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Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
Author: Susan Forward
Publisher: Published January 2nd 2002 by Bantam (first published 1989)
ISBN: 9780553381405
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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All parents fall short from time to time. But Susan Forward pulls no punches when it comes to those whose deficiencies cripple their children emotionally. Her brisk, unreserved guide to overcoming the stultifying agony of parental manipulation--from power trips to guilt trips and all other killers of self worth--will help deal with the pain of childhood and move beyond the All parents fall short from time to time. But Susan Forward pulls no punches when it comes to those whose deficiencies cripple their children emotionally. Her brisk, unreserved guide to overcoming the stultifying agony of parental manipulation--from power trips to guilt trips and all other killers of self worth--will help deal with the pain of childhood and move beyond the frustrating relationship patterns learned at home. Source: Amazon.com

30 review for Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brandice

    I wish I had read this book months or even years ago, rather than after I've finally made the decision to end a toxic relationship with my mother. Reading descriptions of other experiences of adult children who have experienced the type of things that I have might have strengthened me to the point of making healthier decisions sooner, but at least it provides validation and a sense that, despite the recent shunning of my entire family, I am not alone in my experiences. One new thing that I *did* I wish I had read this book months or even years ago, rather than after I've finally made the decision to end a toxic relationship with my mother. Reading descriptions of other experiences of adult children who have experienced the type of things that I have might have strengthened me to the point of making healthier decisions sooner, but at least it provides validation and a sense that, despite the recent shunning of my entire family, I am not alone in my experiences. One new thing that I *did* take from the reading was a list of the ways that toxic parents cope: 1. Denial - check. 2. Projection - triple check, especially in the past several months. 3. Sabotage - check. 4. Triangling - quadruple check. Most importantly: 5. Keeping secrets - CHECK. There's the one that I am no longer willing to enable. I've ignored or coped with the other four for ages, but what finally sank in for me with the recent and final estrangement is that even in the past when I've not been on good terms with my family, I've still kept all of the secrets. I don't plan to do that anymore. I don't plan to rent billboards and wreck lives, but I'm tired of pretending that my life story is what my mother has always pressured me to project to the outside world. The reality is that I have experienced emotional, verbal, and physical abuse at a parent's hand. I have been lied to and betrayed in unimaginable ways by a parent, and I have recently decided to make the rest of my life a different type of story that includes a different meaning for the word "family." One of the exercises I really enjoyed was the idea of a memorial exercise, to say goodbye to fantasies that childhood could somehow be different for me: "I hereby lay to rest my fantasy of the good family. I hereby lay to rest my hopes and expectations about my parents. I hereby lay to rest my fantasy that there was something I could have done as a child to change them. I know that I will never have the kind of parents that I wanted, and I mourn that loss. But I accept it. May these fantasies rest in peace." This is a ritual that I've used in a slightly different way a long time ago, but a refresher with recent events was comforting. The books gives quite a few really wonderful examples of ways to confront and then heal from a difficult family history, but most of the techniques suggested are things that I have tried in earnest for a few years now, with the recent realization that things are never going to change. My involvement in my family has been a perpetuation of an unhealthy cycle that I had to stop before I had my own children and they became a part of it. I've chosen the final option at the very end of the book "letting go and moving on," but for those who haven't explored the other steps, that may not have to be the conclusion. Overall, this is a solid read. I'm glad it has been a part of my recently begun journey toward a fully and finally healed Life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greta

