Books, forums, ??, for adult children of abusive parents who have (undiagnosed) cognitive and emotional issues?
January 1, 2012 4:32 PM   Subscribe

What are some informative self-help books and other resources (preferably online or UK-based) for adults dealing with abusive parents who have undiagnosed cognitive deficits and are emotionally stunted?

I've been gaslighted by my parents for as long as I can remember. The kicker is that it's not intentionally malicious behaviour. They are good people who mean well, but they have learnt some seriously toxic scripts and they are emotionally stunted with limited social skills.

I've been trying to find resources geared toward adult children of parents who are emotionally abusive, but who also have the types of cognitive and emotional issues that might hinder their (the parents') ability to comprehend, recognise or deal with the patterns. I've done the whole co-dependency book route, the Al-Anon route, lots of talk therapy but I've never quite found the right resources and I'm seriously lacking time and money these days for therapy sessions.

It'd be really helpful to learn about how other people have dealt with similar situations, what works, what doesn't, and how to cope. Or even just that other people experience this.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (2 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have specific recommendations, but the "Adult Children Of Alcoholics" or "ACOA" genre applies to much more than specifically alcoholic parents.
posted by caclwmr4 at 10:19 PM on January 1, 2012

I wonder if you're being too specific in what you're looking for? Most abusive parents aren't sociopaths or sadists who want to harm their children just for fun, but people with poor coping skills and boundaries. Or "emotionally stunted with limited social skills".

AND, most people raised by abusive parents don't have a magical reconciliation moment when their parents "comprehend, recognise, or deal with the patterns". One of the first things a good therapist or book on recovering from parental abuse will tell you is Don't Expect Anything From Your Parent(s), because they don't think they've done anything wrong or harmful. They tell you that early because sometimes it takes a long time to sink in.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, I promise. I have been there and it sucks. But because I've been there I can tell you that sometimes letting your parents off the hook prematurely because "it wasn't intentional" can delay the work you need to do on yourself. This isn't to say you should hate them forever -- just don't make your healing all about them, too.

Having said that, I can recommend Toxic Parents as one book I found helpful, and seconding resources for Adult Children of Alcoholics/ACOA.

I do talk therapy now, but during the periods when I was unable to afford that I never found any one book or resource that fit my situation exactly. I think you can just take what resonates for you and go from there.
posted by camyram at 11:49 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

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