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Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life Paperback – Jan 2 2002


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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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (Jan. 2 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780553381405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381405
  • ASIN: 0553381407
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17 2004
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 By G.O. on Jan. 11 2007
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 7 2003
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 By Ms Diva on March 17 2004
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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