    Our parents plant mental and emotional seeds in us—seeds that grow as we do. In some families, these are seeds of love, respect, and independence. But in many others, they are seeds of fear, obligation, or guilt. As you grew into adulthood, these seeds grew into invisible weeds that invaded your life in ways you never dreamed of. Their tendrils may have harmed your relationships, your career, or your family; they have certainly undermined your self-confidence and self-esteem. Few people make a con Our parents plant mental and emotional seeds in us—seeds that grow as we do. In some families, these are seeds of love, respect, and independence. But in many others, they are seeds of fear, obligation, or guilt. As you grew into adulthood, these seeds grew into invisible weeds that invaded your life in ways you never dreamed of. Their tendrils may have harmed your relationships, your career, or your family; they have certainly undermined your self-confidence and self-esteem. Few people make a connection between their parents and their problems. This is a common emotional blind spot. People simply have trouble seeing that their relationship with their parents has a major impact on their lives. It’s not always easy to figure out whether your parents are, or were, toxic. A lot of people have difficult relationships with their parents. That alone doesn’t mean your parents are emotionally destructive. There are many parents whose negative patterns of behavior are consistent and dominant in a child’s life. These are the parents who do the harm. What better word than toxic to describe parents who inflict ongoing trauma, abuse, and denigration on their children, and in most cases continue to do so even after their children are grown? The child is at the mercy of his godlike parents and, like the ancient Greeks, never knows when the next lightning bolt will strike. But the child of toxic parents knows that the lightning is coming sooner or later. This fear becomes deeply ingrained and grows with the child. At the core of every formerly mistreated adult—even high achievers—is a little child who feels powerless and afraid. Whether adult children of toxic parents were beaten when little or left alone too much, sexually abused or treated like fools, overprotected or overburdened by guilt, they almost all suffer surprisingly similar symptoms: damaged self-esteem, leading to self-destructive behavior. In one way or another, they almost all feel worthless, unlovable, and inadequate. Godlike parents make rules, make judgments, and make pain. When you deify your parents, living or dead, you are agreeing to live by their version of reality. You are accepting painful feelings as a part of your life, perhaps even rationalizing them as being good for you. It’s time to stop. When you bring your toxic parents down to earth, when you find the courage to look at them realistically, you can begin to equalize the power in your relationship with them. Susan Forward has seen thousands of patients as a therapist, both in private practice and in hospital groups, and a solid majority have suffered a damaged sense of self-worth because a parent had regularly hit them, or criticized them, or “joked” about how stupid or ugly or unwanted they were, or overwhelmed them with guilt, or sexually abused them, or forced too much responsibility on them, or desperately overprotected them. To illustrate the concepts in this book, she has drawn heavily on case histories from her practice. Regardless of what kind of relationship you have with your parents, I highly recommend this book to everyone. It's well-written, eye-opening and compassionate. And although it's primarily a self-help book, there's so much relevant information on family relationships and behavior we can all benefit from if we want to be understanding persons.

  3. 5 out of 5

    D. J.

    Honestly, someone bought this for me because they thought I 'needed' to read it. I was so ticked off - the nerve of that person! that I filed it away for about a year. Actually, until I recently unpacked from a move, I thought I'd pitched it while packing, out of sheer anger and disgust. But I didn't throw it out and it is actually full of helpful insight and suggestions. There's chapter called, "No one in this family is an alcoholic" (or close to that) and it caught my eye while thumbing through Honestly, someone bought this for me because they thought I 'needed' to read it. I was so ticked off - the nerve of that person! that I filed it away for about a year. Actually, until I recently unpacked from a move, I thought I'd pitched it while packing, out of sheer anger and disgust. But I didn't throw it out and it is actually full of helpful insight and suggestions. There's chapter called, "No one in this family is an alcoholic" (or close to that) and it caught my eye while thumbing through wondering why I kept this stupid book. I read the chapter and got it; that was why: to help me understand some BS what was never my fault to begin with. It is helpful - to be sure. And so are the chapters on critical and controlling/domineering parents. VERY helpful. Sheepishly, I say to you, I am glad it wasn't tossed in the trash - especially out of spite! I will probably refer to this book a few more times until what I want to learn is fully absorbed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Willow

