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self help books for people with toxic/npd parents

(7 Posts)
bamboobutton Tue 21-Jun-11 08:11:17

i've seen them recommeded on threads quite a few times but can't remember what they're called or which threads i saw them on.

i think i need to get one for dh so he can come to terms with what his dad was like when dh was a child and give him some help with how to deal with him now.

i think fil is more toxic than npd but definitly has npd traits.

greencolorpack Tue 21-Jun-11 08:15:42

I have a good book called Toxic Parents. Its American and full of case studies, like about alcoholic parents etc.

bamboobutton Tue 21-Jun-11 08:26:01


does it have a section about parents who were physically abusive, slipper beatings, wall punching, door kicking, destroying their belongings etc?

and also is there a section what will help with mental domination, fil likes to try and control how dh thinks and tries to force his way of thinking on him, dh rolls over like a puppy and won't challenge him as it sends fil into an over dramtic rage

greencolorpack Tue 21-Jun-11 09:28:19

Chapter 6 is about the Physical Abusers. It's by Susan Forward PhD. I'm now in the bedroom with the computer and just found the book, hurrah.

The book describes different kinds of parents- physical abusers, verbal abusers, alcoholics, controllers, inadequate parents. It just goes through case studies, and in the second part it has therapy ideas.

Part 2, reclaiming your life. You don't have to forgive. The beginning of self-definition, who is really responsible, Confrontration - the road to independence, healing the incest wound, breaking the cycle - these are the chapter headings.

Trying to remember what I got from the book. It describes dysfunctional ways of living, within families, like where one child takes the blame for everything. It says that to help yourself you don't need to forgive, at least not at the start of the healing process, but at the end. Too often the need to forgive is another way of saying "Forgive and forget", sweep things under the carpet.

The book recommends confronting the toxic parent. Being very sure of what you will say to them and asking them firmly, assertively but not aggressively to act in a different way. And not falling into old habits/patterns of behaviour. The parent will likely get more and more annoyed because their usual abusive "shtick" isn't having the right effect. The toxic parent needs an ultimatum "Either we resolve this or I will cut off contact".

If the toxic parent is dead you are supposed to sit in a room and talk to an empty chair as if they are the parent.

For me the book was good, gives a lot to think about and fairly stirs up the emotions. Has your dh had any counselling? I think the advice about sitting in a room and talking to the toxic parent is impractical. Fine if you live just down the road but if you've moved 500 miles away from them, time together is rare and it's hard to have an emotionally devastating conversation with a toxic parent without sufficient time to pick up the pieces. I did try this once, it was an utter disaster. Worked okay for a while, then realised that she was too wrapped up in her own dramatic sense of self "Why is my daughter being so cruel to me? Poor me!!" that she eventually started screaming at me. And her partner was looking passive aggressive daggers at me while I was sitting there in tears, over dinner, my children saying why is mummy crying? I couldn't get out of there fast enough. When you're stuck at a parent's house, hundreds of miles from home, no husband around but two kids in tow it's hard to make a fast exit. Next I heard from her, "I fear she (me) will never come to my house again" said in a tragic manner - her sympathy extends as far as herself but no further, and her partner hates me all the more (if that's possible). That was a few years back, I've limited contact to superficial contact since. Don't even try to be deep. Moral coward, cest moi.

bamboobutton Tue 21-Jun-11 16:32:14

thanks ever so much! i've ordered the book so i will force dh to read it. or i will read it to him.

he's not had any councelling, i doubt very much that he would either, he is very much a sweep it under the carpet person and won't talk about it in much depth with me as it just makes him angry. i hope this book will help me to help him too as i have no experience of toxic parents so can't understand what he has gone through.

fil definitly does the poor me act. i had a big falling out with him when i confronted him with his abusive past and he did turned on the waterworks after flipping out and trashing furniture in front of our 3yo ds and scaring him half to death. i didn't fall for that for one minute.

curlychips Tue 21-Jun-11 17:48:08

My dad sounds similar to your DH's. He is and was a twat in many ways - very psychologically abusive as well as physically. I suggest your DH sees a counsellor - he can get one for free on the NHS. This really, really helped me (helped also by the fact he couldn't be bothered to come to my wedding and in a way that made me realise that it wasn't me who was fundamentally unloveable as him who is a dick!)

curlychips Tue 21-Jun-11 17:49:46

Sorry I didn't see that part about counselling before I posted. I still suggest he talks to someone (although it is disturbing when the counsellor looks horrified at quite what a shit your dad is!)

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