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Parentification anyone ????
July 26, 2005
11:52 am
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Sophia_Lynn
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Someone responded to one of my previous threads with such helpful information and also suggested that I learn more about parentification.

I don't know if any of you others have difficulties because of this, but I would really love to hear about it.... about how it affects you.... what are you doing to help with the issues that come with it.

I was the parent to my mother for as long as I can remember. She is a very low functioning borderline personality disorder and also dependent personality disorder. She essentially tortured me throughout my life with her suicide attempts, beatings, yelling, silent treatments. I felt her hate for me--- always.

I was the GOOD girl. Thought if were perfect she would like me--- ya know---- the typical stuff. Heck I even went into psychiatry because I thought I could help her.

Things have gone from bad to worse. She now lives with me. So my house is FULL. I went from just me to 2 children and my mother. We have had this arrangement for 4 yrs now. It's tough. The kids are easy in comparison to her. She still has the moods, however most of the time she is locked in her room angry with all of us.

My goal is to end this situation.... not feel guilty for wanting my own life..... to be able to let her go and stop feeling pity on her for having a mental illness.... I need to realize that her particular mental illness is one that is VERY harmful to any close loved ones----- we are the object of her contempt, despite that my mother lives in a large home in the suburbs with everything she wants for FREE!!! Thanks to ME.

Like I said in one of my previous posts, I have the education part of it, but I can't seem to get in through my head to put me first (and now the kids too, since she is not good with them) and live a happier existence.

Any words appreciated.

Thanks,
Sophia

July 26, 2005
6:11 pm
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hello there, precious 🙂

How have you been ?

I seem to be destined to keep running into you here, but hell, as long as you benefit from it, like you say you do, you won't hear me complain.

I think you're doing great (in my humble view) ... so KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK and by all means, keep talking and posting here on this site. Keep talking about YOU.

Actually, I know there are a lot of posters on this site who certainly qualify as "parentified children" because they grew up in a dysfunctional family system (f.e. drug or alcohol abuse, sexual molestation, chronic illness).

"My (= Sophia) goal is to end this situation.... not feel guilty for wanting my own life".

-------------

How would you like to attain this goal ? What do you wanna do ?

-------------

so what do we mean when we talk about "parentified children" ?

Here are some definitions of what is commonly understood as "parentification" :

"Parentification significantly contributes to feelings of guilt and co-dependency for children who have been victim to it. Very often a child will get a lot of ego gratification from behaving like a "little adult" only to discover later on, that they have lost the ability to be spontaneous, flexible and playful".

"Parentification is a term commonly used to refer to role reversal in the parent-child relationship wherein parents rely upon their children for emotional support".

"Parentification refers to children or adolescents assuming adult roles before they are emotionally or developmentally ready to manage those roles successfully".

Responses to Being Parentified
==============================>>

There are two major responses that parentified childrenn have: the “compliant” response and the “siege” response.

The compliant response is illustrated when you, as an adult:
• spend a great deal of your time taking care of others
• are constantly alert about acting in a way to please others
• are very conforming
• feel responsible for the feelings, care and welfare of others
• tend to be self-depreciating
• rush to maintain harmony and to soothe others’feelings
• seldom get your needs met

The compliant response is a continuation of how you acted as a child — when you were expected to take care ofyour parents. You are continuing to act out these behaviors and attitudes in your relationships, but don’t seem to be able to have a relationship where your needs are met.

The siege response is one of defiance, rebellion, withdrawal and/or insensitivity. You work hard to prevent being manipulated by others, getting engulfed or enmeshed by others’ demands and feelings, assuming responsibility for others’ welfare and emotional well-being and from feeling diminished when you do not meet others’ expectations. In short, even though you are an adult, you are reacting to others as if they were your parents who expected and demanded that you meet their expectations. You decided at some point that you did not want to comply with your parents’ wishes and demands. You were trying to become separate and independent and had to fight hard to overcome being parentified. You are still fighting that battle with others in your life and this is negatively impacting your other relationships. ...there are some parents who do not assume the parental role, but instead, put the responsibility for personal, emotional and psychological well-being on their child.

