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Coping with Critical, Demanding, and Dysfunctional Parents
Powerful Strategies to Help Adult Children Maintain Boundaries and Stay Sane
Average: 3.5 (15 votes)
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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.

Publisher Reviews
  • “One of the most vexing problems that can challenge both patients and therapists is a dysfunctional family relationship. Although there are many approaches to this dilemma, Dave Allen’s book is a useful addition. It is clearly written and easy to follow. It uses vignettes to illustrate what otherwise might be difficult points to follow, and approaches the issue from a number of different perspectives. What I find most valuable about the book is the ability of a patient or non-patient to use it themselves. It can either be a self-help guide or can be used to accelerate psychotherapy. The book is definitely worth having in your therapeutic arsenal.”
    James Reich, MD, MPH, professor in the department of psychiatry at UCSF and Stanford Medical schools, and founder of the Association for Research in Personality Disorders (ARPD)

  • “Allen uses clear language and explicit examples to demonstrate an effective approach to dealing with difficult parental relationships (easily expendable to other relationships as well). Most impressively, this is done with a clear sense of the value of preserving these relationships and making them more fulfilling.”
    George Stricker, PhD, professor in the department of psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, and author of Psychotherapy Integration and his most recent DVD Psychotherapy Integration Over Time

  • “David Allen provides an insightful framework to understand the lasting impact that critical parents have on the life of their children, well into adulthood. He describes powerful strategies to help adult children overcome this heritage. Better yet, he does this with a warm, empathetic attitude that is a healing antidote to the emotional climate of their upbringing.”
    Serge Prengel, LMHC, editor, Somatic Perspectives on Psychotherapy

  • “David Allen has successfully done what few academics can: write a readily understandable and highly practical book for the general public that truly has the potential to help those who come from dysfunctional families achieve more satisfying relationships with their families. With his uniquely scholarly, balanced, and integrative perspective, Allen offers many important questions and concrete exercises that will help the reader gain new understandings of why dysfunctional families do what they do, as well as how the reader can escape from those patterns and fulfill their potential without having to sever their bonds with their families. Highly recommended!”
    Andre Marquis, PhD, associate professor in the department of counseling and human development at University of Rochester, and author of several books, including Integral Psychotherapy

  • “David Allen’s book is an excellent guide for adult children who are trying to cope with difficult parents. In a clear and accessible style, he provides readers with a deep understanding of how children get tangled up in their parents’ styles of relating, and explains, with concrete and useful examples, what children can do differently to free themselves from this emotionally tangled web.”
    Gregg Henriques, PhD, professor of graduate psychology at James Madison University, and author of A New Unified Theory of Psychology


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