellody's Facing Codependence;

Anne Wilson Schaef's Co-Dependence: Misunderstood, Mistreated;

Barry & Janae Weinhold's Breaking Free of the Codependency Trap;

Melody Beattie's The Language of Letting Go;

Susan Forward's Emotional Blackmail along with this brief article on dealing with manipulative relationships;

Patricia Evans's Controlling People on the same topic;

Patrick Carnes's The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships;

DBT's "FAST" interpersonal-boundary-setting skills set (at DBTSelfHelp.com).

by CaptianTwisty   2017-12-06

Cut her off and kick her out. She will never change.

Also buy this book and both you and your wife read it: https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/0553381407

2 Chor 12: 14 "for the children ought not to lay up for [their] parents, but the parents for [their] children. "

She's a parasite.

by serendipityjones14   2017-12-06

You sound like an amazing person, and your parents really failed you. If I may suggest, "Toxic Parents " is a great read when you're feeling a bit stronger, but in the meantime, please check out Lifeline's chat.

by not-moses   2017-08-19

Recommended:

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

Plus getting on board the Treatment Train:

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. Accurate information is power.

4) Psychotherapy: I currently use Ogden's SP4T as the interoceptive 9th of the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing to manage any "time bombs" that turn up, but had good results over the years with several of the CBTs including REBT, collegiate critical thinking, schema therapy, and CPT, as well as DBT, MBCT, ACT, MBBT, MBSR, EMDR, HBCP, SEPt, and NARM.

DBT, MBCT, ACT, MBBT and MBSR are terrific for symptom management. EMDR, HBCT, SEPt, SP4T and NARM are first-rate for memory-reprocessing, sense-making and detachment from the conditioning, programming, etc.

To find the clinicians who know how to use these psychotherapies, look here, and here, and here, and (for DBT specialists in particular) here. If you dig a little on each page, you will be able to see which therapies they use. Then interview them as though they were applying for a job with your company. Most MD / psychiatrists, btw, are not therapists themselves (they are medication specialists), but can refer you to those who are, and are often -- though not always -- excellent sources of referral.

5) Mindfulness Meditation: Try the Vipassana-style? (For a lot of people with anxiety, this stuff handles anxiety chop chop. Not sure about depression. Many of the modern psychotherapies for anxiety are actually based on it now.)

6) Therapy Workbooks: I got a lot of lift-off by using inexpensive workbooks like these, and these, and these, and these.

7) Moderate exercise: Because it is the single healthiest of the distractions one can use to yank oneself out of the paradigm for a while... and it can help to "massage" the brain so that it responds more quickly to psychotherapy.

by not-moses   2017-08-19

Long, I know, but if you understand most of this, you'll have a much better chance of either helping her along... OR accepting that she is who and what she is... and why she cannot give it up:

Because most people with BPD never (or very rarely) experienced being treated with consistent empathy, compassion, respect and deference as small children, we grew up with extreme trust and autonomy issues (see Erik Erikson and his "stages of psychosocial development").

Desperate for such consistent treatment from another, the child trusts "too much." But running again and again into being ignored, abandoned, discounted, disclaimed, and rejected -- as well as invalidated, confused, betrayed, insulted, criticized, judged, blamed, embarrassed, humiliated, ridiculed, victimized, demonized, persecuted, picked on, dumped on, bullied, scapegoated, and/or otherwise abused -- we learn not to trust. Fearful of such abuse, but equally fearful of being alone and unsupported, we flip back and forth in "split" autonomy: too much comfortable separateness here; not nearly enough there.

Idealizing objects of our desperate desire to be attached (see John Bowlby, Jude Cassidy and Mario Mikulincer) at first, we suddenly demonize the very same people because we unconsciously split off (or "change channels") into an opposite state in which we are certain that they will abuse us just as happened to us when we were too young for us to remember it clearly as adults.

Suggested reading:

1) The Five Stages of Recovery at pairadocks.blogspot.com to see where they are on that list at any given time ( because it will vary).

2) The "four types of borderline personality disorder" via a good search engine (I used to provide the links, but so doing creates a labor problem for the moderators on this sub-reddit; sorry) to see what applies (it's usually two or more in polarized opposition to each other).

3) The Patterns & Characteristics of codependency on the CoDA.org website about both of you.

4) The "Karpman Drama Triangle" to see where you, they and their family members are on it most of the time.

5) "Family secrets" and the "emotional blackmail" used to protect them, because it is typical in the childhood families of those who ignored, abandoned, discounted, disclaimed, and rejected -- as well as invalidated, confused, betrayed, insulted, criticized, judged, blamed, embarrassed, humiliated, ridiculed, victimized, demonized, persecuted, picked on, dumped on, bullied, scapegoated, and/or otherwise abused, which is usually (not always) the case for those with BPD.

