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Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life [Paperback]

Susan Forward
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 2 2002
Are you the child of toxic parents?

When you were a child...

• Did your parents tell you you were bad or worthless?
• Did your parents use physical pain to discipline you?
• Did you have to take care of your parents because of their problems?
• Were you often frightened of your parents?
• Did your parents do anything to you that had to be kept secret?

Now that you’re an adult...

• Do your parents still treat you as if you were a child?
• Do you have intense emotional or physical reactions after spending time with your parents?
• Do your parents control you with threats or guilt? Do they manipulate you with money?
• Do you feel that no matter what you do, it’s never good enough for your parents?

In this remarkable self-help guide, Dr. Susan Forward draws on case histories and the real-life voices of adult children of toxic parents to help you free yourself from the frustrating patterns of your relationship with your parents — and discover a new world of self-confidence, inner strength, and emotional independence.

Frequently Bought Together

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life + Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers + Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents
Price For All Three: CDN$ 43.27

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Product Description

From Amazon

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A dynamic, powerful, hard-hitting book. It offers tremendous hope as well as understanding. It could truly be a lifesaver.”
— Abigail Van Buren, “Dear Abby”

“I consider Susan Forward to be among the foremost therapists of our age.”
— John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You and Homecoming


Bantam Books by Susan Forward:

Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them:
When Loving Hurts and You Don’t Know Why

Obsessive Love:
When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go

Toxic Parents:
Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The ancient Greeks had a problem. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How a book can change your life May 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I am a professional who never realized that the family chaos I endured was not an isolated incident. I thought I was alone, and the only one who suffered at the hands of my parents. After all, there were no physical scars to show for it. This book changed my life, and saved it. It changed my husband, and has influenced my siblings and helped me prevent sending the same damaging messages to my children. I am a true skeptic that any armchair psychologist could know anything about someone they have never seen or examined. This book was like reading about myself! Frightening, but eventually very emancipating. This has never happened to me. If you feel you suffered as a child, read this book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll try this once again . . . Jan. 11 2007
By G.O.
Format:Paperback
If you are a child of a toxic parent you will find Susan Forward's book both validating and empowering. Forward says that healing is most effective when you proceed down the double track of changing self-defeating behaviors and disconnecting from traumas from the past.

The goal of the book is to reverse the balance of power in your relationship with your toxic parents. Forward says all parents are deficient at times but Toxic Parents have consistently harmful effects. Focusing on their own problems Toxic Parents expect kids to take care of them, turning their children into mini-adults. Unable to control their own deep-seated rage, they blame their children. They control their children via guilt and manipulation. They are extraordinarily insensitive to both the pain they inflict and the lasting damage they do. They overtly or subtly abuse their children with constant put-downs and rob them of self-confidence. They may abuse alcohol or drugs and are mired in denial.

If you are a child of a toxic parent you will find Susan Forward's book both validating and empowering. Forward says that healing is most effective when you proceed down the double track of changing self-defeating behaviors and disconnecting from traumas from the past.

The goal of the book is to reverse the balance of power in your relationship with your toxic parents. Forward says all parents are deficient at times but Toxic Parents have consistently harmful effects. Focusing on their own problems Toxic Parents expect kids to take care of them, turning their children into mini-adults. Unable to control their own deep-seated rage, they blame their children. They control their children via guilt and manipulation. They are extraordinarily insensitive to both the pain they inflict and the lasting damage they do. They overtly or subtly abuse their children with constant put-downs and rob them of self-confidence. They may abuse alcohol or drugs and are mired in denial.
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read and Reread Often If You Were Abused Feb. 7 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a medical doctor who excelled in psychiatry (a great deal of which is pseudo-science), and as a child of a physically abusive mother and emotionally abusive father, I believe this "pop psychology" book is one of the best ever written. I do not agree with Forward's solutions completely, but they are far better than most psychoanalysis will ever offer and much less expensive. Don't act until you have reread the book several times and feel you really "get it." Although this book is an easy read, I think it helps to have some prior understanding of psychology and I am not sure that I would have found this book as helpful were I not very familiar with psychology in general. I know both psychologists and psychiatrists who have found this book to be helpful for themselves (it seems every one I know in this field was abused as a child). Read it again, especially, when you feel ashamed of your own behavior. The book won't solve all your problems, but it will certainly help you understand them AND deal with them in a more productive way.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Proceed with caution March 17 2004
By Ms Diva
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up from a used book store mostly because, as as someone who does family support work and has worked with abused children, I felt compelled to read it - the book is considered a classic. It hasn't, at least to me, stood the test of time. It may still be worth reading for professionals just on the grounds I stated - because of the book's status as a classic, but I wouldn't reccommend it for people who are still working through abuse issues.
First, the strengths of the book. Forward uses alot of vignettes to illustrate her points. This technique is helpful for readers because it demonstrates that, despite what some of her critics have suggested, she doesn't consider every parent who has ever raised his/her voice to a child to be a toxic parent. She does know what real abuse is, and she provides good definitions, including some good checklists, to help determine it. Some of her advice is very practical, such as the need for counselling, and the use of techniques such as role play and letter writing. The book is fast paced and easy to understand.
So why such a low grade? Forward is stuck on blaming parents for their mistakes. She wants to label all abusive parents as monsters, and many aren't. At times, Forward seems to have an understanding of family systems theory, but she then fails to utilize it to have some empathy for the conditions that created the abusive parents in the first place. I don't think her level of anger is particularly useful to victims. Anger can only get a person so far; eventually there must be healing. I also disagree, based on solid research, with her stance against forgiveness. Eventually, if victims don't forgive, they will remain under the control of the abuse/abuser.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Cases But Weak Solutions
In laying out her case against parents who are abusive to their children, author Dr. Susan Forward presents us with a number of interesting if somewhat disturbing stories from some... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Michael J. Oldfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Toxic Parents
I am so glad I read this book. It alleviated a lot of the guilt I had been carrying around for not wanting a relationship with one of my parents. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kelsi
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thoughts
I received the book promptly. It was in pristine condition. Despite the extreme examples used to illustrate the toxicity of the parent-children relationship, it applies to less... Read more
Published 11 months ago by ED
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Altering
Fantastic workbook for addressing and overcoming.
Everything from controlling parents to molestation is addressed and your paths forward and out are explained. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Taura
5.0 out of 5 stars You can change your life
When I saw the title of this book, my first reaction was "Gee, that's redundant." For me, "toxic" and "parents" just seemed to go together, and I'm in my forties now so you know... Read more
Published on March 23 2007 by Bob
4.0 out of 5 stars Right on the money
If you are a child of a toxic parent you will find Susan Forward's book both validating and empowering. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2007 by Garrick O.
5.0 out of 5 stars Redundancy
When I saw the title of this book, my first reaction was "Gee, that's redundant." For me, "toxic" and "parents" just seemed to go together, and I'm... Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived the imperfect life
Leanna Jackson, going to be a survivor,
This is an excellent book and speaks as though it is talking about my own past. Read more
Published on June 1 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful!
I read this book a while back and it really does have some useful techniques to cut those unhealthy apron strings. A must read for anyone who has a relationship with anyone. Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Laurie Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars straight talk that can change your life
I personally found this book to be life changing. It was first mentioned to me by a therapist four years ago and I found it to be one of the few books out there that is informative... Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by "gidgetgrl52"
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