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Toxic Parents

Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
Written by: Craig Buck, Susan Forward
Narrated by: Jo Anna Perrin
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When you were a child...

  • Did your parents tell you you were bad or worthless?
  • Did your parents use physical pain to discipline you?
  • Did you have to take care of your parents because of their problems?
  • Were you often frightened of your parents?
  • Did your parents do anything to you that had to be kept secret?

Now that you're an adult...

  • Do your parents still treat you as if you were a child?
  • Do you have intense emotional or physical reactions after spending time with your parents?
  • Do your parents control you with threats or guilt?
  • Do they manipulate you with money?
  • Do you feel that no matter what you do, it's never good enough for your parents?

In this remarkable self-help guide, Dr. Susan Forward draws on case histories and the real-life voices of adult children of toxic parents to help you free yourself from the frustrating patterns of your relationship with your parents---and discover a new world of self-confidence, inner strength, and emotional independence.

©1989 Susan Forward (P)2011 Tantor

What the critics say

"I consider Susan Forward to be among the foremost therapists of our age." (John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Best $25 I've EVER Spent on Here!!!

This book was amazing! I literally could NOT put it down (err - I literally could NOT stop listening to it)! Morning, noon, night, middle of the night; at home, at work, in the car, on my weekends, during bed time routines, at bed time, during smoke breaks, while cooking dinners, when I couldn't sleep at 3:30 a.m. - this book was being listened to. The author nailed down so many, many good points and VERY accurate aspects, particularly for me, being part of the Adult Children of Alcoholics club. My childhood trauma, abuse and neglect moonlight my life pretty much everyday, and EVERY single day is an ongoing struggle. In the first half of this well-written self-help book, the author clearly highlights numerous significant aspects of the consequential adult life of those raised by such "toxic parents", and provides an excellent variety of examples and vignettes that reflect the pertinent points of discussion in each chapter. In the second half of this book, the author progresses onto detailing methods of dealing with the everyday lasting effects of such "toxic parents". The author provides us with a large number of strategies, presented in a variety in formats (step by step exposure, mini how tos, several prominently detailed lists on how to handle and ultimately deal with notoriously popular issues she's come across in her successful career counselling individuals who have grown up in households with "toxic parents", etc.). Sometimes referring back to the memorable, heart-breaking narratives and vignettes, she is able to be precise and verbally descriptive enough that even my 12 year old could, at the least, comprehend what she's attempting to convey. There are NO hidden messages, nor is this self-help book difficult to comprehend in any way. I've just finished listening to this book in its entirety in one single weekend - that's how much I felt I've gained from it! I'm actually considering re-listening to it AGAIN this week, taking descriptive notes this time, and figuring out a plan of action for myself on how I'm going to try to confront my "toxic parents" yet again. Perhaps this time, with much more knowledge and wisdom on my side, the confrontation will go much better than the last two attempts over the past 15 years. I already feel stronger, more prepared, and realize that it is not me and never was me - it was them and has always been them! If you grew up and experienced ANY sort of abuse, neglect, family dysfunction (this includes molestation, incest, parents who were alcoholics and/or drug addicts, etc.) - you absolutely need to own read this book, no questions asked!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Must read

I loved this book.
I believe it has information that is valuable to everyone, even if you wouldnt consider your parents toxic.
The book is very informative and I see it helping a lot with understanding yourself and others.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Unbelievably Healing!

I am not interested in books that look to lay blame for all of life's woes on parents, no matter how dysfunctional. But leaving the past completely in the past has not helped me to live the life I desire, either. I didn't understand what was holding me back. Through this book I have come to understand there are certain abuses that imprint our psyche in such a way that we can't go forward in way that is whole and healthy without shining a light on that damaged "operating system" and returning to rewrite a new code. This book helped me with this immensely! No counsellor or psychotherapist has ever been able to bring about such healing change in me. The author is clearly knowledgeable, experienced, and a trustworthy guide to navigate the territory of childhood trauma. I can't recommend this book highly enough! And thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Susan Forward!

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Fully recommend this to start the healing process.

Phenomenal. Well worth the time and money investment. It gives you knowledge and tools to help overcome your debilitating childhood. Talking to my earlier self connected me to a feeling of innocence I thought was forever destroyed. I love that kid, and I am going to nurture him and look after him.

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  • Todd
  • GRANITE BAY, CA, United States
  • 2012-06-05

You mean I am not the crazy one?

Where does Toxic Parents rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the top!

What did you like best about this story?