Worse is that these adults don’t recognize the negative effects of the parental destructivenarcissism on their self-esteem, self-concept, interpersonalrelationships and life satisfaction. Parental destructive narcissism can have significant and deep-seated effects on their children and these effects can persist into adulthood. What is most troubling for many of these adult children of self-absorbed parents is that they feel something is wrong but *cannot identify what it is*. They may be angry and frustrated with their parent(s), while at the same time yearning for their parents to be different — to love and appreciate them. Some may avoid their parents or dread interaction of all kinds with the parent. Some may try to behave as an adult only to quickly regress to an earlier parent-child state when in the presence of their parents or display a whole host of other distressing and uncomfortable behaviors and feelings. Worse is that these adults don’t recognize the negative EFFECTS of the parental destructivenarcissism on their self-esteem, self-concept, interpersonal relationships and life satisfaction. They are affected in masked, hidden and unconscious ways that are not easily identified. These topics along with strategies for helping adult children of destructive narcissists cope with the lasting effects on them and the continuing attitudes and behaviors of their parents are the focus for Children of the Self-absorbed: "A Grownup’s Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents" (Brown, 2001). This article will explore identification of a parental destructive narcissistic pattern(DNP), describe some effects of the DNP on children and discuss healthy adult narcissism.

Destructive Narcissism
----------------------
What is destructive narcissism?

Let’s begin to answer that question with a brief summary of a Greek myth from which the concept of narcissism was developed. Narcissus was a handsome young man who was greatlydesired by the nymphs. One nymph, Echo, was especiallyenamored with him and told Narcissus of her love for him. He rudely rejected her and, in her shame and grief, she faded away until only her voice was left. The nymphs were very angry and desired revenge. They petitioned the gods, who arranged for Narcissus to fall in love with his reflection in a pond. Narcissus thought that his reflection was a sprite. He fell in love with the reflection and kept trying to embrace it only to have it disappear every time. He was unable to leave the reflection even though he received no response from it. He pined away and died, leaving a flower in his place.

This myth has many elements that are used to describethe psychological concept of pathological and destructive narcissism:

• unresponsive to others’ needs or concerns
• a strong self-focus and self-absorption
• indifference to others
• lack of empathy
• an inability to grasp one’s core self as there is nothing there
• shallow emotions
• an inability to relate to others in a meaningful way
• strong admiration and attention needs
• consideration of oneself as unique and special
• grandiose, arrogant and contemptuous

Pathological narcissism is described in the Diagnosticand Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edition,1994) and is termed narcissistic personality disorder. It isdefined as, “A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy orbehavior), need for admiration and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” (p. 658) In addition, the person must have five of nine other described behaviors, attitudes and characteristics. These are generally intense and are disruptive to interpersonal relationships. The important thing to remember is that the destructive narcissistic parent failed to develop in important ways (i.e. developing healthy adult narcissism). This parent has considerable underdeveloped narcissism, but remains unaware of it. It is always possible to build and develop healthy adult narcissism, but it takes considerable time and effort on that person’s part. Destructive narcissism is defined as a pattern of behaviors and attitudes reflective of pathological narcissism but the behaviors and attitudes are fewer and/or less intense. Nevertheless, these behaviors and attitudes are troubling to others who are in a relationship by with this person and/or have to interact with the person ona regular basis. The pattern of behaviors and attitudes are such that others experience considerable frustration, angerand feelings of incompetence; these individuals are blamed, criticized, devalued and demeaned in their relationships and/or interactions with the person suffering from a DNP. Destructive narcissism is a cluster of behaviors and attitudes — not just one or two distressing behaviors or attitudes. It is through your reactions to the person over time, which is validated by others who have similar reactions, that you can begin to identify someone with a destructive narcissistic pattern. It can be difficult to identify your parent as displaying a DNP as you have experienced their behaviors and attitudes since birth and internalized them — you do not know anyother way of experiencing your parent.

As you read this article, allow yourself to remember your parent’s behaviors and attitudes, your feelings and reactions and compare these with the information presented here.

The “Parentified” Child
-----------------------
One way to identify a parental DNP is to determine if you were a parentified child. Parents are expected to take care of their children and facilitate their growth and development toward becoming separate and distinct individuals. Many parents assume responsibility for the child’s physical, emotional and psychological well-being while also allowing the child to become independent and autonomous in preparation for adulthood. However, there are some parents who do not assume the parental role, but instead, put the responsibility for personal emotional and psychological well-being on their child. This situation results in what is known as a“parentified” child. The child is in the parent’s role instead of the reverse.

Read the following questions and see if any fit your experiences with your parent.