    About three weeks ago, my beloved mother died. In my overwhelming grief and distress, I reached out to my father, whom I’ve been avoiding for several years now. In the span of a week, I ended up sending him money to move, which he used to buy alcohol. I called the police because he was threatening to kill himself, and he ended up in the psyche ward for a week. I drove over to his trash infested house to pick up his medication. *shudder* His place was just like the show Hoarders, crap and filth ev About three weeks ago, my beloved mother died. In my overwhelming grief and distress, I reached out to my father, whom I’ve been avoiding for several years now. In the span of a week, I ended up sending him money to move, which he used to buy alcohol. I called the police because he was threatening to kill himself, and he ended up in the psyche ward for a week. I drove over to his trash infested house to pick up his medication. *shudder* His place was just like the show Hoarders, crap and filth everywhere. I had nightmares about bringing home bedbugs. I couldn’t bring myself to go in there again. Now he’s not talking to me because I’m a terrible daughter. I’m actually quite relieved. I look at every interaction with my father with a mixture of pity, dread and guilt. Do I love him, yes, but I can’t be around him. His narcissism and guilt manipulation drive me up the frickin’ wall. Needless to say, this book was calling out to me. In fact, I whipped through it so fast I almost read it in a day. Was it what I was looking for? Hell yes! Not only did it alleviate some of my guilt and rage, but it also gave me some practical advice. I also realized I am not alone. There are crappy, toxic parents everywhere, and some of them are a hell of lot worse than my father. This book is easy to read, has some fascinating stories, and each toxic parental type is organized into nice easy categories. This was a great read. I’m knocking a star for two reasons though. One is I feel like the book is somewhat dated with old 1980s psyche talk. I don’t think you get rid of baggage just by venting and emotionally confronting it. I look at old hurts as being like flakes in a snow globe. Every once in a while you shake that stuff around and if feels great, but it never really leaves you. It just settles on the bottom, waiting to be stirred up again. I also don’t think that confirmation is the best solution for everybody. My dad’s empathy level is about as empty as a hollow cavern. If I told him how he hurt me, he’d just echo it back, making himself the victim in his mind. We’ve never had a real conversation ever, so I don’t see it happening now. And would it really take away the hurt of the little girl I was? I think I’d rather just bask in the silence of the phone not ringing. It’s so nice when he’s pissed at me. It's sad I know.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Society responds to those suffering from physical illnesses, like cancer; we have become more receptive to those fighting certain mental illnesses as well, like depression. But we often turn a blind eye to the scars created by child abuse - we want to believe in the sanctity of family, even when millions of children grow up battered both inside and out. Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life provides a much-needed guide on how victims of abuse can Society responds to those suffering from physical illnesses, like cancer; we have become more receptive to those fighting certain mental illnesses as well, like depression. But we often turn a blind eye to the scars created by child abuse - we want to believe in the sanctity of family, even when millions of children grow up battered both inside and out. Susan Forward's Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life provides a much-needed guide on how victims of abuse can break free from their pasts and move toward healthful, happy lives. Forward provides a through breakdown of different types of abuse: verbal, physical, and sexual, and the multifaceted behaviors that comprise them. She offers several examples of abuse victims from her own clinical practice and how they progressed in therapy and recovered. Her voice comes across as nurturing and validating, and she also encourages victims to take the necessary steps to release themselves from the pain their parents created. She touches on several tricky topics with wisdom, such as how to regulate anger, the harmful myth of forgiveness, and how to handle loaded subjects like alcohol and incest. My main takeaway from reading this book: it is never too late to change. No matter how awful you have felt in the past or how you may have coped in unhealthful ways, you can recover from your parents' abuse and lead a fulfilling, meaningful life. This book serves two, if not more, important functions: it gives voice to those mistreated and then shamed by their parents, and it provides victims with ways to regain trust and autonomy. As someone who has fought with his own family demons, I would recommend this book to anyone with an abusive history or anyone who wants to learn more. I encourage therapy and tons of self-compassion, too.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    This is a great book about how parents can really screw up their children. The author breaks up abusive parents into 6 categories: inadequate, controlling, alcoholics (or addicts), verbal abusers, physical abusers, and sexual abusers. Between my parents, step-parents, and an adult relative I was often left with, I had the fun of experiencing five of the six types. Fortunately, none of them wanted to poke around in my swimsuit area. The first chapter brings up a point that really explained a lot fo This is a great book about how parents can really screw up their children. The author breaks up abusive parents into 6 categories: inadequate, controlling, alcoholics (or addicts), verbal abusers, physical abusers, and sexual abusers. Between my parents, step-parents, and an adult relative I was often left with, I had the fun of experiencing five of the six types. Fortunately, none of them wanted to poke around in my swimsuit area. The first chapter brings up a point that really explained a lot for me. It points out that children tend to view their parents as godlike and flawless. But when a child realizes that their parent is doing wrong, they are left with a tough decision. They can either hold on to their worldview that their parents are perfect and accept guilt for their own abuse, or they can accept that their parents are wrong then face the terrifying reality that their protectors are untrustworthy. I chose the second route, but I also have a step-brother who chose the first. My childhood was indeed scarier, and I would often find items In the alley I could hide under my mattress in case I was in need of a weapon. It didn't even dawn on me until a few years ago that this is how an inmate's supposed to act, not an 8 year old. However, things got easier as I got older and more self reliant. By the time I was 19, I had either developed an immunity to their various brands of abuse, or I found a way to turn it back on them. But while my life has gotten easier with age, I noticed that my step-brother's has gotten equally harder. He's a high school dropout, frequent drunk driver, and occasional jailbird. This should be a helpful book for someone who is really screwed up by their parents. I approached it as a relatively well-adjusted adult that just wanted to get the number of the Mack truck that plowed through his youthful innocence. I found it exceedingly useful for that purpose. 5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gretel

