Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Presents for Dad

One year my mother sent me a book on parental alienation syndrome and children of alcholics books. I always thought it was pretty nervy of her to be diagnosing me (when she had absolutely no knowledge of who I was or ever listened to how I felt) as if she was some kind of professional in the field. And as if I needed diagnosing or had asked it from anyone.

That being in mind. I would never waste my money on actually sending these to my father. I guess more importantly I would never be so arrogant. But for fun, and because he and the step have caused me such distress and pain in my life, I thought it would be fun to make a list of books that I would like to send him. That is, if I was such a mean and spiteful person.
Plus, as my father would ask how I thought or felt, and then actually tell me I was wrong (huh?), it's kind of fun to think about inflicting that kind of torture on him. But to go to therapy with him just to say "oh dad, no you don't feel this way. let me tell you how you feel." would just be a huge waste of time and far too irritating. Because as much as I would pretend he wasn't irritating of me, certain bad thoughts would be going through my head as he again 1) explained he knows everything about therapy due to some college courses he took forty years ago (um, I took all those courses too duh) and 2) when explains the way I feel because obviously I don't know. As you can tell, I am a girl with undeveloped opinions LOL.

If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World (Paperback) -more so that he would realize he is the controlling parent. Controlling parents can leave lasting scars on your psyche and negatively influence all aspects of your adult life, especially the ways you parent your own children. Understanding and rising above these problems is the subject of If You Had Controlling Parents, read by the author, clinical psychologist Dan Neuharth. Moving slowly and carefully through the material, Dr. Neuharth gives you time to process and reflect upon topics such as why parents overcontrol and how you can gain autonomy in your life. Specific exercises at the end of the tape will help you to change the patterns set by controlling parents and deal with situations like family holidays, maintaining relationships with your parents, and developing your own parenting style.

The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment (Paperback) In this compelling book, the authors present an innovative therapeutic model for understanding and treating adults from emotionally abusive or neglectful families? families the authors call narcissistic. Narcissistic families have a parental system that is, for whatever reason (job stress, alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, physical disability, lack of parenting skills, self-centered immaturity), primarily involved in getting its own needs met. The children in such narcissistic family systems try to earn love, attention and approval by satisfying their parents' needs, thus never developing the ability to recognize their own needs or create strategies for getting them met. By outlining the theoretical framework of their model and using dozens of illustrative clinical examples, the authors clearly illuminate specific practice guidelines for treating these individuals.

The Bill from My Father: A Memoir (Paperback) Cooper's midlife coming-of-age story was undertaken after a New York editor read his essay about his father and encouraged a book. Dad, a former L.A. attorney specializing in high-profile divorces until retirement at 86, had "glided downtown each weekday morning in a white Cadillac, his fingernails buffed to a high gloss, his briefcase embossed with interlocking letters, ESC, for Edward Samuel Cooper," and thought of his sole surviving son's writing as a hobby. He hoped Bernard would one day abandon teaching freshman composition for a real job but consented to interviews for this book, thereby setting in motion a humorous, wrenching, but never boring exploration of a frustrating father-son relationship. Bernard's deceased brothers had pleased their father by becoming lawyers or private investigators, joining Dad's firm, and being heterosexual. Bernard did none of that and has to come to terms with the philandering, curmudgeonly father he wishes would grant even token approval instead of the itemized, two-million-dollar bill he'd once sent Bernard for his upbringing. And you thought your father was something else! Whitney Scott

Where Were You When I Needed You, Dad?: A Guide for Healing Your Father Wound (Paperback) Clinical psychologist Drew offers a seven-step program directed at men and women whose fathers were absent, abusive, overly judgmental, or emotionally withdrawn. Taking examples from her life and the experiences of her clients, Drew uses techniques familiar to those acquainted with the recovery movement (e.g., visualization, writing, and drawing with the nondominant hand) to guide the reader in assessing and understanding the father's role. She discusses letting go of anger, laying the foundation for healing, and building healthy future relationships. A final chapter includes advice for friends and partners. The book is delightfully illustrated and easy to read, although a section examining cultural differences in fathering would have given the book wider appeal. Recommended for public libraries.

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