1. Were you made to feel responsible for your parent’s feelings, well-being and/or general welfare?
2. Did your parent seem to be indifferent or ignore your feelings much of the time?
3. Were you frequently blamed, criticized, devalued and/or demeaned?4. When your parent was upset or displeased, were you the target of his or her negative feelings?
5. Did you feel that you were constantly trying to please your parent only to fall short much or all of the time(i.e. you could never please him or her)?
6. Do you recall hearing one or both parents say any of the following?
• “Don’t you want me to feel good?”
• “You make me feel like a failure when you do ___.”
• “You ought to care about me.”
• “I feel like a good parent when someone praises you.”
• “If you cared about me, you would do what I want you to.”

If you frequently experienced these feelings and events or heard these or similar remarks from your parent while growing up, you may be a parentified child and your parent may have a DNP. The parentified child is a good example of having a parent with a destructive narcissistic pattern. There are some behaviors and attitudes that persons with a parental DNP can exhibit.

Review the following and see how many characteristics apply. One or both of your parents:
• constantly sought attention and admiration
• wanted to be considered unique and special
• tried, or did, exploit others
• lacked empathy
• was emotionally abusive
• gave orders and expected immediate obedience
• had an inflated self-perception
• was arrogant or contemptuous
• exhibited an entitlement attitude
Did you feel that your parents never thought you were good enough? If you spoke of your parents’ insensitivity to your feelings, were you made to feel ungrateful, wrong, shamed or guilty? Did a parent almost always remind you of what he or she was sacrificing for you and you should show some appreciation? If any of these strike a chord, you may want to consider that you are the adult child of a parent who has a destructive narcissistic pattern. These are but a few of such behaviors and attitudes, and you can gain more understanding of these and others from "Children of the Self-Absorbed" (Brown, 2001) and "The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern" (Brown, 1998).

Responses to Being Parentified
------------------------------
There are *two* major responses that parentified children have; the “compliant” response and the “siege” response.

The compliant response is illustrated when you, as an adult:
• spend a great deal of your time taking care of others
• are constantly alert about acting in a way to please others
• are very conforming
• feel responsible for the feelings, care and welfare of others
• tend to be self-depreciating
• rush to maintain harmony and to soothe others’ feelings
• seldom get your needs met

The compliant response is a continuation of how youacted as a child — when you were expected to take care of your parents. You are continuing to act out these behaviors and attitudes in your relationships, but *don’t seem to be able to have a relationship where your needs are met*.

The siege response is one of defiance, rebellion, withdrawal and/or insensitivity. You work hard to prevent being manipulated by others, getting engulfed or enmeshed by others’ demands and feelings, assuming responsibility for others’ welfare and emotional well-being and from feeling diminished when you do not meet others’ expectations. In short, even though you are an adult, you are reacting to others as if they were your parents who expected and demanded that you meet their expectations. You decided at some point that you did not want to comply with your parents’ wishes and demands. You were trying to become separate and independent and had to fight hard to overcome being parentified. You are still fighting that battle with others in your life and this is negatively impacting your other relationships. ...there are some parents who do not assume the parental role, but instead, put the responsibility for personal emotional and psychological well-being on their child.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Healthy adult narcissism is characterized by empathy, a sense of humor, creativity, wisdom, sense of personal responsibility, the capacity for developing and maintaining satisfying intimate relationships and altruism.

Life Themes
-----------
To get an idea of the persistent effects of parental destructive narcissism, take a moment to review this list of life themes that can result from a parental DNP.

Do you display two or more of the following life themes?
• Generalized dissatisfaction with self and the course of your life
• Trying, but not succeeding, to be in emotional sync with others
• Constant reflection on your flaws, incompetence, and other faults
• Lack of meaningful and satisfying relationships
• The inability to allow others to become intimate or close
• Meaning and purpose in your life is lacking
• There are interpersonal problems with family, friends and/or work relationships
• You constantly feel isolated and alienated (i.e. not connected to others)
• You are overwhelmed by others’ demands or expectations
• These themes point to some lasting effects of your parentified childhood experiences that have implications for your life and your relationships today