    Edit: I forgot to mention one thing. This book is of course aimed at children of toxic parents, showing the different forms of abuse and manipulation, teaching how to handle the horribleness and find somewhat closure or rather start a healing process. Even though it's meant for victims, I HIGHLY recommend this book to everybody! Someone who has not experienced toxic parents first hand might not really understand the severity of mental and physical destruction. By dismantling and analyzing every for Edit: I forgot to mention one thing. This book is of course aimed at children of toxic parents, showing the different forms of abuse and manipulation, teaching how to handle the horribleness and find somewhat closure or rather start a healing process. Even though it's meant for victims, I HIGHLY recommend this book to everybody! Someone who has not experienced toxic parents first hand might not really understand the severity of mental and physical destruction. By dismantling and analyzing every form of toxicity and abuse even those you never suffered from it can perfectly well understand the scope. *************** This book is overwhelming. I don't remember exactly why I searched for 'toxic parents' on Google last year, but I found this book and I downloaded it and I started reading immediately. It was a revelation. Not because I didn't know that the beatings and the verbal abuse had been wrong and not my fault - that was what drove me crazy because I always felt and knew how unfair they were to me - but knowing that "Yes, I am NOT crazy for being angry! I'm not bad or evil for acknowleding the abuse! I have the RIGHT to be angry at, hate, and exlude these people from my life!" Forward explains the different ways of toxic behaviour, from controlling parents and negligence, to sexual abuse. The examples are not only great guides, they also are a pool of comfort, a sign that the victim reading the book is not alone. And that is very important! You understand the pain of the victims in the book, you feel their pain and you feel your own pain and in the sadness and anger and grief you experience, you are also freed and protected. What I also loved about this book is the analysis of the different types of abuse, how Forward explains the danger of Freudian beliefs, and the end goal: to find your own piece no matter what. It's not about reconciliation but about you overcoming the pain and becoming a better version of yourself, a happier and more indipentend one. Indipendence is what victims have to regain and it's incredibly beautiful to not give a damn anymore if your abusive parents agree with your and your life or not. It's not about them accepting you, it's about you accepting yourself and doing what ever makes you happy. This book gave me what I needed and one freeing thought was to be able to get another person tell me "Yes, you absolutely can cut people out of your lives when they hurt you so badly". I absolutely hate the idea of just accepting abuse and shrug it off, forgiving it and "be the bigger person". To this I say: No, I will not tolerate abuse and I don't have to just accept it to keep a fake peace up. The only thing I wished is that more people found the courage to go the necessary steps to free themselves. This book is only one step of many and I hope people find strength in therapy. So my last words go to all the people who suffered/are suffering: Get the help you need. You are not alone. You matter and you are worth it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    It took me far to long to recognize the emotional manipulation and humiliation I grew up with. Once I did, a friend of mine recommended this book to me and I read it 2 years ago. I liked it a lot and it's helped me gain the courage to expect respect from my family. Just spent 10 days with them and I actually had the courage to speak up against the sexist, racist, and otherwise offensive comments and degradation. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do that for long. I need to re-read this and re-t It took me far to long to recognize the emotional manipulation and humiliation I grew up with. Once I did, a friend of mine recommended this book to me and I read it 2 years ago. I liked it a lot and it's helped me gain the courage to expect respect from my family. Just spent 10 days with them and I actually had the courage to speak up against the sexist, racist, and otherwise offensive comments and degradation. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do that for long. I need to re-read this and re-think that relationship in general. My goal as a parent: for my children to not end up needing counseling because of me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Davonne

    I wasn't going to make my completion of this book public. I thought it would be an insult to my parents if I did. Then I realized that it would be an injustice to others who may need to read this book, but dont know it exists, if I didn't. Not to mention doing things to please or placate my parents is one of the many reasons why I needed to read it in the first place soooo....fuck it! lol The book is exactly what the title implies. A book to help those end the vicious cycle of self-loathing, low I wasn't going to make my completion of this book public. I thought it would be an insult to my parents if I did. Then I realized that it would be an injustice to others who may need to read this book, but dont know it exists, if I didn't. Not to mention doing things to please or placate my parents is one of the many reasons why I needed to read it in the first place soooo....fuck it! lol The book is exactly what the title implies. A book to help those end the vicious cycle of self-loathing, low self esteem, and poor self image through facing the most intense, emotional, and largest demon in their lives....their inadequate parents. Some people will reply by saying oh my parents weren't THAT bad, or mine did the best they could with what they had, and disregard even thinking they may need to read this literature. I'm here to tell you that you are the #1 person who needs to read this book. One example of why I needed to read it, an inability to care enough about myself and my self worth; putting everyone and everything before me to the point of self distruction. Not being able to solve my own issues because I thought they were insignificant compared to everyone elses. That is a result of not being told my feelings were important as a child. Who would have put that result with that cause? While my case was not the most extreme, there are subtle things that were done that made reading this necessary. I have the sincerest and most abundant gratitude for the person who brought this book to my attention. I was in denial at first, and extremely terrified of the truth, but I realize it was 100% necessary. I already feel better, having read it, and knowning that I can correct the damage done. Here's a quote of hope from the end of the book: ....You will never be totally free of anxiety, fear, guilt, and confusion. No one is. But these demons will no longer control you. that is the key. As you gain more control over your past and present relationship with your parents, you will discover that your other relationships, especially your relationship with yourself, will improve dramatically. You will have the freedom, perhaps for the first time, to enjoy your own life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leeanne

