Toxic parents by Susan Forward, Craig Faustus Buck

Toxic parents by Susan Forward, Craig Faustus Buck. Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life. This is a book I would recommend to everybody. Even if you don’t have toxic parents, it is very likely that you are close to people that had, a relative, a friend, a colleague. Only for that and I wish I’ve read this book many years ago.

Toxic parents by Susan Forward, Craig Faustus Buck

Forward starts her book by talking about types of toxic parents in part 1 and how to overcome their legacy in part 2. The first chapter is the “godlike parents”, the ones that are self-proclaimed perfect, the ones that think the child should submit because they are children, the toxic parents.

The types of toxic parents, are:

– Inadequate
– Controllers, the ones that try to manage their children’s life, from where they live to whom they get married to
– Alcoholics, who will deny and make the children lie to everybody about their parents habits
– Verbal abusers
– Physical abusers
– Sexual abusers

Reading this chapter was illuminating. I know people that didn’t take a chance because their family opposed it, even if it would have been an amazing opportunity for them. It is so sad. As I said, even if the situation is not so bad to classify it as toxic, it still makes you think of certain behaviours that are toxic.

In the second part, Forward talks about “reclaiming your life”, stating that you don’t have to forgive. I think that is great. The child was a victim, and now the adult shouldn’t have the pressure to forgive as well. She also talks about confrontation. I think that is another great idea, not because it will change something with the parents. If the toxic parents could change, they wouldn’t be toxic in the first place. But what confrontation does is to empower the child. Done as she suggests, when the time is right, with the right mindset, it can be life changing indeed.

One of the things I’ve learned and applied from the book was to use non-defensive responses. I’ve had an argument with someone and I’ve used a non-defensive response, the tension deescalated immediately. Isn’t that great?

Some examples of non-defensive responses:
I see.
That’s interesting.
You are entitled to your opinion.
I’m sorry you feel this way.
Let me think about that.

I really think everybody should read this book. The style is great, fluid and easy to follow. She is compassionate and wonderful.

Toxic parents by Susan Forward, Craig Faustus Buck

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Bantam Books
Year it was published: First published in 1989. This edition is from 2002.
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Non-fiction. Psychology
Pages: 309

About the author: Susan Forward is one an US best known therapists and a best selling author, lecturer, and frequent talk-show guest. She works at her private practice, and as a therapist, instructor, and consultant for Southern California psychiatric and medical facilities. She is the author of the #1 New York Times best sellers Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them and Toxic Parents. Susan also hosted her own nationally syndicated program on ABC Talk Radio for six years.

In 1978, she published her first book, Betrayal of Innocence, a book about child abuse. As a result of her expertise, Susan qualified as an expert witness in numerous criminal and civil trials. She formed the first private sexual abuse treatment center in Los Angeles. Her second book was Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them, another bestseller. Toxic parents is her third book. Other books published by her: Obsessive Love, Money Demons, Emotional Blackmail, When Your Lover is a Liar, and Toxic In-Laws.

Susan’s career in psychology began when she volunteered at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. The professional staff at the Institute saw her ability to empathize and work effectively with patients. Thus she was offered a position as a paraprofessional. Susan made the decision to dedicate herself to helping others and entered graduate school at the University of Southern California. There she earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Social Work. She then went on to earn her license as a Clinical Social Worker and later her Ph.D. in Psychology.

Craig Faustus Buck is a journalist and a nonfiction book author. He is also a writer-producer for network television.
Website & Social Media Links: and

5 thoughts on “Toxic parents by Susan Forward, Craig Faustus Buck”

  • Thanks for the review, Anca. This does sound like it would be beneficial to most people to read. I was blessed to come from a good family, but I understand as an adult and parent now, that not all families were like mine. Difficult to understand as a child, though.

  • What an interesting and informative post. I will definitely have to pick up a copy. Thank you..

  • This is such an interesting read, I would love to get a copy of this book and read in detail about toxic parents and their behaviour

  • This was such an interesting read, I’ve never really thought about the psychology of being a parent! Thanks

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