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- Free Yourself From Emotionally Immature Parents
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- The Very Satisfying Activity Book
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Free Yourself From Emotionally Immature Parents
This book about narcissistic parents that is popular on social media actually helps readers set stronger boundaries with family members
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After spending months in quarantine, Linsey, 38, decided to take a solo trip to Arizona. Loading up on audiobooks for the long haul, she added another one after seeing author Ashley C. Ford praise it on Twitter (and getting her therapist’s approval).
He finished “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” in less than 24 hours, playing it again later that week while driving back to Texas.
“Listening to it released hidden pain that I had bottled up for decades,” said Linsey, who recalled tears streaming down her face as she drove. “Each chapter gave me something new and validating.” For the first time, he realizes the neglect and trauma he experienced as a child — and can see his life unfolding along the path before him.
Linsey wasn’t the only one who experienced a moment of personal self-realization while reading this book, nor was she the only one who discovered it on social media. The book has been shared across r/books with the hashtag Reddit and Instagram and in too many tweets to count, sparking a groundswell of interest and conversation about mental health and emotional trauma. When a book usually given to a friend in a knowing whisper is retweeted thousands of times, it becomes a movement.
The Big Fear With Lindsay Gibson
“Adult Children” describes four types of emotionally immature parents – Emotional, Driven, Passive, and Rejecting – categories proposed by Dr. Lindsay C. Gibson, the author, has worked with thousands of patients and found patterns in how they describe their education. He recalls one of his clients who “was a lovely person – someone who, if you weren’t the therapist, you would want to have lunch with. And they presented themselves as a mess, blaming themselves.” and felt guilty for not getting along with his parents.” Meanwhile, the patient’s father behaved like a four-year-old child, which sparked the idea for the book.
To paraphrase a famous Twitter quote, the irony of Gibson’s core audience is that they “often go to therapy to deal with the people in their lives who don’t want to go to therapy.” They’re what Gibson describes as internalizers: people who face their trauma inside and try to find ways to improve their relationships, even if the people around them don’t make the same effort.
And, if a Google search is any indication, internalists are increasingly looking for more answers. One of the reasons for the popularity of this book is that its core concept, narcissistic behavior, has become a very topical topic over the past few years, especially in the context of family relationships. Seeking therapy and help in person while talking about mental health in public is also becoming more common, thanks to the anonymity and distance the internet provides.
Ironically, another reason why this book is so beloved is because Gibson uses common terms such as “narcissism,” “toxicity,” “self-centeredness,” and “alienation” in his writing. For people who don’t view their parents as destructive, the label “toxic” may feel too flat or inaccurate. “When you use terms like ‘narcissistic’ or ‘selfish,’ they tend to describe personalities broadly,” Gibson said, adding that sometimes “parents
It Works! Parents Report Powerful Benefits From Allowing Kids’ Feelings
Sometimes [emotionally] available, but the problem is that those times happen on the parent’s schedule, depending on how safe or good the parent feels about themselves.”
He still admits that “there are some people who are actually so destructive [and] so sadistic that you protect yourself by staying away from them.” But many readers are still stuck in limbo when trying to answer questions like: What about parents who make big financial sacrifices, such as paying their child’s college costs? What if parents would drop everything to help if their children did
The strength of “Adult Children” is that it gently fills the space between those questions and the truth: that our parents can do a lot for us.
Still hurts us. They can be very supportive in some areas and very detrimental in others. For those who don’t want to cut ties but also can’t imagine living with anxiety throughout the family vacation, this book offers a cure: setting boundaries.
The Very Satisfying Activity Book
Chris, 24, started doing just that after his therapist recommended the book. “I love my parents and want to maintain a relationship with them, but I have to protect myself and let myself live freely,” he said. After realizing that she’s always harbored hurt feelings after seeing how her more outspoken sister was treated, she tries to tell her parents how she feels — only to be berated over the phone for hours. “It finally dawned on me that I would never have an emotionally satisfying conversation with them where both sides were listened to with respect,” he recalls. Now, if it happened again, he decided to politely tell his parents that he would talk to them when they were calmer, and hung up the phone.
Em, 25, who first heard about “Grown Up Kids” via Instagram, didn’t initially think the book was for her. “I just think [my parents] are hard to deal with,” he told Insider. Nonetheless, he picked it up as he went along, and “cried tears of sadness and relief as he struggled to get through the first chapter.” He ended up reading certain chapters with his therapist because he felt the book clearly expressed his feelings on paper.
“As it turns out, my parents were just a product of their own childhood and environment — they grew up in a home that taught that expressing certain feelings was a shameful thing,” Em says, noting that the book made her “more empathetic toward [her] people.” old, because [he] now [realizes] that they didn’t have the emotional tools or knowledge to care for [him] the way [he] wanted to be cared for.”
“That doesn’t mean they don’t do their best in their own way; it just meant it wasn’t enough for me,” she said, adding that the book taught her to no longer accept conditional love from anyone.
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While learning from “Adult Children” can lead to something many people fear, namely the loss of bonds, it also opens up the possibility of forging stronger relationships later in life. Linsey credits the book with helping her cultivate a more authentic relationship with her husband and four-year-old daughter, while giving her “greater understanding, freedom and empathy for her parents and siblings.”
It’s the potential for a completely different life that adds lightness to the book — and perhaps that’s why many of its readers are so eager to share it not only with those closest to them, but also with strangers on the internet.
“The people I work with in psychotherapy will get to a point where they will realize how much damage their relationship with their parents has done, and they will be deeply saddened, shocked by the impact it has had on them,” Gibson said, while in at the same time realizing how different they begin to carry themselves. “You can hear how much better their lives are once they are free from these old ideas. So, for me, it’s like watching them transform into better people at the same time that they’re grieving.”
Books By Psychologist Author Lindsay Gibson: Adult Children Of Emotionally Immature Parents, Who You Were Meant To Be, Finding Your True Self, Recovering From Emotionally Immature Parents, Self Care For Adult Children Of
That’s why suddenly understanding the root of a lifetime of inexplicable loneliness isn’t so scary, because that knowledge can only make us better. As Gibson says at the end of his book, “How many people are awake and