    This book pulls no punches. Reading it is an important step for anyone that had toxic parents in their lives. The exercises are insightful and the 'advice' is excellent. It doesn't focus on general abuse, but digs deep down into the different kinds of abusive parents (neglectful, alcoholic, sexual, physical, etc), so reading the entire book from cover to cover may not be 100% necessary. You can fine tailor your reading to the situations that most closely apply to you. This book also helps with th This book pulls no punches. Reading it is an important step for anyone that had toxic parents in their lives. The exercises are insightful and the 'advice' is excellent. It doesn't focus on general abuse, but digs deep down into the different kinds of abusive parents (neglectful, alcoholic, sexual, physical, etc), so reading the entire book from cover to cover may not be 100% necessary. You can fine tailor your reading to the situations that most closely apply to you. This book also helps with the most extreme cases of abuse - the ones that require permanent separation from the abuser. It helps you understand when this option is the one to take, and helps you work through enacting it. I wouldn't suggest reading this book completely alone - some kind of counselor should be working with you at the same time, because objectivity in the face of abuse can be difficult to find. But when you're at the point where you must make changes in your life in order to move forward, this book will be a good source of strength and direction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bebe Booth

    Very insightful and confirming of suspicions you may have had/ still have but refused to believe. Ever felt any of these feelings below in the back of your mind growing up in a family that gave the impression of perfect happiness? But never understood why or couldn't bare to think that your 'loving' family would try to cause you (mental/emotional/ and or physical) pain intentionally? Like you were: Being manipulated Being spited by a parent ( said things knowing it would hurt your feelings) Being cri Very insightful and confirming of suspicions you may have had/ still have but refused to believe. Ever felt any of these feelings below in the back of your mind growing up in a family that gave the impression of perfect happiness? But never understood why or couldn't bare to think that your 'loving' family would try to cause you (mental/emotional/ and or physical) pain intentionally? Like you were: Being manipulated Being spited by a parent ( said things knowing it would hurt your feelings) Being criticized with disgust Never good enough Punished out of spite rather than disciplined Taken advantage of Forced to do things just so they could feel in control Being guilt tripped Teased because you had your own opinions and dared to try to stand on your own two feet .... The list goes on. As children many of us were so innocent yet there was a part of us that felt something was off but because we had no prior experience in life we had no idea that it was wrong. We trusted these people and thought they were taking care of us but we were in danger. Please, it is pointless to blame yourself. You may find hidden anger surface, thats ok. feeling anger is ok once you process it and realise that it is that little kid inside you that is angry because lets face it, you are a grown ass woman or man and now that you kno that there are others that suffered as well YOU can now make adjustment to your thinking (actually more like 'their' thinking projected onto you) you can make changes that positively affect you. Have COMPASSION for yourself not self pity because that shit will get you no where. Plus maybe you spent life thinking in their biased terms and NOW you can live on your terms. TRUST ME. It WILL get better but YOU have to want it to in order for it to happen. I wish you all the best!d

  12. 4 out of 5

    Smand

    Sorunlu -toksik- aile ortamında yetişmiş herkese yardımcı olabilecek bir çalışma. Ailelerin çocuklarının hayatlarını nasıl mahvettiği dair birçok vaka var ve bunlardan birkaçı size tanıdık gelecektir. Vakaların çözüm süreçleri ve bunların bir şekilde üstesinden gelindiğini görmek insanı rahatlatıyor. Kitabın odak noktası geçmişin karanlık kuyularından kurtulup ileriye bakabilmek. Özellikle benim gibi geçmişle devamlı kavga halindeyseniz bu durum daha fazla zarar vermekten başka bir şey yapmıyor. Sorunlu -toksik- aile ortamında yetişmiş herkese yardımcı olabilecek bir çalışma. Ailelerin çocuklarının hayatlarını nasıl mahvettiği dair birçok vaka var ve bunlardan birkaçı size tanıdık gelecektir. Vakaların çözüm süreçleri ve bunların bir şekilde üstesinden gelindiğini görmek insanı rahatlatıyor. Kitabın odak noktası geçmişin karanlık kuyularından kurtulup ileriye bakabilmek. Özellikle benim gibi geçmişle devamlı kavga halindeyseniz bu durum daha fazla zarar vermekten başka bir şey yapmıyor. Aile ortamında tohumu atılan asabi, mutsuz, ümitsiz, depresif kişiliğin karanlığını biraz daha derinleştiriyoruz sadece. Kimse elinde sihirli bir değnekle çıkıp hayatı nasıl çarpık algıladığımızı, geçmişe saplanıp kalmayla hiçbir şeyin çözüme kavuşamayacağını, çocukluk yaralarının artık kabuk bağlaması gerektiğini gösteremeyecek. Bir şeyleri değiştirmeye başlamak yine kişinin kendisinden başlıyor. Profesyonel bir yardımla da üstesinden gelinemeyecek problem yok. Herkese mutlu, huzurlu bir hayat dilerim.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kazza

