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Susan Forward quotes (showing 1-30 of 32)

“Love is a verb, not a noun. It is active. Love is not just feelings of passion and romance. It is behavior. If a man lies to you, he is behaving badly and unlovingly toward you. He is disrespecting you and your relationship. The words “I love you” are not enough to make up for that. Don’t kid yourself that they are.”
Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal
“MAKING THE LIE MAKE SENSE:

When denial (his or ours) can no longer hold and we finally have to admit to ourselves that we’ve been lied to, we search frantically for ways to keep it from disrupting our lives. So we rationalize. We find “good reasons” to justify his lying, just as he almost always accompanies his confessions with “good reasons” for his lies. He tells us he only lied because…. We tell ourselves he only lied because…. We make excuses for him: The lying wasn’t significant/Everybody lies/He’s only human/I have no right to judge him.

Allowing the lies to register in our consciousness means having to make room for any number of frightening possibilities:

• He’s not the man I thought he was.
• The relationship has spun out of control and I don’t know
what to do
• The relationship may be over.

Most women will do almost anything to avoid having to face these truths. Even if we yell and scream at him when we discover that he’s lied to us, once the dust settles, most of us will opt for the comforting territory of rationalization. In fact, many of us are willing to rewire our senses, short-circuit our instincts and intelligence, and accept the seductive comfort of self-delusion.”
Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal
“When your lover is a liar, you and he have a lot in common, you're both lying to you!”
Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal
“Reality Check
His lying is not contigent on who you are or what you do. His lying is not your fault. Lying is his choice and his problem, and if he makes that choice with you, he will make it with any other woman he’s with. That doesn’t mean you’re an angel and he’s the devil. It does mean that if he doesn’t like certain things about you, he has many ways to address them besides lying. If there are sexual problems between you, there are many resources available to help you. Nothing can change until you hold him responsible and accountable for lying and stop blaming yourself.

The lies we tell ourselves to keep from seeing the truth about our lovers don’t feel like lies. They feel comfortable, familiar, and true. We repeat them like a mantra and cling to them like security blankets, hoping to calm ourselves and regain our sense that the world works the way we believe it ought to.
Self-lies are false friends we look to for comfort and protection—and for a short time they may make us feel better. But we can only keep the truth at bay for so long. Our self-lies can’t erase his lies, and as we’ll see, the longer we try to pretend they can, the more we deepen the hurt.”
Susan Forward
“Children who are not encouraged to do, to try, to explore, to master, and to risk failure, often feel helpless and inadequate. Over-controlled by anxious, fearful parents, these children often become anxious and fearful themselves. This makes it difficult for them to mature. Many never outgrow the need for ongoing parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and frequently dominate their lives.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love. They came to understand love as something chaotic, dramatic, confusing, and often painful—something they had to give up their own dreams and desires for. Obviously, that’s not what love is all about. Loving behaviour doesn’t grind you down, keep you off balance, or create feelings of self-hatred. Love doesn’t hurt, it feels good. Loving behaviour nourishes your emotional well-being. When someone is being loving to you, you feel accepted, cared for, valued, and respected. Genuine love creates feelings of warmth, pleasure, safety, stability, and inner peace.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of the toxic parents. They promote fusion, a blurring of personal boundaries, a welding together of family members. On an unconscious level, it is hard for family members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often suffocate one another’s individuality.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Perfectionist parents seem to operate under the illusion that if they can just get their children to be perfect, they will be a perfect family. They put the burden of stability on the child to avoid facing the fact that they, as parents, cannot provide it. The child fails and becomes the scapegoat for family problems. Once again, the child is saddled with the blame.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Criticism is the fountainhead of control.”
Susan Forward, Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters
“Many toxic parents compare one sibling unfavorably with another to make the target child feel that he's not doing enough to gain parental affection. This motivates the child to do whatever the parents want in order to regain their favor. This divide-and-conquer technique is often unleashed against children who become a little too independent, threatening the balance of the family system.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Just as verbally and physically abused children internalize blame, so do incest victims. However, in incest, the blame is compounded by the shame. The belief that ‘it’s all my fault’ is never more intense than with the incest victim. This belief fosters strong feelings of self-loathing and shame. In addition to having somehow to cope with the actual incest, the victim must now guard against being caught and exposed as a ‘dirty, disgusting’ person”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Denial is the lid on our emotional pressure cooker: the longer we leave it on, the more pressure we build up. Sooner or later, that pressure is bound to pop the lid, and we have an emotional crisis.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Enmeshment creates almost total dependence on approval and validation from outside yourself. Lovers, bosses, friends, even strangers become the stand-in for parents. Adults like Kim who were raised in families where there was no permission to be an individual frequently become approval junkies, constantly seeking their next fix.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Successful adult relationships, whether between lovers or
friends, require a significant degree of vulnerability, trust,
and openness—”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Instead of promoting healthy development, they unconsciously undermine it, often with the belief that they are acting in their child’s best interest.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“You can learn, but you’ve got to give yourself time to pick up the basics, to practice, and maybe even to fail once or twice.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“In families like Fred's, much of a child's identity and his illusions of safety depend on feeling enmeshed. He develops a need to be a part of other people and to have them be a part of him. He can't stand the thought of being cast out. This need for enmeshment carries right into adult relationships.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Co-dependent was used interchangeably with the term enabler—someone whose life was out of control because he or she was taking responsibility for “saving” a chemically dependent person. But in the past few years the definition of co-dependency has expanded to include all people who victimize themselves in the process of rescuing and being responsible for any compulsive, addicted, abusive, or excessively dependent person.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“She was battered incessantly, regularly, all the time. I'm not saying 24 hours a day, but the incidents of battering were extraordinarily high.”
Susan Forward
“Phil talked openly about his current life, but he closed up when I asked him about his early years. With some gentle probing, he told me that what he remembered most vividly about his childhood was his father’s constant teasing. The jokes were always at Phil’s expense and he often felt humiliated. When the rest of the family laughed, he felt all the more isolated. It was bad enough being teased, but sometimes he really scared me when he’d say things like: “This boy can’t be a son of ours, look at that face. I’ll bet they switched babies on us in the hospital. Why don’t we take him back and swap him for the right one.” I was only six, and I really thought I was going to get dropped off at the hospital. One day, I finally said to him, “Dad, why are you always picking on me?” He said, “I’m not picking on you. I’m just joking around. Can’t you see that?” Phil, like any young child, couldn’t distinguish the truth from a joke, a threat from a tease. Positive humor is one of our most valuable tools for strengthening family bonds. But humor that belittles can be extremely damaging within the family. Children take sarcasm and humorous exaggeration at face value. They are not worldly enough to understand that a parent is joking when he says something like, “We’re going to have to send you to preschool in China.” Instead, the child may have nightmares about being abandoned in some frightening, distant land. We have all been guilty of making jokes at someone else’s expense. Most of the time, such jokes can be relatively harmless. But, as in other forms of toxic parenting, it is the frequency, the cruelty, and the source of these jokes that make them abusive. Children believe and internalize what their parents say about them. It is sadistic and destructive for a parent to make repetitive jokes at the expense of a vulnerable child. Phil was constantly being humiliated and picked on. When he made an attempt to confront his father’s behavior, he was accused of being inadequate because he “couldn’t take a joke.” Phil had nowhere to go with all these feelings. As Phil described his feelings, I could see that he was still embarrassed—as if he believed that his complaints were silly.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Nondefensive phrases: • Really? • I see. • I understand. • That’s interesting. • That’s your choice. • I’m sure you see it that way. • You’re entitled to your opinion. • I’m sorry you’re upset. • Let’s talk about this when you’re calmer. • Yelling and threatening aren’t going to solve anything. • This subject is off-limits. • I don’t choose to have this conversation. • Guilt peddling and playing the pity card are not going to work anymore. • I know you’re upset. • This is nonnegotiable. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, these phrases will act like a referee coming in to stop a fight. They nip conflict in the bud. You won’t need them when someone is pleasant, but they’re essential when you’re being blamed, bullied, attacked, or criticized.”
Susan Forward, Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters
“My father never did any of the things that my friends’ fathers did with them. We never tossed a football around or even watched games together. He would always say, “I don’t have time—maybe later,” but he always had time to sit around and get drunk.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Yet if there's one thing I know with absolute certainty, both personally and professionally, it is this: Nothing will change in our lives until we change our own behavior. Insight won't do it. Understanding why we do the self-defeating things we do won't make us stop doing them. Nagging and pleading with the other person to change won't do it. We have to act. We have to take the first step down a new road.”
Susan Forward, Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
“Föräldrakärlek är den enda kärleken där det slutliga målet måste vara skillsmässa.

En mor som sätter värde på sonens strävan efter oberoende och uppmuntrar honom att skiljas från henne när han behöver det ger honom mycket viktiga verktyg för att handskas med livet. När modern är villig att låta sonen etablera sin egen identitet genom att låta honom ta risker på egen hand och låta honom göra sina egna misstag, och ändå finns till hands om han skulle behöva henne, bidrar hon till att skapa en människa som har förtroende för sig själv och sin förmåga.

Den förkvävande modern hindrar och begränsar i stället sonens utveckling genom att styra honom för mycket och få honom att känna sig oduglig och hjälplös.”
Susan Forward, Män som hatar kvinnor och kvinnorna som älskar dem
“you”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents
“We can only speculate why, but physically abusive parents seem to share certain characteristics. First, they have an appalling lack of impulse control.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Alla barn längtar att känna sig trygga, skyddade och älskade av sina föräldrar. De behöver också få lov att växa upp och bli oberoende. Paradoxalt nog kan människor bli oberoende vuxna bara om deras behov av beroende blev fyllt när de var barn. Om deras behov av beroende inte fylldes finns det en värkande tomhet inom dem, och den känslan bär de med sig in i vuxenlivet.”
Susan Forward, Män som hatar kvinnor och kvinnorna som älskar dem
“His father’s general mistrust of the future carried through to his thoughts on women. Like success, women would inevitably turn on you someday. He had a suspicion of women that bordered on paranoia. His son internalized these views as well:”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“Every time that I take out a woman, I hear my father’s voice saying, “Women love to trick men. They’ll take you for all you’ve got if you’re stupid enough to let them.”
Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
“The healing process kicks into gear with with the words "This is what you did to me." That statement is not gentle or polite; it's absolutely direct. In fact, I know that seeing it might feel like a punch in the stomach. I deliberately removed the distancing veil of "objectivity" from the words "This is what you did" by adding 'to me'.”
Susan Forward, Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters

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