5 of the Best Self-Help Books on Overcoming Toxic Parents
Growing up with toxic parent can deal a serious toll, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Toxic parenting can take a range of forms, in some cases it is clear cut, such as physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, however in many cases it can be more oblique, such as emotional manipulation, controlling behaviours, and neglect. It can be incredibly difficult to put a finger on precise toxic behaviours, as many of them gain momentum through repetition over time. One bad argument or misplaced remark doesn’t equate to toxicity, but even relatively mild behaviours over time can snowball into more damaging expressions. What makes it particularly problematic to identity is that a child raised in a toxic environment will have very little frame of reference for normal and natural family relationships. This, coupled with typical secrecy of private family life and the conflicting feelings of love, mean that it can take a person a long time to identify what has been happening to them. To quote acclaimed psychotherapist Susan Forward,
‘Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love.’
This makes it so that unfortunately there is no one clear-cut checklist to test experiences of toxic parents against. The signs can be subtle and variegated. Nevertheless, toxic parenting can have serious impact on a person’s life, their emotional and physical welfare, and their ability to maintain other relationships. This list of self help books is geared towards those who had to handle toxic parents as a child, and now as an adult are seeking help, to deal with their memories, to recover, and to find healing. If you are looking for accounts of toxic parents in memoirs and autobiographies you can find a list here, and if you wish to explore toxic parents in literature you can find lists here and here.