    In my opinion, the single best book written on the subject of childhood abuse. I read this book originally fifteen+ years ago and it is still as powerful and as relevant today. The modern methodology for dealing with those who have been abused is much different than it was in days gone past, and Susan Forward makes a clear, concise and compelling point throughout about the strong feelings of guilt, of blame, and associated behaviours. How to deal with it, and how to reclaim your life. This is a In my opinion, the single best book written on the subject of childhood abuse. I read this book originally fifteen+ years ago and it is still as powerful and as relevant today. The modern methodology for dealing with those who have been abused is much different than it was in days gone past, and Susan Forward makes a clear, concise and compelling point throughout about the strong feelings of guilt, of blame, and associated behaviours. How to deal with it, and how to reclaim your life. This is a compassionate book but it is powerful and direct, and because of that I feel it is best read in conjunction with actually seeing a therapist. It can create strong visceral and cognitive reactions to past events. I believe talking with a therapist (who understands/works with childhood abuse) at the same time you read Toxic Parents can be a very powerful tool. Actual patient histories and outcomes are also explored, which helps/allows the reader to relate more intimately with the book. The book is written in an easy to read style. Toxic Parents is pretty much in two parts - the events, the reason(s) as to why people are where they are. Their classifications. Then ways of coping, healing and dealing with past abuse. About to re-read it again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    S_Liz Kim

    This book was given to me about 8 years ago, maybe more. Reading the cover, I thought - what a ridiculous sounding book; I had always scorned the concept anyway... the idea that I would "excuse" my life/ self-image/ relationship issues due to my "difficult" upbringing and by placing the "blame" on my ongoing relationship with my parents. And then I read the book. The author's layout of the book, her easy-to-read style, and her not too harsh tone earned my trust. It's a sensitive subject and she h This book was given to me about 8 years ago, maybe more. Reading the cover, I thought - what a ridiculous sounding book; I had always scorned the concept anyway... the idea that I would "excuse" my life/ self-image/ relationship issues due to my "difficult" upbringing and by placing the "blame" on my ongoing relationship with my parents. And then I read the book. The author's layout of the book, her easy-to-read style, and her not too harsh tone earned my trust. It's a sensitive subject and she handled it respectfully. It was her approach and technique that surprised me. The author defended the child we all were once. Her take on forgiveness was also very novel. I finished reading reading the book, two weeks ago, and I'm still processing the concepts. It takes a special person to engage so completely in an intimate subject matter and the author easily overcame my skepticism and taught me that I am not alone. That was both a sad and liberating realization.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    I had my first counselling session today, and mostly she just wanted me to read books, once she'd got some idea of how I'm feeling and why. This was one of them. I've always recognised that my parents were not the best possible parents they could be. While much of this book didn't apply to me, much of it could help me. While it does seem to set out a bit of an only-one-way attitude to it, which I don't think is true, it can definitely be helpful. It includes case studies as examples, some of whi I had my first counselling session today, and mostly she just wanted me to read books, once she'd got some idea of how I'm feeling and why. This was one of them. I've always recognised that my parents were not the best possible parents they could be. While much of this book didn't apply to me, much of it could help me. While it does seem to set out a bit of an only-one-way attitude to it, which I don't think is true, it can definitely be helpful. It includes case studies as examples, some of which are quite upsetting, especially if you identify with them at all. It's easy to read, in the sense that it doesn't use complicated vocabulary, and it's quite matter-of-fact. I felt quite resistant to parts of it, but that didn't mean it wasn't true on some level. Definitely worth reading, and if you have a counsellor/therapist, talking over your reactions with them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lily S.

    I think everyone should read this, regardless of what kind of relationship they had with their parents. It can be used to detect toxic people and relationships in life and also shows what kind of damage it can cause. EDIT: 6/30/2017 This book gave me a new perspective about forgiveness and I still think a lot about this particular passage: "I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge I think everyone should read this, regardless of what kind of relationship they had with their parents. It can be used to detect toxic people and relationships in life and also shows what kind of damage it can cause. EDIT: 6/30/2017 This book gave me a new perspective about forgiveness and I still think a lot about this particular passage: "I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do. "

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    wow! this book really did help me to recognize how certain things affect/affected me throughout my childhood, and to the present. and i really like the first rule "you do not have to forgive." if you truly have not recovered from a parents toxic ways, you do not have to forgive them, cuz forgiving the toxic parent w/o addressing how they harmed/ affect(ed) you is like just sweeping the issue under the rug.. so not healthy. i highly recommend this book to anyone who had or has to deal with toxic wow! this book really did help me to recognize how certain things affect/affected me throughout my childhood, and to the present. and i really like the first rule "you do not have to forgive." if you truly have not recovered from a parents toxic ways, you do not have to forgive them, cuz forgiving the toxic parent w/o addressing how they harmed/ affect(ed) you is like just sweeping the issue under the rug.. so not healthy. i highly recommend this book to anyone who had or has to deal with toxic parents ( drunks, addicts, verbal abusers, neglecters, etc.). it was very helpful and eye opening!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kes Swanson