6) "Reactive attachment disorder," because it is usually what the child acquires when abused by those she must depend upon to survive.

7) The Codependents Anonymous website meeting locator for your area... and go to six before making a decision to continue or not... because it is likely that you will need to know about "psychological boundaries" and how to raise and lower them appropriately as they struggle with -- and seem to flip back and forth from -- fear of intolerable abuse here and fear of intolerable abandonment there.

8) Any professionally written book on "adult survivors of child abuse." If applicable, pick one or two, and read them. Additional suggested books include:

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

9) The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide by Alex Chapman & Kimberly Gratz for your own sake, regardless of what they do or don't do.

And understand that...

1) They may (we do not diagnose here) have one or more of the four types of BPD as a coping system for the "complex post-traumatic stress disorder" that is typical among adult survivors. The best psychotherapies for it are those that understand the causes resulting in and physiological conditions of a shredded autonomic nervous system no longer capable of managing their "fight-flight-freeze" responses to stress and perceived threat.

2) IF the subject is using alcohol or other substances, they'll have to stop. SA can greatly worsen BPD in people with specific genetics and behavioral conditioning (see below). Alcoholics Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous can be helpful. Or using the SAMHSA facility locator online to find a detox & rehab.

3) Dialectical Behavior Therapy is the current gold standard for managing the emotions and behaviors that come with BPD & complex PTSD. One can find people in their area who know how to administer it through the BehavioralTech LLC website, as well as inexpensive, adjunct therapy workbooks written by DBT professionals. One can also get a lot of support from DBTSelfHelp.com and organizations like DBT New Jersey, so dig around for them online, but advise the trauma survivor not to try to "get well" on the cheap.

4) To truly scrape out the bottom of the bucket of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, one can get into the Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Hakomi Body Centered Psychotherapy (HBCP), Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapy (SEPt), Sensorimotor Processing for Trauma (SP4T), and the Neuro-Affective Relational Model (NARM) psychotherapies, which are the most widely research-supported for the causes of C-PTSD and BPD. In time, they may need one of more of these to clean up the lingering residues and rewire their "limbic emotion regulation system."

5) Neuroleptic medications are very often (though not always) helpful for BPD, especially for the petulant, impulsive and self-destructive / self-harming types. "Discouraged" BPDs may do better with anti-depressants, but I say "may" very advisedly because of the rapid switching from "sympathetic" to "parasympathetic" pitch in the "autonomic 'fight / flight / freeze' nervous system" that is common among all borderlines.

I have myself recovered from what was pretty florid BPD 20 years ago, with severe anxiety, compensatory mania, suicidality and other upshots of complex PTSD by using Ogden's Sensorimotor Processing for Trauma (SP4T) as the interoceptive 9th of The 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing (you can find online) to manage any "time bombs" that turn up, but had good results over the years with several of the cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs), including Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT), collegiate critical thinking, Schema Therapy, and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT); as well as the "super" (or mindfulness-based) CBTs like Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT, the long-time gold standard for BPD symptom management), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mind-Body Bridging Therapy (MBBT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR); and the "deep cleaners" like Eye-Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Hakomi Body Centered Psychotherapy (HBCP), Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapy (SEPt), Sensorimotor Processing for Trauma (SP4T), and the Neuro-Affective Relational Model (NARM).

To find the clinicians who know how to use these psychotherapies, look on the "therapists" and "psychiatrists" sections of the Psychology Today.com clinician locator, on the "find-a-doctor/specialty/psychiatry" section of the WebMD website, the SAMHSA's treatment facility locator, and -- for DBT specialists in particular -- on the Behavioraltech.org website. If you dig a little on each page, you will be able to see which therapies they use. Then interview them as though they were applying for a job with your company. Most psychiatrists, btw, are not therapists themselves (they are medication specialists), but can refer you to those who are, and are often excellent sources of referral.

by not-moses   2017-08-19

Great stuff.

So long as we do not identify with the anger (really frustration) felt by out younger selves... and stand separate from it like a detached observer, this kind of work can be quite productive. If we do not see it as the expressions of younger selves separate from who we are now, however, it is often nothing more than recycling at best, and grave-digging at worst. (Trust me; I have seen this happen waaaaay too many times.)

That said, more good books:

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

And suggestions of therapeutic systems that make sure that one does not over-identify with one's understandably upset inner children:

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT, the long-time gold standard for BPD symptom management), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mind-Body Bridging Therapy (MBBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and the 10 StEPs of Emotion Processing... all of which can be found online.