Synopses & Reviews
Growing up with a parent who is self-absorbed is difficult, and they may become more difficult to deal with as they age. This essential book shows how to cope with your aging parent's narcissistic behavior, and provides tips to help protect yourself and your children from their self-absorbed, destructive actions.
As your self-absorbed parent grows older and becomes more dependent on you, hurtful relationships may resurface and become further strained. In the tradition of Children of the Self-Absorbed, author Nina Brown offers the first book for adult children of aging narcissistic or self-absorbed parents. You will learn practical, powerful strategies for navigating the intense negative feelings that your parents can incite, as well as tips to protect your children from the criticism, blame, or hostility that may exist between you and their grandparent.
In this book, you will gain greater awareness of how and why your parent's self-absorbed behaviors and attitudes get worse, and develop strategies to manage the negative feelings that can arise as a result. You'll also learn to reduce the shame and guilt that may be felt when you feel like you don't want to be a caretaker. Finally, you'll learn to set limits with your parent so you can stay sane during this difficult time.
Having an aging parent can be stressful enough, but dealing with an aging narcissistic or self-absorbed parent is especially challenging. This essential guide will help you through.
"Narcissism expert Brown (Children of the Self-Absorbed) delves into the challenges of interacting with family members whose difficult personalities are exacerbated by age. She outlines changes brought on by advanced age, from physical to existential, and lists the four most common types of self-absorbed parents: clingy, suspicious/defensive, arrogant, and belligerent. Brown goes on to describe unhealthy reactions to a parent's narcissistic behavior before suggesting more effective techniques. Some of these, such as avoidingdrawing attention to oneself or making sustained eye contact, read more like warnings about confronting a wild animal. Others, such as maintaining civility, neutrality, and an 'adult-to-adult stance,' are more useful if somewhat obvious. A section on protecting the feelings of spouses and children while around the parent in question is particularly helpful, with strategies for anticipating conflict and intervening when necessary. Additional exercises will help readers release negative feelings, visualize a safe space to retreat to, and build up self-esteem with positive affirmations. Brown's overall message of self-preservation is made explicit in the final chapter about 'the positive revenge of being successful and thriving.' While much of the advice dispensed is common sense, reason often goes out the window when dealing with a difficult parent, and Brown's tactics may help keep the peace. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Children of the Aging Self-Absorbed
fills an important niche in the self-help literature: dealing with aging, difficult, narcissistic parents and grandparents. The book is a guide for adult children of such parents, and offers much wisdom. Brown delineates four types of self-absorbed parents—Clingy, Suspicious-Defensive, Arrogant, and Belligerent—and provides excellent strategies for managing interactions with each type of parent. The book has useful exercises designed to help readers manage their side of these very difficult relationships more effectively. The overriding message is that the adult child must—and can—let go of hoping to change the parent and instead develop self-protective coping behaviors. This book is a good resource for anyone dealing with an aging self-absorbed parent or grandparent, as well as for therapists helping their clients in such situations.”
—Eleanor F. Counselman, EdD, ABPP, CGP, LFAGPA, president-elect of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
“Nina Brown lights the way, helping you navigate the roller coaster of caring for narcissistic, aging parents and grandparents. This groundbreaking book introduces valuable exercises and practical advice to strengthen your resilience and protect you from taking in the negativity of your self-absorbed parents.”
—Ann Steiner, PhD, MFT, CGP, FAGPA, faculty of The Psychotherapy Institute, board member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and author of How to Create and Sustain Groups that Thrive
“This new text by Nina Brown makes clear the impact of self-absorbed parents and offers some useful techniques about what to do about them. … Written in an easily accessible and commonsense tone, [Children of the Aging Self-Absorbed
has] something to offer for those with relatively little background in psychology and human development theory, as well as those with considerable experience. … Brown takes the reader through the basics of coping with a problem that is faced by a good deal of the early, middle, and later adult population. … This text is a useful and practical review of the issues involved with parent-child dynamics in the adulthood years and provides some solid structure for describing, categorizing, and responding to these issues in an effective manner.”
—Joshua M. Gross, PhD, ABPP, CGP, psychologist and director of group programs at The University Counseling Center at Florida State University, where he practices group and family psychology as well as trains and supervises doctoral and post-doctoral trainees
With this book, learn to develop a sound love relationship with a narcissistic person. Create and maintain personal boundaries. Avoid feeding your loved one's self-obsessive behavior. Gain the separation you need to love your narcissist for who he or she is.
A narcissistic partner is forever putting his or her own needs first and is also demeaning, manipulative, controlling, and competitive. After the early stages of a relationship, the non-narcissist is usually left questioning her value. In this first book for the intimate partners of narcissists, find empowering strategies you can use to limit the destructive effect of your partner's behavior and get what you need out of your relationship.
Learn the five types of destructive narcissism and how to recognize their effects on your relationship. The book reassures you that you are not helpless, and that you needn't give up on your relationship. Instead, the book offers realistic tips on living so that both of your needs are met. Change your "fantasy" wishes into realistic expectations, create boundaries, listen and respond in a self-caring manner, and learn when to avoid and ignore especially bad behavior. The book teaches you how to stop feeding into a narcissist's self-focus with subtle behavior cues such as acting distracted when he or she vies for attention. Ultimately, you will achieve a degree of understanding and separation that will help you see both your partner and yourself in a new light.
As self-absorbed parents grow older and become more dependent on their adult children, hurtful relationships may resurface and become further strained. In the tradition of the best-selling Children of the Self-Absorbed, author Nina Brown offers the first book for adult children of aging narcissistic or self-absorbed parents. Readers will learn practical yet powerful strategies for navigating the intense negative feelings that these parents can incite, as well as tips to protect their children from the criticism, blame, or hostility that may exist between their parent and grandparents.
About the Author
Nina W. Brown, EdD, LPC, received her doctorate from the College of William and Mary, and is a professor and eminent scholar of counseling at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She is former president of the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, and a current commissioner for the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. Brown is the author of twenty-seven books on group therapy and narcissism, including Children of the Self-Absorbed, Loving the Self-Absorbed, and Whose Life is it Anyway?