Coping with Critical, Demanding, and Dysfunctional Parents: Powerful Strategies to Help Adult Children Maintain Boundaries and Stay Sane

Coping with Critical, Demanding, and Dysfunctional Parents: Powerful Strategies to Help Adult Children Maintain Boundaries and Stay Sane


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Do you have a parent who is invalidating, critical, demanding, or hateful? In this important and much-needed guide, you’ll learn how to set boundaries; uncover the hidden motives behind your parent’s behavior; put a stop to repetitive, hurtful interactions; and foster healthier relationships.

There’s no sugarcoating it—if you grew up with a parent who made you feel invalidated or unloved as a child, your pain is very real. In some cases, you may decide that you want to remove this parent from your life, and that is a valid choice. But for many people, dealing with a problem parent becomes a necessary part of life, for whatever reason. If you’re one of these people, this book can help.

Written by a psychotherapist and expert in relationships, Coping with Critical, Demanding, and Dysfunctional Parents will help you develop unique assertiveness strategies based on the characteristics of your own family dynamics. You’ll learn powerful communication skills to help you build boundaries and put a stop to your parent’s hurtful behavior. And, most importantly, you’ll learn to advocate for your own needs.

If you’ve “had it up to here” with a parent who makes you feel as though you’re just not good enough, this invaluable guide can help you put an end to toxic interactions while maintaining peace in your family.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684030927
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 11/01/2018
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,136,424
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

David M. Allen, MD, is professor emeritus of psychiatry and former director of psychiatric residency training at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. He is author of the book How Dysfunctional Families Spur Mental Disorders. He has carried out research on personality disorders, is a psychotherapy theorist, and is former associate editor of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. He is also author of three books for psychotherapists, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters.

Foreword writer Susan Heitler, PhD, is a clinical psychologist whose publications—including The Power of Two and The Power of Two Workbook—have become classics in their fields. Heitler is a graduate of Harvard University and earned her doctorate from New York University.

Table of Contents

Foreword v

Introduction: Your Needs for Warmth and Acceptance 1

Part 1 What Is Going On?

1 Ways to Understand Your Parents' Behavior 9

2 How Have You Been Responding? 35

3 Gain Perspective by Considering Family History and Circumstances 53

Part 2 What Can I Do?

4 Prepare Yourself 83

5 Keep the Logic Straight 95

6 Anticipate the Seventeen Moves They May Make and Plan Your Countermoves 113

7 Bring Significant Others and Siblings on Board 149

Part 3 How Do We Shift Toward Warmth and Acceptance?

8 Initiate Constructive Conversations 167

9 Request Specific Changes 193

10 Overcome Habit and Relapse 205

Conclusion: You Can Grow Beyond Your Parents' Limitations 215

Acknowledgments 225

References 227


Allen resides in Germantown, TN.

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