Healthy Adult Narcissism
------------------------
You may have the idea that narcissism is not desirable because the focus thus far has been on destructive narcissism. However, there are the concepts of age-appropriate narcissism and healthy adult narcissism that point to the positive aspects of a self-focus. Age-appropriate narcissism is a concept based on the notion that we grow and develop in our ability to become separate and differentiated people and that this is a process that begins at birth and continues throughout life. One way of illustrating age-appropriate narcissism is to think of the infant as self-absorbed, grandiose, omnipotent and all the other characteristics described as destructive narcissism for an adult. It’s ok for the infantand early child states, but not age-appropriate for adolescents and adults. When adults have failed to develop age-appropriate narcissism, this is termed as underdeveloped narcissism. These adults are still in an infant, child or even adolescent state as far as their developed narcissism is concerned. Healthy adult narcissism is characterized by empathy, asense of humor, creativity, wisdom, sense of personal responsibility, the capacity for developing and maintaining satisfying intimate relationships and altruism. This is the ideal state for adults. What happens is that the process to develop healthy adult narcissism continues throughout our lives. Children of the self-absorbed have to work particularly hard throughout their lives to attain this level of development, as they were not allowed to complete the expected tasks at an earlier age. If you had a parent with a DNP, you may have areas of underdeveloped narcissism that need attention.

Adult-Parent Relations
----------------------
You may still have an unsatisfying relationship with your destructive narcissistic parent even though you are now an adult.

You may have:
• made attempts to react as an adult in interactions withhim or her
• tried to start a dialogue to explain the negative effectsof his or her behavior and attitudes on you
• confronted your parent about their insensitivity, indifference or exploitation and lack of empathy toward you
• tried to not get upset when your parent blames, criticizes or devalues you only to find that nothing worked
You may even have experienced feeling worse after trying any of these as your parent was able to arouse your frustration, anger, guilt and/or shame.You probably had one of two responses. Either you gave up and withdrew, or you continued to try that which was not working or effective. You did not understand what was happening and continued to carry some intense negative feelings in either case. If you withdrew, you may have severed relations with the parent. You do not want to have anything to do with him or her, nor do you want your parent as a part of your life. The down side of this strategy is that you may have distanced yourself from other family relationships that you value.If you continued to try and get your parent to understand what you were experiencing, you stayed churned up because you made no headway. You are not accepting that your attempts to get the parent to understand did not work before, are not working now and will not work in the future. It is difficult to recognize and accept that there is nothing you can do or say that will cause or help your parent to change. The only change you can affect is personal.

You can learn to:
• emotionally insulate yourself
• keep your uncomfortable feelings from being triggered
• build and fortify your boundaries
• develop your underdeveloped narcissism to become healthy adult narcissism
• erect defenses against their negative projections, accusations, remarks and the like. You cannot change your parent, but you can become an adult who does not have to dread interacting with your parent or having negative feelings triggered and other uncomfortable reactions. You will never have the kind of parent-child relationship that you consciously or unconsciously yearn for — and it can be difficult to give up that fantasy.

------ this article was written by : ------>>> Nina W. Brown (who is she?) --->>>>>

Nina W. Brown is a professor and eminent scholar of counseling in the Educational Leadership and Counseling Department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She received her doctorate from The College of William and Mary and additional training in group psychotherapy from the American Group Psychotherapy Association.

Dr.Brown is a licensed professional counselor, a nationally certified counselor and the author of 10 published books. Two other books, Working with the Self-Absorbed (New Harbinger)and The Unfolding Life: Counseling Across the Lifespan (with Parker;Greenwood Press) are scheduled for publication in 2002.

You may contact Ms.Brown by email at [email protected].

Books for you to read :
-----------------------

"Children as Caregivers: Parental and Parentified Children" - by Chester A. Winton (San Jose State University)ISBN: 0-205-32702-8, Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, 2003

"Burdened Children -
Theory, Research, and Treatment of Parentification" , by Nancy D. Chase, Hardcover : 0761907637 (or pbk: 0761907645), publsihed by Sage Publications, Inc , 1999

July 26, 2005
6:38 pm
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Sophia_Lynn
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wow--- thanks. That was enlightening for me. Seems I turned out being quite compliant and my sister more the seige..... She has been arrested for violence..... she is cold, cruel, always angry, loud, neglectful of her children (they are with me)....

I will look into this subject more. It seems to hit the nail on the head.

Sophia

July 26, 2005
9:49 pm
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cpt1212
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I had never heard of this before, but it has struck a chord. It explains so much. Looking at the adult responses I am definately the compliant and my brother and sister are the seige. This is very timely, in that I am going to be spending the weekend with my family this coming weekend--as I mentioned in an early thread, "not looking forward to this weekend". I am going to try to find some more reading on this topic, b/c toward the end it says you can change this, but does not elaborate. If you find any other resources please post them and I will do the same.

July 26, 2005
11:08 pm
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Sophia_Lynn
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you know what..... the "compliant" and "seige" descriptions sound basically like another description of codependent. You have the codependents who are the offenders and then there are those at the other end of the spectrum. I suppose it is just how you label it, but it comes down to the same point----- parents with significant psychological issues severely interfere with the proper emotional development of their children since the focus is on them (parents).

