Tuesday, March 29, 2016

First Look: Toxic Parents

I can't remember how I stumbled upon this book on Amazon, but I ordered a used copy, and after about a month, it finally arrived:

Toxic Parents, Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Probably something I should have read when I was 15.  I wish it was in print back then and I knew it was around.  It's sad to still be working on these issues in my 50's.  What a waste of time.

Anyway, I've barely scratched the surface, but near the beginning of the book is the following quiz:

I. Your Relationship with Your Parents When You Were a Child
  1. Did your parents tell you you were bad or worthless?  Did they call you insulting names?  Did they constantly criticize you?
  2. Did your parents use physical pain to discipline you?  Did they beat you with belts, brushes, for other objects?
  3. Did your parents get drunk or use drugs?  Did you feel confused, uncomfortable, frightened, hurt, or ashamed by this?
  4. Were your parents severely depressed or unavailable because of emotional difficulties or mental or physical illness?
  5. Did you have to take care of your parents because of their problems?
  6. Did your parents do anything to you that had to be kept secret?  Were you sexually molested in any way?
  7. Were you frightened of your parents a great deal of the time?
  8. Were you afraid to express anger at your parents?
II.  Your Adult Life
  1. Do you find yourself in destructive or abusive relationships?
  2. Do you believe that if you get too close to someone, they will hurt and/or abandon you?
  3. Do you expect the worst from people? From life in general?
  4. Do you have a hard time knowing who you are, what you feel, and what you want?
  5. Are you afraid that if people knew the really you, the wouldn't like you?
  6. Do you fell anxious when you're successful and frightened that someone will find out you're a fraud?
  7. Do you get angry or sad for no apparent reason?
  8. Are you a perfectionist?
  9. Is it difficult for you to relax or have a good time?
  10. Despite your best intentions, do you find yourself behaving "just like your parents"?
III. Your Relationship with Your Parents as an Adult
  1. Do your parents still treat you as if you were a child?
  2. Are many of your major life decisions based upon whether your parents will approve?
  3. Do you have intense emotional or physical relations after you spend or anticipate spending time with your parents?
  4. Are you afraid to disagree with your parents?
  5. Do your parents manipulate you with money?
  6. Do your parents manipulate you with threats or guilt?
  7. Do you feel responsible for how your parents feel?  If they're unhappy, do you feel it's your fault?  Is it your job to make it better for them?
  8. Do you believe that no matter what you do, it's never good enough for your parents?
  9. Do you believe that someday, somehow, your parents are going to change for the better?
So it's a used book, and the person who owned it before me circled nearly every item.  I feel you, man.  My quiz gets a lot of circles, too.

The author states, "If you answered yes to even one-third of these questions, there is a great deal in this book that can help you".

Well, I am reading on...slowly.  Honestly, it is not the first thing I want to pick up when I am getting home from work, but I am hopeful there really is something in the book that will help me -- and my daughter.

Here's the deets:

Toxic Parents - Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
by Susan Forward, PhD with Craig Buck
ISBN 0-553-38140-7

I found it used on Amazon for just a few bucks.  The cover says it was a New York Times bestseller.

Be well.

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