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7 Best Books on Healing From Narcissistic Parents

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Here’s a list of books to help you reclaim your life.

Healing the Adult Children of Narcissists: Essays on The Invisible War Zone and Exercises for Recovery

Author: Shahida Arabi

Average goodreads score:4.35/5

Those who have grown up with a narcissistic parent know how detrimental it can be to one's mental health. Narcissistic parents lack empathy, feel entitled to control their children's life, and frequently subject their children to neglect, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse. From the unique problems that daughters of narcissistic fathers experience to the effects that adverse childhood experiences have on our brains, Shahida Arabi's enlightening essays deeply resonate with individuals who have been raised by narcissistic parents. Arabi investigates how narcissistic abuse as a child may set us up for trauma recurrence in adulthood, impacting how we manage relationships, the self, and the world. She identifies the toxic characteristics and actions of narcissistic parents, revealing how hidden abuse manifests itself in these relationships. She provides survivors of a lifetime of abuse with the necessary tools, skill sets, and healing techniques to assist them break the cycle once and for all.

Drama of the Gifted Child

Author: Alice Miller

Average goodreads score:4/5

Returning to the source is one of the most effective methods to recover from narcissistic abuse. This book could be useful if you discover that the narcissistic relationship you recently left looks a lot like your relationship with one or both of your parents. The Drama of the Gifted Child is a classic book that describes how children raised by narcissists adapt to life, mostly by learning to be attentive to others' needs, often at the cost of their own.

Children of narcissists may be vulnerable to narcissists later in life because they know how to succeed in this type of relationship. Furthermore, the adult children of narcissists may hope that this time it would be different, and that they will be able to meet their needs in ways they haven't been able to in the past.

Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Reclaim Your Emotional Autonomy and Find Personal Happiness

Author: Lindsay Gibson

Average goodreads score:4.4/5

Emotionally immature parents (EIPs) might make you feel lonely and neglected as a child. You may have difficulty setting boundaries and expressing your emotions. As you try to form adult relationships, you may become more vulnerable to other emotionally immature people. Furthermore, as your parents get older, they may continue to mock and invalidate your feelings, discount your reality, and try to restrict and diminish your freedom of thinking and sense of emotional autonomy. In short, EIPs can be contradicting, self-absorbed, and inconsistent. So, what are your options for recovering from their toxic behavior?

Lindsay Gibson draws on the success of her famous self-help book, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, and provides yet another valuable resource. In this follow-up guide, you’ll discover practical ways to detect the signs of an EIP, guard yourself against emotional takeover, reconnect with your own feelings and needs, and achieve emotional autonomy in all of your relationships. This is a how-to book with practical exercises and recommendations for what to say and do to enhance your emotional autonomy and self-awareness.

If you're willing to start putting your own needs first, clear out the clutter of self-doubt, and move past the fear of judgment and punishment instilled in you by emotionally immature parents, this book can help you find the freedom to finally live your life your way.

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

Author: Susan Forward

Average goodreads score:4/5

Every parent makes mistakes from time to time. Susan Forward, on the other hand, is unyielding in her criticism of parents whose shortcomings emotionally cripple their children. Her quick, no-holds-barred approach to overcoming the suffocating agony of parental manipulation–from power trips to guilt trips and all other slayers of self-worth–will aid in dealing with the distress caused due to childhood abuse and moving beyond the unpleasant relationship patterns acquired at home.

The book begins with Part 1, which divides toxic parents into different categories─ The Controllers, The Inadequate Parents, The Alcoholics, The Sexual Abusers, The Verbal Abusers and The physical Abusers─ with a brief explanation of each. The author discusses the different forms of covert or overt manipulation used by toxic parents, as well as the physical and/or emotional scars caused not just by the offending parent, but also by apathy of non-offending parent.

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The book's second part discusses numerous ways to rebuild your life. It goes into the ethics of forgiveness vs. non-forgiveness (note: the author is not a Christian, and forgiveness is not emphasized in this work), and then proceeds on to dealing with the emotional consequences of growing up with toxic parents. It clears up the issue of responsibility because most adult children of toxic parents have been made to feel unduly responsible for things that are truly not their fault. It helps clarify who is responsible for what, once you are out on your own and physically independent from your parents

The book's main advice is to confront your parents about how their conduct affected you as a child and still continues to affect you, with the goal of informing them that you will no longer connect with them if they do x, y, or z or act in other ways that are harmful to you. The author recommends that the confrontation should take place in person in the presence of a therapist. It could also be a written confrontation, because writing allows you to convey all of your ideas and feelings without interruption, and you can modify and edit until you're pleased with the message you're sending.

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents

Author: Nina W. Brown

Average goodreads score:3.91/5

In this book, Nina W. Brown shows us the persona as well as the difficulties of dealing with a destructive narcissistic parent (DNP). While the emphasis of the book is on coping methods and self-help for dealing with the DNP, the book's goal is also to break the cycle of narcissism that may infiltrate and impair the emotional stability of an adult who has grown up in a DNP setting. The author does this through analyzing the parent's behaviors as well as assessing your attitude toward your parent and how that attitude may have impacted your life to date.

