Children of the Aging Self-Absorbed: A Guide to Coping with Difficult, Narcissistic Parents and Grandparents

Children of the Aging Self-Absorbed: A Guide to Coping with Difficult, Narcissistic Parents and Grandparents

Growing up with a parent who is self-absorbed is difficult, and they may become more difficult to deal with as they age. This essential book shows how to cope with your aging parent's narcissistic behavior, and provides tips to help protect yourself and your children from their self-absorbed, destructive actions.

As your self-absorbed parent grows older and becomes more dependent on you, hurtful relationships may resurface and become further strained. In the tradition of Children of the Self-Absorbed, author Nina Brown offers the first book for adult children of aging narcissistic or self-absorbed parents. You will learn practical, powerful strategies for navigating the intense negative feelings that your parents can incite, as well as tips to protect your children from the criticism, blame, or hostility that may exist between you and their grandparent.

In this book, you will gain greater awareness of how and why your parent's self-absorbed behaviors and attitudes get worse, and develop strategies to manage the negative feelings that can arise as a result. You'll also learn to reduce the shame and guilt that may be felt when you feel like you don't want to be a caretaker.  Finally, you'll learn to set limits with your parent so you can stay sane during this difficult time.

Having an aging parent can be stressful enough, but dealing with an aging narcissistic or self-absorbed parent is especially challenging. This essential guide will help you through.


  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 1 edition (September 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626252041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626252042
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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  1. Terrific. I’m starting to read others on the topic, and this one is very helpful in a practical way. If we do not cut off ties with this person, how do we stop from going even crazier than they have made us? This book gives direct advice and actual exercises for handling the person, and handling the emotions that are sent reeling from the interaction. The guilt feelings from this type of detachment hits me hard, so I wish that were addressed more, but it is in book “will I ever be good enough”, daughters of narcissists. Good for men too no doubt. Between two books I feel forearmed for interaction, since my aging parent needs more help and I gotta take the high road and not just change my phone number…sigh

  2. I’ve read many books on this topic and this is by a wide margin the best. Instead of getting mired in the aged parent’s point-of-view (which you probably know all too well) it gives practical advice about how to peacefully and simply psychologically separate. Too many books on this subject suggest techniques, exercises or strategies which would only work with rational sane parents and which in the case of narcissistic parents would only draw you further into their personal hell. This book is practical and honest. A great resource!

  3. This book is very helpful to help me realize the severity of my parent’s self absorbed personality disorder. I appreciate the encouragement of how to defuse my own self-absorbed tendencies that I learned from my parent. I also appreciate the recommended coping techniques suggested, though many times I think more concrete examples would have been WAY MORE helpful, as some of the suggestions are too general and vague.

  4. I like to think I’m relatively astute when it comes to cluster B disorders, having had BPD girlfriends and more than our fair share of NPD in my family. All not professionally diagnosed, of course, so my wisdom could just be an illusion.

    The reason I mention this is, while little of what Brown wrote came as a surprise, it helped to see it in print, particularly the “what not to do section”. I had already figured out these behaviors were suboptimal, but seeing them listed, and recognizing that I do all of them, makes it much easier to avoid them in the future. Sometimes you need to have things spelled out for you.

    Similarly for “Walking on Eggshells”. I already knew most of it, but it was reassuring to see it described by someone else. The knowledge is solidified upon hearing it from a third party.

    I think Brown matured and developed since “Children of the Self Absorbed”. It is a solid book.

    I only gave this book four stars because I would have liked to see more case studies. It’s easier to understand the behaviors in the concrete than in the abstract.

  5. In her new book Children of the Aging Self-Absorbed: A Guide to Coping with Difficult, Narcissistic Parents and Grand Parents, Dr. Nina Brown guides the reader in the process of reflecting on the impact of their parent’s behavior on their present relationship. In order to facilitate this process she presents a series of exercises that are easy to complete. I have enjoyed the reading of the book and reflected on how I could have used some of these exercises with clients. I am sure practitioners will find it useful with their clients.
    Cesar D. Vazquez, PhD., NCC
    Retired Full Professor
    Department of Graduate Studies
    School of Education
    Univerisity of Puerto Rico

  6. My elderly self-absorbed parent consumed so much of my life that I didn’t find the time to read this until after she was gone. I don’ t know for sure if the reading would have helped me during her lifetime, but I do know it helped me with closure after she was gone. This is a very insightful and compelling book on an important and common issue. I recommend it either way.

  7. I am sad to say I needed to read this book and I hope the parent will never find out my amazon review….but it was so helpful and informative. I suppose any and all of us who are lucky enough to have parents that are aging. ( I realize so many have lost their parents, and I am happy I can try to resolve these things for myself while they are still alive!) …. This book helped me figure out the painful patterns, and it validated what I had been feeling since I was in kindergarten but never knew the words! Only the feelings….I have put a few of the suggestions in practice and the past few weeks I have truly felt lighter and more aware, more able to have a relationship more on MY terms.

  8. Nina Brown’s book, Children of the Aging Self-Absorbed, is a timely addition to the self-help bookshelf. As we baby boomer grow older (I’m 68) the expectation of being at the center of the world continues for many of us; we lead lives the way we wanted. As we age and experience the natural perils of aging we continue to see ourselves as entitled and to expect our children to be on-call as we want them. Children who love us feel caught in the middle and try to balance the demands of the elder with that of their family and work.
    I found Brown’s book a great therapeutic help for adult children experiencing these multigenerational difficulties. It’s good for the children and good for counselors to use. Baby boomers could benefit from her insights, if they allow themselves.
    Michael S. Davis LPCC
    Adjunct Professor, IRSC

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