Q&A With Whitney Goodman: Growing Up In Chaos

March 25th, 2024

Whitney Goodman, LMFT answers your questions about growing up in chaos.

1. What do you say to (a narcissistic) someone (parent) who refuses to discuss a situation that they caused and just wants to sweep it under the rug and go back to how things used to be?

2. I grew up in a household where I was made to feel responsible for managing my parents' emotions. What is the most effective way to set boundaries with them now? Is it better to clearly state the boundary or to put it in place and maintain it without explanation? I know there are both verbal and nonverbal ways to set boundaries, and I am not sure which is most appropriate for emotionally immature people. 

3. My husband and I both see the dysfunction in each other's families. But I am the only one taking steps to healing, unlearning, and breaking cycles. He doesn't seem to think he needs to. He had so much trauma in his childhood, especially physical abuse from his mother, and he said he prayed about it; she apologized and was done. I see how it affects him into adulthood in many behaviors, including his mom still being enmeshed with him and him bending over backward to impress her, cater to her, etc. he doesn't seem to think for himself in many areas. What can I do to get him to understand the impact of trauma on your body, psyche, etc, and how it doesn't just go away? What scripts do you suggest to start explaining to him why it's important or what I am doing to heal?