My whole life I have been the crazy/unappreciative/ungrateful/wrong/worthless/homely/fat one according to my Mom. Thanks for helping me see thats not the case.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • karinlee67
  • 2012-09-14

Life changing

Where does Toxic Parents rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have read many, many books on this "topic" seeking for a way to clear out my junk from the past. This one is the best and most helpful one I have EVER encountered! I wish I had known about it sooner but Im guessing these things only come to you when you're ready for them. This negates years of the torture from the guilt and shame of putting accountability where it belongs and clarifies how healing my past and the hell I endured is in my hands and at my comfort level without concern for reactions of the perpetrators. I highly recommend this one. If you're drawn to this one then buy it. Worth every penny and then some. <3

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 2012-08-20

Its worth a listen.

I read this book thinking about my parents who were clearly toxic but dare I say they were so toxic this book wasn't helpful. I think this book would be most helpful for individuals who have living parents that have personality disorders, but are still somewhat functional. Those with deceased parents or those with so severely limited parents that there is no hope of them understanding or approving of you, may not gain much from this book.

While I critize this book for not being able to help me personally in relationship to my own parents. I did gain a lot of insight from this book in respect to other individuals that I know again with personality disorders. Their behaviors I didn't fully accept/understand and I think I do following this book. Furthermore this book's section on getting in touch with your anger made me realise that I have been surpressing some anger I literally had no idea was still there.

So my thoughts are that this book is amazing. I didn't get what I had hoped from it, but it did provide meaningful insight. If you come from a disfunctional home or know people closely who came from a disfuctional home I highly recommend this book. I just think you should give yourself the time and space to read it.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • ME Nelson
  • Support Living Artists
  • 2016-04-15

Thoughtful and Mindful

I'm not a wide reader; especially not a self help book enthusiast. But once I got past the extreme title (it took a while), my emotions eased into this book like it's a cup of perfectly warmed up milk comforting me at age 8. It helped me validate my suspicions that I wasn't in a healthy relationship with my loving and overly protective parent. It helped me identify that the brand of love I've received has not all been for my better good. It has freed me to see that it's ok to form my opinion about all this despite how other unknowing people around us would tend to dispute my analysis. In time, I hope to have a truly loving and healthy relationship before it's too late.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Deborah HB
  • 2015-10-03

Explains a lot of my current pain

I never thought of my parents as toxic. I thought they had the right to tease me and punish me physically as a child and to manipulate and control me as an adult because they were my parents. Consequently, I have been depressed most of my life . I am so thankful to have heard this book. The stories with dialogue from Susan and her clients made the book fascinating to read. The voice actor did an excellent job too. It will be a good companion to the therapy that I am in now. I can finally heal and work towards being an independent whole adult.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • hoo haa
  • 2016-04-27

Fantastic

Forward covers a lot of ground here and gives a lot of practical advice. I wish Toxic In-Laws and Emotional Blackmail were also available on audio.
I do feel, personally, that Forward was a bit soft in her relative lack of encouragement for "divorcing" toxic parents. I mean, if you can go so far as to call someone TOXIC, the implication is that even a small dose of them is detrimental to one's wellness. Also, any person who was raised by toxic parents has been systematically trained from day one of life to be a victim, so staying in relationship with said toxic parent(s) seems like an uphill battle of epic proportions--a lose/lose situation. I realize that many people hearing/reading this book are dealing with abusive parents who are not necessarily TOXIC, but the title states what the book is supposed to be about.
But it's a great book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristi
  • 2015-05-06

Very similar to Mothers Who Can't Love

It was a good listen and definitely helped. I will have to listen again to all the exercises. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to understand abusive parents and how to improve situations.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 2015-07-09

it helped me overcome a toxic relationship

my mother continues to destroy me from the inside out. this book has helped me qain control of my own life and stop the insanity.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mariya
  • 2014-06-11

Very glad I listened

Would you listen to Toxic Parents again? Why?

Absolutely, it's not written to go over someone's head in ridiculous therapist lingo. It does feel like you're in a prolonged session with Susan.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

What three words best describe Jo Anna Perrin’s voice?

More of a TV journalist/anchor than a book reader. I liked it but I did not like when she adjusted it lower and lower with every representation of another character.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Toxic Parents?

That it is vital to recognize your own behavior and break the cycle as soon as possible in order to avoid pain for future generations.

Any additional comments?

Very well written, something to re-listen to now and again. I will be purchasing an actual copy though to have around the house to pick up and read as well.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • MermanMotorsports
  • 2012-04-08

I was a changed woman in 24 hours

Would you listen to Toxic Parents again? Why?

Yes this book was so helpful to me I would listen a thousand times, I constantly refer to it for motivatiom and as a reference guide.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No fav character

What does Jo Anna Perrin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I could have never read the book, too busy

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely

10 of 11 people found this review helpful