Parenting as an abuse survivor
August 14, 2017 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend books for adult parents who survived abuse themselves as children. Any "must-read" books for abuse survivors in general are welcome too.

If it helps, the specific type of abuse was emotional - criticism, contempt, neglect. Am looking for books that will help break the cycle.

Bonus points for books available on Audible.
posted by puppet du sock to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
If you are a woman and the abuse was perpetrated by your mother, the book Motherless Daughters might be helpful.

John Gottman got into his work in adult relationships through his earlier research on parent child bonding. Definitely worth reading his writing on the topic of kids.

Adult survivors of abuse often have internalized issues about food, look into Ellyn Satters work about feeding children. Lots of research backs up an approach that is counter intuitive to 'received wisdom' around feeding kids.

The book Difficult Conversations is more about listening than it is about talking. Many people from abusive backgrounds have internalized beliefs that children are to be seen and not heard, and/or aren't used to knowing that children should be believed. AND they don't always fully expect to be listened to themselves. So this book can help you model good strong listening for your kiddo.

And I totally recommend listening to the podcast One Bad Mother. The two hosts do a good job of acknowledging that parenting is hard and that sometimes the supports you want/need aren't available. They cover all kinds of topics and work pretty hard to get parents from lots of different backgrounds to be guests. And they sometimes address the difficulty in booking diverse guests.
posted by bilabial at 7:51 AM on August 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman
Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft (which is more applicable than to just male violence)
All About Love by bell hooks

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
The Whole Brain Child

These books overall helped me process my trauma and understand how I was reproducing my abuse in ways that harmed other people. Like-- some things were obvious, but most of my behavior seemed (not great, but) normal to me, and I had little idea what a healthy and positive relationship/coping strategy looked like. The books on parenting were particularly helpful in understanding what a good, nurturing parent-child relationship meant.
posted by typify at 9:12 AM on August 14, 2017

Parenting from the Inside Out is supposed to be good.

My go-to is Barbara Coloroso's Kids are Worth It!
Also How to Talk... mentioned above. Also ditto Ellyn Satter.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:14 AM on August 14, 2017

Oh. Also Besel van der Kolks work on developmental trauma. His book The Body Keeps the Score is definitely available as an audiobook.
posted by bilabial at 10:27 AM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller

Changed my life in every imaginable way.
posted by trinity8-director at 11:40 AM on August 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

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