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Parenting resources for those raised by narcissists

(157 Posts)
buildingmycorestrength Fri 29-Mar-13 20:17:12

Hi, I've been over on Herrena's 'regale me with hilarious/ridiculous things your narcissist has said or done' thread. I had a narc dad and when I became a parent I had a lot of problems dealing to do with children! I was frightened of my child, got angry easily, had no idea what was normal.

I think this pretty standard for people who grew up in dysfunctional families...and I turned to books for help. Like I always do .

I read some books that didn't help much at all. Unconditional parenting books were great in some ways because they focused so much on loving and caring, which were hard for me and didn't come naturally. BUT I had no common sense to temper them with partly because of not having much experience with children but also because of not really knowing about normal boundaries. I ended up with a three-year-old tyrant which didn't work at all. grin

Then I went to parenting classes, which were really incredibly helpful. Specifically I was on a course called 'Raising Children' which dealt with assertiveness, what children need, boundaries, and much more.

From there, I ended up watching the 123 Magic DVD. My husband and I watched this together, and I dithered a lot about it all, but can honestly say I think it saved our family. A very gentle discipline system that is practical, friendly, and works. The DVD is really funny too. I also have the book for backup.

I found two other books really helpful as well. Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen gave me really concrete strategies for playing and connecting with my kids (and how to deal with boring play). Buddhism for Mothers was also really helpful for general mindfulness practice. (I'm not a Buddhist, by the way, am actually a church goer- but loved this book.)

These three resources work really well together...123 Magic focuses on behaviour, Playful Parenting on connection, and Buddhism for Mothers on getting my own head right. I don't think I could be trusted to follow one book, because of not really knowing the common sense limits to what they are saying. So I usually take bits from several and sort of patch them together.

Full disclosure: I also had group therapy and individual therapy, both focused on CBT.

I'd be really interested to hear if others from dysfunctional families or with narcissistic parents in particular, have found their own helpful resources for parenting.

crushedintherush Fri 29-Mar-13 23:15:32

Hi building, I cannot help regarding the parenting side of narcissism, because I made the conscious decision not to have children due to the fear of passing on subconscious bad traits from my mum.

I'm sure someone will come along soon, but you have my support anyway.
Good luck smile

crushedintherush Fri 29-Mar-13 23:23:57

Really good thread, by the way, loads of information there for parents smile

crushedintherush Fri 29-Mar-13 23:39:51

Just a thought, but maybe it would be best to move the post to, say, parenting, or behaviour and development via the being a parent topic. You might receive some replies there.
hth smile

rhondajean Fri 29-Mar-13 23:54:42

Not parenting as such, but my friend let me read the book on toxic parents and it helped me deal with many of my own feelings?

NothingsLeft Sat 30-Mar-13 00:31:09

Marking my back in the morning smile

garlicbrunch Sat 30-Mar-13 01:00:02

Your recommendations are brilliant smile Taken alongside the parenting classes and therapy, I imagine lightbulbs must have been popping like fireworks in your head! It must also have been hard at times: learning about children, and parenting with love, tends to throw our own childhood into unflatteringly sharp relief.

Before adding my bit, I'd better declare I haven't got children. I have cared for many. The most profound recommendation I have is inner-child work for our selves: at the beginning of Homecoming, John Bradshaw says that we can't really parent well until we have 're-parented' ourselves. This is heavy stuff; I found the book hard going in places, but I do now agree. After doing the work I saw children in a fresher, glorious light. I'm sorry I haven't seen all the children I cared for so clearly.

On a similar note, but much more in tune with your original question, I absolutely love How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk and the Teens version. They're all about understanding and respecting your child as an individual - and they work!

Nice thread, OP smile

dawntigga Sat 30-Mar-13 08:08:24

Just place marking so I can go and have a look when I don't have The Cub crawling all over me wink


montmartre Sat 30-Mar-13 08:12:59

What a fanastic idea!
Thank you thanks

Midwife99 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:26:00

Marking my place!!! smile

Shellywelly1973 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:38:48

Just marking my place.

