Toxic Parents

Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
Narrated by: Jo Anna Perrin
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (558 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

Critic Reviews

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

22 people found this helpful

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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

20 people found this helpful

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Amazing and healing, but caution on one aspect to readers

This book is amazing. If you feel responsible for your parents or are consciously aware (or even open to it) that you were abused emotionally or physically, pick this up. One word of caution:

She recommends confronting your parents’ abuse later on as a way of healing. This is actually quite dangerous and many therapists recommend this, but everyone I’ve worked with, including countless ongoing research, have shown this to be EXTREMELY ineffective. Not only does it not add to your healing, it can cause catastrophic damage that effects everyone involved.

Her advice to write a letter is on par — absolutely necessary. But do NOT send this to the abuser or try and confront them. Healing should remain within — and between you and your therapist. You can’t expect the abuser to respond properly to your confrontation EVER. And you should NOT be ‘testing’ your courage with the abuser themselves. This advice has caused only damaging outcomes that could and should otherwise be done within (yourself and therapy).

It is of course important to learn how to handle these people moving forward, but listing all the things this person has done and how they’ve hurt you creates countereffective results. In fact, this book stretches to come up with a single outcome that wasn’t adding to your grief and pain. This will paint the abuser as the problem and keep you wallowing deep as a victim.

It is not your job to teach the abuser how to act and this type of treatment is centered around that — as well as testing your ability to handle their reactions. Again, very dangerous and absolutely ineffective. Stay away from that.

I know I went deep into that but it’s important. And mind you, every other part in this book is a must-read. Just keep your mind open that every author has an opinion and is trying their best to help, but never has there been 100% perfect advice.

Side note: the audible voice was a bit difficult for me to listen to. Personal opinion, but I’d test the audio sample first.

19 people found this helpful

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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.

27 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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.

7 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful