Nearly all controlling parents embody one
or more of the eight "styles" of controlling parenting. These styles provide a
"You Are Here" point on the map of unhealthy control. Identifying your
parents styles can help you make sense of what didnt jibe in your family.
Remember the series of lenses an eye doctor alternates before your eyes until you find
ones that enable you to see most clearly? Recognizing your parents styles offers the
right lens that brings into focus the underlying values and themes with which you were
raised. The more clearly you view your familys themes, the more readily you can
become your own person. You may find elements of one or more of these styles present in
either or both of your parents:
of feeling alone, Smothering parents emotionally engulf their children. Their overbearing
presence discourages independence and cultivates a tyranny of repetition in their
childrens identities, thoughts and feelings.
Convinced they will never get enough of what they need, Depriving parents withhold
attention and encouragement from their children. They love conditionally, giving affection
when a child pleases them, withdrawing it when displeased.
Paranoid about flaws, Perfectionistic parents drive their children to be the best and the
brightest. These parents fixate on order, prestige, power and/or perfect appearances.
Distressed by uncertainty, Cultlike parents have to be "in the know," and often
gravitate to military, religious, social or corporate institutions or philosophies where
they can feel special and certain. They raise their children according to rigid rules and
Caught up in an internal cyclone of instability and confusion, Chaotic parents tend toward
mercurial moods, radically inconsistent discipline, and bewildering communication.
Determined never to lose or feel one-down, Using parents emotionally feed off their
children. Hypersensitive and self-centered, Using parents see others gains as their
loss, and consequently belittle their children.
Perched atop a volcano of resentment, Abusing parents verbally or emotionally bully
or physically or sexually abuse their children. When theyre enraged, Abusing
parents view their children as threats and treat them accordingly.
Feeling incapable or needy, Childlike parents offer their children little protection.
Childlike parents, woefully uncomfortable with themselves, encourage their children to
take care of them, thereby controlling through role-reversal.
From If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make
Peace With Your Past and Take Your Place in the World, published
by HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright
© Dan Neuharth,