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Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage Paperback – October 15, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Forward, PhD, is an internationally renowned therapist, lecturer, and author. Her books include the number-one New York Times bestsellers Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them and Toxic Parents. In addition to her private practice, she has served as a therapist, instructor, and consultant in numerous Southern California psychiatric and medical facilities.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060507853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060507855
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I often recommend Susan Forward's other books, "Toxic Parents" and "Emotional Blackmail" in my ministry for adult children of abusive or controlling birth-families (Luke 17:3 Ministries). I read "Toxic In-Laws" in the hopes of adding yet another dimension to the damage overbearing or controlling parents can do to your life.

I liked how the book started out, describing the types of toxic in-laws, which include Critics, Engulfers, Controllers. Rejectors, and Masters of Chaos. The analysis of why they behave this way was right on. Examples of the reasons why include concern over "what people will think", a missing empathy gene, holding onto your partner (their child) at all costs, acting out old scripts, and exorcising their demons by attacking you. The author is so right when she warns young marrieds that if they think the in-laws are controlling now, just wait till the grandkids come along! She teaches us that although many of us cling to the false hope that "once they get to know me, they'll like me", time doesn't help and usually worsens the hostility.

We are shown that we are part of a triangle- often viewed as competition by our spouses' parents. Many times they don't like that they now have to deal with you, and that their issues are no longer just between them and their child. They know you influence their child and are angry that their child has "left them" for you. They may have rigid opinions, think they know everything and you (and/or their child) know nothing , and will distort reality to make it conform to their truth.

Unfortunately, the child of such in-laws usually does not stand up for his or her spouse. The spouse is left feeling like an outsider with everyone against her.
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Format: Paperback
Let me begin by saying there isn't a book by Susan Forward that isn't very helpful in making you understand what the problem really is and how to make it better. Her book on verbal abuse was so excellent. I think I have read ALL of her books. What makes this book great is that she gives numerous examples of different couples and their in-law problems so there is a very good probability you will find your specific problem in the book. The strategies given are ones you may not have even considered in your frustration of dealing with your obnoxious self centered in law(s). I was very angry before I read this, now I'm just mildly amused. I won't be controlled with my own resentments/emotions any more. Susan will help you understand their ... little world of either not being able to "share" the love, or whatever unresolved mess is in their minds, so you wont/dont take it personally.
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Format: Paperback
I ordered Toxic In Laws after enduring yet another horrible holiday season with my in-laws. I was prompted to order the book because of the "protecting your marriage" part of the title. In the past, I've been angry with my in-laws on many occasions, but usually I just put it behind me. This Christmas, however, my mother-in-law verbally attacked our young son, and that was the end of the line for me. I had concerns about being able to effectively communicate my position to my husband, and as many of Dr. Forward's clients mention in the book, I have never felt like my husband was completely on my side. In reading the book, I could pull out specific examples of behaviours that are very similar if not identical to things we've gone through with my in-laws, and I was able to share the information with my husband. I felt very empowered by the book, and began to realize that there is no way that one person in a relationship involving three other people can possibly "fix" it all by themselves. The book gave me suggestions about what to say to my husband and helped me move past communicating from anger and hurt to a more rational and sincere way of speaking. I would highly recommend this book to anyone having trouble with in-laws who is concerned about the effects on your marriage. I wish I'd read it sooner. We are still going through the process of dealing with this and I don't know how it will all come out. Dr. Forward isn't promising any quick fixes. I do know, however, that if the very worst happened and my husband and I were to break up over these issues with his parents, that I would feel totally comfortable that I had done all I could to stand for myself while supporting my husband and protecting my kids.
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Format: Paperback
If you have a husband you don't understand and a mother in law you'd like to take out (and we aren't talking dinner) this book will do a great deal for you. It's very helpful in understanding the cycle of mental abuse your spouse has endured and why they simply cannot see things in the same light as you. It gives good advice on how to set your own boundaries and when to let things go. Certainly worth buying, especially if your marriage is in trouble b/c of a nasty inlaw.
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By A Customer on October 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Good book. If you have problems with your in-laws it will give some insight into why they behave so badly and some pointers on how to over come the hurdles. Now I'll never say "I didn't marry your parents, I married you!" again. I'm going to hand a copy of "Toxic Parents" (another book by Susan Forward) to my husband.
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