    This was a quick read but really didn't offer any useful, or real world, advice on how to overcome toxic parenting and reclaim your life. The book mostly focused on realizing and confronting the toxic parents. I would have given this book 2.5 stars if I could.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jaymi Boswell

    This book was so painful for me I had to stop reading it. I picked it back up a few more times with breaks in between. You have to be ready to handle a book that makes you look at these very difficult issues. I do believe it's essential to read if you are going to work with children and or come from a background of abuse of ANY KIND.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Wow. Unbelievable. This book explains you. It opens your eyes. It teaches you. It helps you. I almost cried after reading some painful experiences in the book. It's so sad to see how a bad parent can damage his/her daughter/son. I totally recommend this book to anyone. Even if you didn't have a toxic parent. Susan, you're my hero.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Leone

    This a very difficult book to read. I was prompted by two different people in my life to read this book and listen to what it had to say and I found that after reading it I was much more aware of problems I had that I was not aware of. The way this was written was very positive and helpful, nothing making me feel like it was my fault I grew up the way I did, but also not telling me that I was completely without blame, because be honest. If I do not stand up for myself and try to change my life, This a very difficult book to read. I was prompted by two different people in my life to read this book and listen to what it had to say and I found that after reading it I was much more aware of problems I had that I was not aware of. The way this was written was very positive and helpful, nothing making me feel like it was my fault I grew up the way I did, but also not telling me that I was completely without blame, because be honest. If I do not stand up for myself and try to change my life, who will? This book highlights many different aspects of abusive or non-nurturing parenting issues and helps relate to the reader by use of stories and cases the author had experienced in her practice. Toxic Parents also makes sure to give suggestions on how to handle situations when confronting your parents, lists to determine how effected you actually are by your parents, and steps in overcoming the issues and breaking the cycle of abuse. When paired with therapy, this book is really effective and helped me realize that I can no longer hide from my issues and pain, I must confront it in order to become stronger.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael Cable

    Never has a self-help book been more self-helpful and poignant. Once I picked this up, at the suggestion of my therapist, I was swept away. I saw myself and my life in ever page and the book helped me to recognize why many of the things that have gone wrong in my life have happened. Through the stories of the case studies, one begins to feel a developing sense of compassion and understanding for these injured people that eventually helped me to feel the same for myself. Ms. Forward's logic is so Never has a self-help book been more self-helpful and poignant. Once I picked this up, at the suggestion of my therapist, I was swept away. I saw myself and my life in ever page and the book helped me to recognize why many of the things that have gone wrong in my life have happened. Through the stories of the case studies, one begins to feel a developing sense of compassion and understanding for these injured people that eventually helped me to feel the same for myself. Ms. Forward's logic is sound and her caring is complete. Everyone struggling with personal issues should read this in order to help identify what the root cause of those problems may be.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Cooper

    I read this book around 15 years ago. Since then I've re-read it many times and bought copies for others. I have a yahoo group with the same title and I set questions on the book every week or so. I grew up in numerous toxic families. In the 90's I decided to pull off the onion skins and get to the heart because I kept having itises and I learnt that a sore throat is unshed tears. So although it was very painful to look deply ito my childhood I persevered, started changing my life, wrote my book I read this book around 15 years ago. Since then I've re-read it many times and bought copies for others. I have a yahoo group with the same title and I set questions on the book every week or so. I grew up in numerous toxic families. In the 90's I decided to pull off the onion skins and get to the heart because I kept having itises and I learnt that a sore throat is unshed tears. So although it was very painful to look deply ito my childhood I persevered, started changing my life, wrote my books and started campaigning and lobbying against child abuse.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sequoia

    DISCLAIMER: If you did not enjoy this book, it is because of: 1) You did not have toxic parents, nor any experience of toxic parents by association 2) You are not open to what the book contains. For example, while I am open to information and aim to improve, I know my brother would either scoff at the book, or agree with the contents but say the book would help others (and not realize the impact our parents had on him). This is the reaction of someone who is not open to change, nor realize they DISCLAIMER: If you did not enjoy this book, it is because of: 1) You did not have toxic parents, nor any experience of toxic parents by association 2) You are not open to what the book contains. For example, while I am open to information and aim to improve, I know my brother would either scoff at the book, or agree with the contents but say the book would help others (and not realize the impact our parents had on him). This is the reaction of someone who is not open to change, nor realize they MUST change to acquire true happiness. Man, this was a hard book to read.If you have unresolved issues with your parents, please read this. It's amazing how much this book resonates with a troubled adult, regardless of the section. For example, my parents never drank (my dad only socially), but that part screamed out at me because of similar circumstances. The really creepy part? A certain part identified me to a T. Well, the old me, the one I was before I started recognizing my behaviors and started slowly changing. It was really creepy. However, it made me feel like I was not alone, like I didn't need to carry the burden by myself anymore. It was ok to talk, I was not alone, and I didn't need to hide myself from the world anymore. This book did not resolve everything, but it was a major push towards the person I strive to be.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Huma Rashid

