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on September 9, 2016
I once heard this quote: Our neuroses cause the most psychic distress when those who inculcated them die and move beyond argument and mercy. This book brought me a lot of peace of mind before and after my father died. It enabled me to share with my father how the past had caused me great pain, but I nonetheless wanted to move beyond that in a more helpful and loving way. He could not hear what I had to say, but being able to articulate it, after reading this book, gave me great peace of mind for many years afterwards. So, when he passed away, I had no regrets about not having tried to heal the relationship. I had done all I could responsibly do; I resolved I was not responsible for the riff that had lasted for two decades. I was free.
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on July 9, 2015
This book is by far the most helpful and insightful book I've ever read. I was always indirectly verbally abused by whole life by my father and grandmother in terms of teasing about my physical appearance and calling me sensitive or saying that I know they are just teasing when I would get upset. I would have sever anxiety anytime I had to visit them since I never knew what they were going to pick on me about. The past year I have finally started to talk back and not take the verbal abuse. Because I've stopped taking it and changed the family dynamic, my Father turned to physical abuse a couple days ago. This book is a lifesaver to help me coupe with what happened, how I can move past this incident, and not repeat the cycle of verbal/physical abuse with my future children. My parents divorced when i was around age 8 and after the incident this weekend, my mother is finally telling me all the things he use to do to her when they were married. I've finally realized that being verbally abused by family isn't normal and it should be a safe place where you are accepted. My mother is going to read this book also since her father was also extremely verbally abusive. I'm doing the exercises the book outlines and i'm amazed at how much sadness and anger i have inside. I've finally let go of the facade of having the perfect father. This book will make you cry so I suggest reading it alone to fully soak in a reflect.
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on November 28, 2017
I haven’t been in contact with my family for a year. Most of my adult life I spent trying to be the good helpful oldest sibling. And my father would repeatedly ,after drinking, point his finger at me and tell me how he beat my legs with a stick when I wandered off as a toddler. Not quite one year old. My life was filled with him saying that and other demeaning remarks. He has his favorites amongst my siblings, not me. Eventually it took an event to make me finally leave.
I kept trying to forgive him, and the siblings. This book made me understand I needed to be angry, so I let myself be angry and hold he and my siblings accountable for the multitude of times I helped them out, and was left to struggle when I really needed love and support.
I am not planning to go back. I have a loving family of my own, so I cut the strings. Love is a two way street, not a race track where you get trampled by your horribly enmeshed siblings all anxious to please a narcisstic father. I recused myself from the family trust, just for my peace of mind. I at least don’t need to worry. How the future with each individual sibling goes, ?
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on November 13, 2015
Wow. This was one of the most difficult books I've ever had to read. Whereas, I grew up in a toxic home. This brought up a lot of emotions for me. Really good book, still if you were traumatized by your parents take a weekend to read it. I read the book mid-week and had to take off work for a day, because reflecting on my childhood. Its a very good place to start on the road to recovery. I have generational toxic mothers and this book actually gave me more compassion and understanding for my mother.
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on October 19, 2015
I loved this book. It was sad, but it got me through a lot of emotions I had and didn't even realize why I had them. I would recommend this book for any person that feels their parents are mean, makes you feel bad about yourself, makes you feel obligated to them and guilty. The guidelines in it are great. I think Susan Forward knows her stuff!!
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on February 16, 2018
I came to understand my father's behavior was emotional abuse late in life, age 50, when I started to have powerful reactions to how he treated my brother's daughters. What I did not know, until this book opened my eyes, was that my mother, whom everyone in the world loves (and for good reason) was complicit in the abuse because she never told my father to stop. She never protected me and she wasn't now protecting her granddaughters. Let me tell you, suddenly coming to terms, at 50, with with your sainted mother's participation in an abusive cycle was a horrible shock, but without this book, I don't know if I would have uncovered it myself and thereby begun the journey healing and begun to call attention to it within the family thereby empowering my nieces to begin establishing and enforcing boundaries. One of the things that I really appreciate about this book is that the author believes us. She really believes us when we say that we were abused. As anyone knows who's told someone who knows the abuser, especially a family member, being believed is the first obstacle. Most people we tell really don't believe us. The abuse we tell of doesn't fit the person they think they know, so they dismiss it. Not Dr. Forward! This is not to say that she fawns over us or coddles us. It is simply to say that she believes us and educates us, helps us understand why this might have happened and gives us powerful tools to learn and grow, to step into our power. I don't even know her and yet I feel indebted to her for this painful, but very necessary book.
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on April 3, 2016
Ms. Forward had to been hiding somewhere in my closet to have written this book. My goodness you mean to tell me there's a name for a parent who treat their children this way? For the most part parents love their children unconditionally and as we know there is no such thing as the perfect parent. This is not what this book is talking about as parents we all make mistakes. My mother drove me crazy I couldn't win for losing with her. No matter how hard I worked or how much money I gave her it wasn't enough. She called me crazy, dared me to hit her so she could call the police. I never hit her even when she pushed me when I was 5 months pregnant. I cried and washed myself several times when she wanted me to touch her in places no child should touch their parent.This book describes the parent who goes beyond normal (Narcissist)to their child that uses guilt to scare the child to the point they are insecure even when they become adults. This book addresses abuse emotionally, physical, mental, sexual and I might add financial my mother used on me and my siblings. My mother used religion Jehovah Wittiness as guilt and this instilled a fear that we would be destroyed at Armageddon if we didn't do what she say. I decide before I read this book to do NC(No Contact) If you're not sure even as adult if your parents are toxic you need to read this book. You have options how to deal with toxic parents and still have a life. If you're ready to change things in your life and take control this is the book to help you. I know that Ms. Forward wasn't in my home to write this book but this book hits home on so many levels. You would think the hard part of not have No Contact is getting away from the abuse of my mother but it wasn't. It was the relatives who didn't know what my mother was doing to us who felt because this was my mother that I needed to forgive her and get the hatred out my heart to feel better. One relative ask how could I do this to my own mother since she was the one who gave me life? I don't share my story anymore because this raises a debate and most people tell me I got to forgive and move on. What my mother did to me, no mother who loves their child would never do. The scars of the abuse may be a lifetime and you may not fully heal but this book can help with therapy. As long as no one knew about the abuse everything was fine. When I got out and started talking to family and friends about the abuse my mother started sending her flying monkeys-you have to read the book as to who are the "Flying Monkeys" and how they can affect your decision on how to deal with a toxic parent. This book didn't miss a beat. Thank you Ms. Foward!
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on April 10, 2016
Excellent read. I have earmarked almost every other page. I grew up with a controlling, toxic mother, moved across the globe to get away. I got the same type of guilt trips for years. I had a nervous breakdown every time I had to call home, thinking what else I need to answer for this time. Years passed and the behavior that was instilled into me growing up seeped into my everyday life including my work. I worked myself up to a lead position but my past was holding me back. People were walking all over me and I let it happen! I was terrified my bosses, answering to them like they were my parents. It was horrible and stressful. It took me years to gain control and get more assertive. Reading this book it was great to get some validation that I am on the right track for healing. Thank you. I know I will re-read this book many many times in the future.
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on January 7, 2012
I just finished this book last night.

