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Author Topic: My Parents Keeper - Eva Marian Brown, LCSW  (Read 5536 times)
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« on: September 24, 2010, 10:44:28 AM »

My Parent's Keeper: Adult Children of the Emotionally Disturbed
Author: Eva Marian Brown, MSW
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications (January 1, 1989)
Paperback: 148 pages
ISBN-10: 0934986789
ISBN-13: 978-0934986786

Book Description
This book is written for and about the many people who grew up with a parent with severe emotional problems. The book is organized in such a way that the initial chapter will give the reader a description of the typical background and problems of this group of people... The later chapters talk about ways of overcoming these problems.

Children raised by an unstable parent often become "parentified" children, entering into a role reversal in which the child, instead of being nurtured and protected, takes care of the parent's needs. There are long term consequences of this role reversal. As adults, these parentified child find relationships frustrating and confusing. They have difficulty knowing and expressing their feelings and needs.  Any kind of vulnerability is frightening. Intimacy is both craved and feared.

This book is a comforting and supportive guide to recognizing and changing the limiting childhood patterns you've carried into your adult relationships. You'll be able to recognize yourself yourself in the rich and revealing quotes the author has included form many hour of interviews with people who grew up with a disturbed parent.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Parentified Children
Chapter 2: Survivor's Guilt: The Price of Leaving Home
Chapter 3: Crazy Minnie's Daughter Mary --Like Mother, Like Child?
Chapter 4: Emotions and Control --Learning to Allow Intimacy

Chapter 5: Reclaiming Your Feelings
Chapter 6: If You're Mad I Must Be Bad --Building Self Esteem
Chapter 7: Overcoming Blocks to Risk-Taking
Chapter 8: A Program of Graduated Risk-Taking
Chapter 9: Mary: An Example of Risk-Taking

Chapter 10: Messages of Hope: ACMI's Talk to Each Other
Chapter 11: For the Helping Professional: Working with the ACMI

About the Author
Eva Marian Brown, LCSW, is a psychotherapist practicing in Oakland, CA. She earned her masters in social work from UC, Berkeley. In her general practice she provides individuals, couples, and group psychotherapy to adults. She also specializes in working with adults who grew up with a parent suffering from a serious psychological impairment.
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 07:49:44 AM »

I really liked this book.   It was written quite a while ago and its not specific to adult children with parents who have BPD but it does give a well rounded discussion of growing up in a home that has disordered parents.    Its a small book so doesn't go into great depths but for, that made it particularly accessible.   

I particularly liked the way she described the childhood of an ACMI (adult child of a mentally ill parent) as being fearful because the ACMI is not only not getting the nurturance that a child needs but also is called to do things they are not emotionally ready to handle.   This sets a child up for failure (they can't possibly solve their parent's problems), fear (the dependent child is not getting his/her needs met) and damage to self-esteem (hopelessness of the task getting entangled with eroding self-esteem).

She goes on to talk about how leaving home and thus getting out of such a dysfunctional leaves an ACMI with the usual anxieties people feel but also with a sense of survivor's guilt.

Ms. Brown then discusses reclaiming our feelings and healing.   She gives a wonderful template for graduated risk taking as a way of stepping out into the world. 
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2010, 04:32:43 PM »

I got a lot out of this book as well. Very little is written specifically for individuals who grew up in a family with mental illness. We have much in common with other groups with more extensive support literature, like adult children of alcoholics, but there are differences as well. The fear that one might develop a mental illness oneself is prevalent, for example.

The section on graduated risk taking is an excellent template. In this section, the author takes a patient through a series of "risky" exercises in self-assertion. She starts with a low-risk situation, telling a good friend who is generally flexible and agreeable about something that's bothering her. This goes well, and then she takes on a slightly higher risk exercise, and so on, until she's far more confident about acknowledging her wants and needs to herself and asking directly for what she needs from important people in her life. She also learns to let go when they say "no."

Thank you, LionDreamer, for bringing this book to the attention of our members.

What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
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