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 30-Mar-13 08:44:28

Well done OP in tackling such a taboo and complicated personal issue. You sound like an excellent parent and exceptional human being.grin

MaryRobinson Sat 30-Mar-13 08:52:45

I grew up in a lovely family and am a huge fan of Unconditional Parenting and Playful Parenting especially. I will say though that even for someone who grew up in normality, the UP book is very challenging. The fact you can see that and take it on board demonstrates your "normalness" to me.

Good luck, you sound like a super mother!

GoingtobeRuth Sat 30-Mar-13 08:53:22

Excellent thread, thank you for the reading advice, now my daughter is three it is starting to show the enormous gaps in our parenting skills created by two sets of narc/depressive parents.
Communication is an issue at present in our house and I cannot emulate my mother and go for a shouting 'do as I say now' style because I know what that has done to my head
A couple of books are on their way already
Happy Easter all and thank you OP

dothraki Sat 30-Mar-13 09:13:22

Building wink wow - you've really done it. I feel strangely proud of you - great thread.

buildingmycorestrength Sat 30-Mar-13 10:07:24

Hello all, and thank you so much for joining in!

I do not have it all sorted, of course. Just in case you thought I had, um, 'answers'. grin.

But I do find it helpful to think that although other parents (maybe from more functional backgrounds) might be interested in reading parenting books, they might not NEED guidance the way I do.

And then I have to also recognise my desire to do it right and perfectly is also a result of my background and personality, and remember that my kids will probably be pretty fine, actually, and I'm probably doing a good enough job, and that there isn't a way of being a perfect parent. But there are ways of avoiding being a terrible parent.


buildingmycorestrength Sat 30-Mar-13 10:11:42

And thank you also those who are sharing despite not having children. I respect your conscious decision not to perpetuate the mess.

I, in my naivety and arrogant youth, thought it would be easy to a better parent than my parents...I have more compassion for them now. I can't imagine being a parent with the levels of drama and rage and despair my parents must have had. Urgh. I want it to be easier than that...and it is paradoxically hard to get there.

Midwife99 Sat 30-Mar-13 10:29:24

123 Magic is fantastic!! It worked a treat with our 3 year old!

ElectricSheep Sat 30-Mar-13 10:35:06

Thanks flowers Building for starting this. Just ordered the parenting teens book. Hard times are upon me big style sad

forgetmenots Sat 30-Mar-13 12:29:04

Great idea and thanks OP for starting this.

DC1 due in ten weeks and DH is worried about his narc mother's influence affecting his parenting, I keep telling him the fact that he is worried makes him Not a Narc! But all resources would be useful and I will definitely pass these on.

crushedintherush Sat 30-Mar-13 16:33:55

rhondajean. Do you think the toxic parent book has helped you in any way?

crushedintherush Sat 30-Mar-13 16:36:04

Great thread, building, sounds like you're helping a lot of parents out here, and helping the next generation alsosmile

rhondajean Sat 30-Mar-13 16:38:58

Hi crushed.

I think it helped me understand my mother a lot more and realise the effect she had on my reactions. That let me start to forgive her and her grip on my life was loosened.

rhondajean Sat 30-Mar-13 16:40:32

I wish I had understood and read these books 13 years ago, I'm worried I may have replicated some of it particularly with my 13 year old as I was much less aware when she was younger.

But, I'm working on it!

prettywhiteguitar Sat 30-Mar-13 17:09:26

Hey I have had some similar issues, particularly around those 'difficult ages' where my short temper and instant 0-60 shouting have scared my dc.

I think my mum did feel guilty and couldn't control herself, she saw what she was doing and then explained it away as me being a difficult and moody child, that has affected the way I see my dc, it's not them in charge I am the adult and if they are being challenging its up to me to help sort it out.

I read stuff on here at the time, when ds was 3(he was really arguementive ) and it really helped. Now dd is coming up to 2 I think I will have a look at those books as I can feel myself slipping back into just getting annoyed with her

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