I also just sent my letter of confrontation -- last night.

I don't know how my story will end, but it probably will end with permanent estrangement. We've already been largely estranged for more than a year, when I broke out of my assigned "role" after my mother's death. I didn't realize that's what I'd done until I'd read the book.

I think what was so painful about this book was seeing myself and my family on virtually every single page. I almost skipped the section for alcoholics, since no one in my family drank, but I didn't, and I'm so thankful I didn't. You see, my mother was mentally ill and largely untreated. The secrecy and shame that surrounded her illness colored every aspect of our lives. It was as if she was the alcoholic. I still grieve for all we lost due to a stupid stigma that she didn't deserve, that none of us deserved.

If you have a dysfunctional family and suffered from wounds or trauma in your childhood, this book will start you on the painful path of healing. You will cry. You will open up pus-filled, infected wounds that you thought were long since scarred over. You will discover pain that you thought had long since quieted to a dull ache reawakened to a burning fire.

But you will also find a small flicker of burning hope. Reach for it. There's healing there.
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on October 12, 2013
I found myself in an extremely difficult position with a parent were I was letting the relationship affect my day to day life severely. I couldn't afford therapy but I knew I needed to do something to change the way I was thinking. This book has helped me in many ways. I have a loving but controlling mother that I have been seriously trying to break ties from for the better part of the year. This book not only helped me understand her confusing behavior, but my role in the relationship as well. I have been able to not take everything she does so personally. Not only have I been able to better control how I react to the actions of my parent, but I have been more aware of how I let everyone else in my life affect me as well. It was easy to read and easy to understand. I would have thought that the majority of this book wouldn't apply to me but I have been able to take bits and pieces from each section and each type of toxic parent and apply it to some relationship or other in my life. I am very glad to have read this book. Just this alone has been enough for me to persevere through and not need to spend money I don't have on therapy. Of course, it didn't fix my relationship but it did help me change the way I perceive things greatly.
21 people found this helpful
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