If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World

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9780060191917: If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World

Do you sometimes feel as if you are living your life to please others? Do you give other people the benefit of the doubt but second-guess yourself? Do you struggle with perfectionism, anxiety, lack of confidence, emotional emptiness, or eating disorders? In your intimate relationships, have you found it difficult to get close without losing your sense of self?

If so, you may be among 15 million adults in the United States who were raised with unhealthy parental control. Too much or the wrong kinds of control in childhood can cause lasting problems in adulthood, and these connections are often subtle and hard to spot. If you have problems or habits that stubbornly resist change, they may be symptoms of unresolved issues with a controlling parent or upbringing.

In this groundbreaking book, accomplished family therapist Dr. Dan Neuharth offers a self-test to help you identify whether you are facing problems in adulthood caused by unhealthy control in childhood. You will understand both how and why your parents may have overcontrolled you and find dozens of practical suggestions that can help you solve your problems at the very root.

This book will enable you to quiet your "inner critics," bring more balance to your moods and relationships, increase your optimism and assertiveness, and achieve greater autonomy. It offers a variety of ways to deal with stressful family holidays, parents who still control, and parental aging and mortality. It will help you to make peace with your past and break the cycle of control so you can avoid overcontrolling your own children and other loved ones.

Based on extensive interviews and research and packed with thought-provoking insights, If You Had Controlling Parents also includes engaging profiles of a richly diverse group of adults who grew up overcontrolled. These inspiring examples of how others have come to grips with the detrimental consequences of early control will provide you with a road map for accelerating your own growth and healing. If you have felt driven to pursue your parents' values and dreams ahead of your own, this compassionate book explains that no one is to blame and reminds you that unhealthy control is a generations-old cycle that can stop with you.

If your parents controlled you in unhealthy ways, they may have unwittingly planted land mines in your psyche. As a result, you may tiptoe through life expecting buried danger, not treasure, in your path. You may wait...and wait...for permission to love, succeed, and feel content. Permission you're not sure how to get. Permission you may have difficulty granting to yourself.

This book is packed with features to help you thrive even if you had far too little permission to be yourself as a child. Knowledge is power, and powerful growth and healing come from understanding, not blaming, your parents or upbringing. You'll discover:

Fifty reasons why people control in unhealthy ways--and how recognizing these reasons can help you cope with controlling mates, friends, family members, or work associates

How overcontrol of your eating, dress, privacy, social life, speech, and feelings in childhood may still hamper you in adult life

How controlling families use "Truth Abuse" to cement unhealthy loyalties that last for years--and how to gain autonomy

The eight styles of controlling parenting--Smothering, Depriving, Perfectionistic, Cultlike, Chaotic, Using, Abusing, and Childlike

If you or someone you love grew up with unhealthy control, this book offers discovery and resolution. With the guidance of accomplished family therapist Dr. Dan Neuharth, discover what may lie underneath some of your most stubborn and troubling habits, patterns, or problems and resolve your relationship with your parents, whether they are living or dead. If your childhood felt like a scene from Mommie Dearest or The Great Santini--or if you simply feel confused about how you were raised--make peace with your past so you can truly take your place in the world.

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Review:

As Edmund Burke said, "The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse." This is sometimes excruciatingly true with parents. There are the typically anxious ones who get a little uptight about letting their teenagers borrow the car, and then there are the rigid kinds who won't even let their kids leave the house when they want to--or even eat or go to the bathroom when they need to.

Written for the 14 million adult children who've survived an upbringing with the latter type of parents, If You Had Controlling Parents takes the classic Toxic Parents to a new level. Author Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., a family therapist, knows his subject thoroughly; he survived a childhood with a father who has the candor to refer to himself as "an S.O.B."

Neuharth says, "If your parents controlled you in unhealthy ways, they may have planted land mines in your psyche." Research shows that behaviors and traits exhibited by adult children of controlling parents include the following: depression, low self-esteem, distorted self-image, eating disorders and other addictions, stress-related health problems, inability to sustain an intimate relationship, and more. While this may seem like a heavy lot to handle, Neuharth maintains there's always hope of overcoming the past and changing yourself--even if it means making the drastic move of cutting off contact with one or both of your parents.

He gives a lengthy self-test to determine if your parents were controlling; gives profiles of eight typical styles of controlling parents to help you better recognize how you may be presently affected by your upbringing; and then delves into the process of understanding why your parents acted the way they did in order to start healing emotionally. This is especially important, he says, if you now have children of your own and want to stop the damaging cycle of parental control. He doesn't give a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all recovery plan, but rather suggests several "paths to healing" and exercises to help you, as he terms it, "emotionally leave home." The book's subtitle--"A Guide for Letting Go of Anxiety, Self-Blame and Perfectionism and Improving Assertiveness, Boundaries and Confidence"--says it all. This is self-help at its best.

About the Author:

Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., is a licensed family therapist with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. A popular speaker, college educator, and award-winning journalist, he specializes in helping adults cope with the challenges of unhealthy family control. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Neuharth, Dan
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Book Description Harper, 1998. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Dr. Dan Neuharth draws on his experience as a therapist specializing in helping adults cope with the challenges of a controlled childhood. He defines eight types of controlling parents and includes a self-test to determine if the reader grew up over-controlled. Using case studies from a diverse group of adults, Dr. Neuharth explains that unhealthy control is often a generations-old cycle that readers can break by seeing the roots of the cycle. He shows readers how to leave home emotionally so they can improve assertiveness, boundaries, and confidence, come to terms with their parents, and lead fuller, more rewarding lives. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0060191910

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