    Susan Forward has done such tremendous good in writing this book. I'd advise all my Desi kid friends to read this. Our parents are classic "Controllers." And we are all fucked up because of it, tbh. But Forward helps set forth the work we have to do to be better.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Healing and insightful but painful to read. Life's a bitch, I guess. No matter what you do, you'll still be on the wrong side, in the wrong life and in therapy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jurga Jurgita

    Šioje knygoje mokslų daktarė, garsi psichologė, dėstytoja, grupinių terapinių užsiėmimų ir mokymų vadovė Susan Forward dalijasi tikromis jau suaugusių vaikų, kuriuos užaugino toksiški tėvai, istorijomis. Šie nesumeluoti pasakojimai gali padėti išsilaisvinti iš žlugdančių santykių su tėvais ir atrasti naują pasaulį, pripildytą pasitikėjimo savimi, vidinės stiprybės ir emocinės nepriklausomybės. Pačią knygą sudaro dvi dalys. Pirmojoje nagrinėjama, kaip elgiasi skirtingų tipų toksiški tėvai. Apžvel Šioje knygoje mokslų daktarė, garsi psichologė, dėstytoja, grupinių terapinių užsiėmimų ir mokymų vadovė Susan Forward dalijasi tikromis jau suaugusių vaikų, kuriuos užaugino toksiški tėvai, istorijomis. Šie nesumeluoti pasakojimai gali padėti išsilaisvinti iš žlugdančių santykių su tėvais ir atrasti naują pasaulį, pripildytą pasitikėjimo savimi, vidinės stiprybės ir emocinės nepriklausomybės. Pačią knygą sudaro dvi dalys. Pirmojoje nagrinėjama, kaip elgiasi skirtingų tipų toksiški tėvai. Apžvelgiama, kokiais įvairiais būdais jie skaudino savo vaikus ir gal vis dar tebeskaudina. Antroje dalyje yra aptariama ir paaiškinama, ką daryti, kad būtų galima atkurti jėgų pusiausvyrą bendraujant su vaikus traumuojančiais tėvais. Sakyčiau, ši knyga visiškai kitokia, bet tuo pačiu labai informatyvi ir naudinga tiems, kas augo tokiose šeimose, kur vienas iš tėvų, o galbūt ir abu buvo toksiški ir visais įmanomais būdais kenkė.

  28. 4 out of 5

    زهرا غفاری

    دارم عاشقِ این زن میشم :))

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Borrowed this from the library. Whether or not you think you had toxic parents growing up, I would suggest reading this book. This book makes it easy to pinpoint your parent(s)' toxicity. There are several patients followed in this book, all with different kinds of bad parents. Whether it's one of both parents, you get real advice (not substitute for going to therapy yourself), and all the stories resolve, in some form or another, by the end of the book. The book also gives you guidelines and sug Borrowed this from the library. Whether or not you think you had toxic parents growing up, I would suggest reading this book. This book makes it easy to pinpoint your parent(s)' toxicity. There are several patients followed in this book, all with different kinds of bad parents. Whether it's one of both parents, you get real advice (not substitute for going to therapy yourself), and all the stories resolve, in some form or another, by the end of the book. The book also gives you guidelines and suggestions, which also letting you know of the consequences, good and bad, of decisions you may make. I read through this book quickly, and it's not a huge book. However, it wasn't the length that aided me, it was the content. I kept reading and found myself nodding at all the traits that I recognized in my own parents. It give a great sense of validation, knowing that you're not exaggerating, you're not overreacting, and that how your parents raised you was in fact damaging. It also gives you hope that you can overcome all the negativity and damage and enjoy your life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Rae Baker

    I read this book some time ago but have thought of picking it up again and reviewing. There are so many details and insights to consider...I learned a ton of things that helped me with my history as well as support of what had happened with my own children. It's hard to deal with things sometimes that are from the past but when they start to invade your dreams and waking moments then it's time to look at them again. Maybe do some journeling, artwork, or talking to someone that understands what y I read this book some time ago but have thought of picking it up again and reviewing. There are so many details and insights to consider...I learned a ton of things that helped me with my history as well as support of what had happened with my own children. It's hard to deal with things sometimes that are from the past but when they start to invade your dreams and waking moments then it's time to look at them again. Maybe do some journeling, artwork, or talking to someone that understands what you are dealing with. This book is a resource...I've looked at it for many years...finally read it cover to cover...and have used it recently for encouragement and insight with current issues. Something you may want to have in your library permanently!

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