A key issue in the book is identifying whether your parent is a DNP or not. This is easier said than done, since maintaining objectivity when such strong emotions are involved is hard. However, the author efficiently puts forth a series of identifying traits to help the reader distinguish between a DNP and the more common instance of a parental/child misunderstanding that has just festered.

The author understands the tough position that parents play at times, and she cautions readers throughout the book from diagnosing their parents with destructive narcissism too quickly. However, once you are sure that you are dealing with a DNP, you are free to explore the many helpful and practical exercises meant to aid and protect you in your dealings with the DNP. The exercises are quite adaptable. They may be modified to fit individual needs because they don't have to be followed one step at a time. The author only provides a foundation upon which you may build, as well as techniques for increasing your feeling of self-worth and tolerating the DNP without suffering the emotional anguish that results due to dealing with a damaging narcissistic parent.

One thing this book won't tell you is how to get your parents change their ways. The author is adamant about this topic and recognizes that it is a difficult pill to swallow. She does, however, believe that understanding why our parents behave in the manner they do might help us win the battle.

The author is adept at recognizing the numerous issues and emotional struggles that you will experience, and she skillfully guides you to the appropriate solutions.This book will undoubtedly help adults dealing with a DNP, but it should not be viewed as an easy solution. Because throughout the book, we’re often encouraged to indifference which is harder to achieve when there are strong emotions involved. We’re also seeking to modify a habitual pattern that has been present for years.

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents is a valuable guide for adult children of narcissists.

How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self

Author: Nicole LePera

Average goodreads score:4.18/5

Dr. LePera's main goal in How To Do The Work is to help us recognize and heal our inner child. The book investigates how negative childhood events and trauma remain with us as adults, resulting in whole-body dysfunction. This can generate negative traits in us, trapping us in a cycle of co-dependency, emotional immaturity, and trauma connections. We become sad, unsatisfied, and sick as a result. According to LePera, doing the ‘work’ means taking our thoughts off autopilot and observing them for what they are. “Healing is a conscious process that can be lived daily through changes in our habits and patterns.”

When it comes to self-care, many self-help books do not go into as much detail as How to Do the Work does. Dr. LePera is forthright and confident in her remarks, and she is well-informed. Self-help books generally recommend a day in bed with a box of chocolate as a kind of self-care, but according to Dr. Lepera this is just self-indulgence, not self-care.

‘’Self-care is the act of learning to identify and care for your physical and emotional wants and needs, especially those that were denied in childhood.’’ She emphasizes that a big component of self-care isn't just going for a walk (though that’s beneficial), but carefully watching your own uncomfortable thoughts and actions. She explains the reasons they are there and then gives us advice on how to observe them and move towards becoming a better person.

I believe it is important to realize that one person's road to a fulfilled life will not be the same as others. Those who live with trauma on a daily basis, may not have the resources or time to take such kind of self-care. Indeed, a chapter is devoted to setting boundaries and separating yourself from people and places that emotionally disturb you, while also acknowledging that individuals who are discriminated against may not have this luxury. Nonetheless, I feel that everyone will benefit from this book. While certain parts of it may not be beneficial to you, others can undoubtedly help you heal. For me, it wasn't until LePera explained the mind-gut link, that I realized how mentally healthy eating well can be.

Overall, How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self is a detailed look at holistic approach to mental health, focusing on what an individual can do to improve their relationship with past trauma and re-pattern their life. The book is a wonderful present for someone who is struggling to recover from addiction or wishes to break patterns that make them feel disconnected from their sense of self.

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

Author: Jonice Webb

Average goodreads score: 4.2/5

This book is for those who are experiencing symptoms such as emptiness, hopelessness, and trouble identifying, feeling, or expressing emotions. They grew up in homes where their parents were physically present but emotionally absent.

What is the connection between this and narcissistic abuse? Childhood emotional neglect (CEN) can be caused by narcissistic parents, according to Jonice Webb. We also know that adults who experience emptiness, poor self-esteem, or issues with emotional intimacy are more likely to be targeted by emotional manipulators. Running on Empty puts forth a step-by-step plan for recharging the emotional tank. The author takes a close look at how change occurs and points out potential roadblocks to change. In later chapters she introduces the strategies she uses with her clients in her private office. There are useful charts and exercises, and she discusses how different relationships (such as friendships and marriage) may be affected as the reader heals from emotional neglect. There’s also a full chapter on self-care and compassion, which is something that adults who experienced emotional neglect in childhood, frequently struggle with. In addition to this, Dr. Webb briefly discusses strategies to parent without passing CEN on to your children, as well as how therapists may work effectively with CEN clients.

Many people believe that their past determines their future, but Dr. Webb gives hope to people who are suffering from CEN. As a layperson I really enjoyed reading this book. Free from psychobabble, the writing is highly accessible and understandable.


Mar from United Arab Emirates on September 22, 2021:

Good recommendations

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