July 26, 2005
11:23 pm
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cpt1212
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Again, Sophia Lynn, you get the "education part of it". 🙂 How do we then make the leap to the emotional? Do you think that it is more difficult to make that emotional connection when you are so well educated in this area?

July 27, 2005
12:44 am
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That's the million dollar question CPT. I really don't know.

But I hope not. I thought living psychiatry >8 hrs a day would help (I guess in several ways it has-- I am certainly more aware and no longer in denial, so I have taken the first step in being comfortable with me)...however intellect doesn't heal---- at least, it hasn't for me.


Sophia

July 27, 2005
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cpt1212
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No, it doesn't. Not for me either. I keeping thinking that the more I know the easier it will be, but I have been absorbing information and still have no feeling of connectedness (is that a word? ha!). I guess I thought that I could "learn" to feel if I knew more about what was wrong. Knowing more and being more self aware has not decreased the feeling I have of watching a movie of somebody else's life. I sometimes wonder if that is a skill I will never have. I think that now I have more apprehension about feelings and dealing with past issues. I have not been able to open up in sessions with my therapist or even to myself b/c I wonder if I am doing it correctly. Or if I don't have the same feelings or reactions that are expected will my counselor not believe me and the thought that someone can say okay well now she is in this phase and it is that predictable and someone realizes what is going on and I am a kind of pawn (maybe I didn't explain that righ, it sounds a bit paranoid, but I didn't mean it that way)really pisses me off for some reason, although I know that is kinda the point.

Do you see a therapist? I would imagine that would be very interesting from your chair--

July 27, 2005
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parentification is closely related - connected to - the prior existence (or absence) of insecure attachment patterns in childhood as well ....... parentification is seen as developing within the context of insecure attachments.

---------->>>> Adult Attachment >>>

"Adult attachment patterns are therefore an extension of childhood attachment patterns.

The *two* main categories of attachment patterns are secure and insecure.

There are three categories of insecure attachment in childhood that have been observed, (a)anxious/ambivalent, (b) avoidant and (c) disoriented.

In adulthood these patterns have become mental representations and thus more conceptual than behavioral. Attachment patterns for adults are not as fully agreed upon or elaborated by researchers as those for children. Broadly speaking, securely attached adults have internalized a secure base. Such individuals trust themselves and others. They have a feeling of competence and enthusiasm for the physical and social world. There is movement toward personal growth. In relationships, these individuals are cooperative and compromising. They view themselves as worthy of receiving love and are generous in giving love. They feel safe, trusting and supported in their intimate relationships. In one study of adult attachment patterns in dating relationships, secure lovers described their intimate relationships as more positive and trusting. They reported that their dating relationships lasted for longer periods of time.

Insecurely attached adults are chronically in search of a *secure base*. This is manifest either in anxious ambivalent feelings or avoidant feelings. They often feel dependent and isolated. Their approach to the world can be manipulative and they may take a self-protective stance. They are oversensitive to frustration and either over regulate or under regulate affect. They may be over aggressive or too passive, over sexual or sexually avoidant. Their internalized self feels undeserving and dependent. They may protect against feelings of vulnerability with exaggerated competence or bravado. But they continue to experience emotional hunger and are, therefore, motivated to seek out relationships to rework issues of basic trust. In relation to partners, attachment behaviors may be more readily activated at more intense levels or deactivated even when some activation would be appropriate. They are constantly looking for a secure base outside themselves or they may deny the need for a secure base and connection to others.

Thus when individuals establish relationships, they bring with them a particular attachment pattern that influences their *perceptions* and their behavior. Understanding these patterns is a first step toward changing them if they are getting in the way of having a secure and satisfying relationship.

Understanding the early childhood influences that create an insecure attachment can help to make relationship destructive reactions comprehensible. Then the work of recognizing and changing these reactions can begin. Attachment patterns may be stable by they can be altered throughout the life span.

With the development of expectations as to the availability and reliability of attachment figures, children begin to develop what Bowlby calls a 'working model' of the self and others. The working model is based on their conceptions of themselves according to their attachment figures¹ responses to them. Thus, unwanted children will not only feel unwanted, but will also come to believe they are basically unworthy of love. Children who believe they are unlovable interact with others based on this premise, often creating situations in which their negative expectations are confirmed over and over again.

Working models are *mental representations* that include both affective and cognitive components. They guide behavior. They are most likely formed out of generalized event representations. They are usually unconscious and stable. These mental representations develop from the outcomes of attempts to seek proximity to and comfort from caregivers. They reflect the history of the actions of caregivers to children and responses of children to caregivers. From earliest childhood, knowledge of self and other is contingent on what is experienced within the context of the relationship. Thus mental representations of self and others are interdependent.

Source (independent psychotherapy network, - if you wanna read the full article, look here):
http://www.therapyinla.com/art.....e0601.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a second article by John Byng-Hall :"Relieving parentified children's burdens in families with insecure attachment patterns"

Brief article overview or summary :
"In this article, I will explore how parentfication, in which children take on parental roles, develops within the context of insecure attachments. I argue that parentification is more prevalent than is generally supposed. Adaptive parentfication is differentiated from destructive parentification, which is associated with a range of childhood problems. In this article, attachment theory is placed within a family systems framework and family concepts are described, such as a secure family base and family scripts, which can help to understand parentification. The ways in which two attachment relationships--insecure/ambivalent and insecure/controlling--contribute to parentification processes are delineated."

= Consequences of parentification =

(consequences, significance of parentification)

"The value of parentification as well as its pitfalls must be kept in mind. Jurkovic (1997) differentiates between ADAPTIVE and DESTRUCTIVE parentification. Adaptive parentification is transient or, if prolonged, the child is not captivated by the role: in other words, his or her identity is not tied to being a parental child. The child is also more likely to be supported in the task, and is being treated fairly by family and community. Different communities expect varying degrees of care of parents by their children. Destructive parentification involves emotional caretaking and/or instrumental responsibilities that are excessive and developmentally inappropriate, and represent a primary source of identity. In terms of attachment, the child is recruited to be the caregiver and also comes to expect that of him or herself. Bowlby (1980) describes compulsive caregiving, which develops after a child has, for instance, been looking after a sick parent, and has been coerced to do so by being made to feel guilty for failing to do enough, or for causing the parent's illness, or even eventual death. Compulsive caregivers may spend a lifetime of guilt-driven looking after others, even those who do not need or even want to be cared for. Many therapists have been parentified children and we may have gained from the experience, but we would be wise to explore how this shapes our caregiving responses.

One of the consequences of attempting to fulfil a caring role that is not possible for a child to accomplish adequately is considerable self-blame, which is sometimes reinforced by guilt-evoking strategies by other members of the family. Siblings also often resent being told what to do. Ordinary childhood development can be impaired in the meantime. Parentified children often suffer from depression, suicidal feelings, low self-esteem, shame, excessive guilt, unrelenting worry, social isolation, and other internalizing symptoms such as psychosomatic symptoms, or externalizing symptoms such as conduct disorder. These problems often obscure the caring role. For instance a naughty or troubled child such as a school refuser, may not be noticed to be looking after a parent. This is one reason why parentification is often missed. Families that include emotionally disturbed parents, who are likely to evoke unrecognized attempts by children to provide some emotional care (Gopfert, Webster, & Seeman, 1996), are common in those referred to family therapists. Jurkovic (1997) argues that destructive parentification is much more frequent than realized and it should be classified as a separate form of child abuse. As in other "symptoms" in the family, destructive parentification can alert therapists to wider family dysfunction. Family therapists are in a good position to help since the whole family's pattern of careseeking and caregiving needs to change."

Source (second article by Byng-Hall):

http://www.findarticles.com/p/.....i_93444769

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I think this BOOK will be an interesting read as well (in addition to the other 2 books I already mentioned):

Gregory J. Jurkovic (Ph.D):"Lost Childhoods: The Plight Of The Parentified Child"- Publisher: Brunner/Mazel Publisher (April 1, 1997), ISBN: 0876308256

Book Description (as copied from Amazon.com) :
Parentification - the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of family members by children and adolescents - is increasing as a result of various forces both inside and outside of the family. Evidence suggests that pathological parentification of children has serious consequences for them, and for succeeding generations, as do other forms of maltreatment.; This work is an exploration of the forces at work in families with parentified children - and the treatment strategies that hold the promise of interrupting a cycle of destructive behaviour.; The author begins by guiding the reader from conceptualization to possible causes and manifestations of parentification, facilitating a clear understanding of how and why this scenario is common. The second part of the book builds on this foundation to introduce methods of assesment, treatment, and prevention. This part of the text includes insights into the professional, ethical and personal challenges faced by therapists who themselves have a history of pathological parentification.

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