24 thoughts on “Bad Babies: Of Dr. Dobson, Narcissists and their Demanding, Disappointing Infants

  • January 22, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    In some (not all) of the Christian churches I’ve attended over the years, Dobson is held up as THE pinnacle of child-reading wisdom. Barf. He is one of the many, many reasons I no longer attend church. It’s a minor reason, but a reason nonetheless.
    The Jesus that we meet in the Bible? I’m a big fan. Some of his followers and the garbage they espouse? No thanks.

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    • January 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      What happened to the Jesus that fought narcs (pharisees/hypocrites) and told them the truth about themselves? Seems like He’s been expunged from Scripture and replaced by a smarmy, couldn’t-say-boo-to-a-goose Jesus. I’m so sick of it too!

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  • January 23, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Dobson and Gothard both gave my narcissist dad the extra affirmation he needed to abuse his children.

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  • January 23, 2018 at 10:39 am

    I really enjoy reading your articles because they help me to realise that it is actually ok to be angry with my parents for what they did to me. As somebody who was taught never to be angry with them, I find this very therapeutic!

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    • January 23, 2018 at 11:53 am

      I’m so glad! Remember, in Ephesians the Bible tells fathers not to drive their children to wrath. Another translation of that verse is to not make it difficult for children to obey the commandment to honor their parents. Nowhere does it say, “You can’t be angry.” Jesus got jolly mad – and if it was okay for Him, it’s okay for us!

      Happy healing!

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  • January 23, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Wow. Yes. I was the focus of a parent reading Dobson’s books. My parents also had me go with them to a “Christian” therapist around age 12, because of my anger and defiance. All I recall was her viciously telling me the therapist said they should hit me more. Your writing is validating. Just wow. This is a thing. Dobson books. Wow.

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  • January 23, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    My mother refused to purchase the photos the hospital photographer took of my baby brother because she thought he was such an ugly baby. There are no baby photos of him until he was one year old because he was better looking then. I’m not kidding!

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    • January 23, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      WOW! What a — no, no. Must watch my language. 😉

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  • January 23, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    These are literally the exact same words my mother used to describe me as an infant. I was shocked, because even as a teenager who was raised with a relatively isolated upbringing because of my parents’ overprotection, control to make me seem more perfect to others and extreme introverted tendencies, I still immediately recognized that that is an absolutely insane thing to call a human baby.
    Visiting with them now, I am seeing the need more than ever to redefine my identity outside of their lens.
    Thanks for putting into such clear words, that I and my sister are not alone. It is hard for us to remember sometimes.

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  • January 24, 2018 at 12:16 am

    I had never heard of this guy–although being raised Catholic comes with its own set of ‘issues’. I can’t imagine anyone thinking this creep would be giving credible advice on parenting helpless infants! Bragging about beating a little dog with a belt! I’m sorry he was never arrested and thrown in jail– but I do hope he’s correct about the afterlife. He should receive a warm welcome where he’s going.

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  • January 24, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    You’re a better person than I. I can’t even attempt to say that man’s name aloud, even with a snarl!
    Hmmmm, not only is that demon an advocate of every avenue of child abuse, he also is an animal abuser!
    Evil incarnate, totally.

    I will touch on a part of your post that made me “whoop whoop” with joy (and personal pride in myself as a mother).
    I’m so grateful I am not narcissistic… Your description of not having a floppy newborn neck brought me back to twenty-six years ago. My own daughter only a day old was not having any of that wobbly head business! Nope. Every sound, every passer-by was met with the successful attempt to see and discover! It amazed and thrilled me to observe her not wanting to waste a second to learn what was commanding her visual attention.
    She would look at me with an expression of “I have no idea who or what that is but this is AMAZING MOM!”
    When she’d lift that sweet little head of hers to look around I’d follow her gaze and tell her what she was seeing, spell the word of her thing/person which caught her focus.
    My wonderful mother even fashioned a “book holder” to the back of the chair I favored rocking my baby in so she could see the pictures and words and I’d read to my baby like that.
    She was aware, interested, and just wanted to learn everything!
    What can be more cuddly than an infant who’s eager to get to the business of seeing and learning from the start?

    I would have reveled in your new babyness with a strong neck! Oh how precious you likely were!!!

    And now I’ve gotta put my phone down and hug my little dog! No she doesn’t have a bed of her own, unless you consider my bed… yeah, I get a four foot wide space on my queen sized bed! My 12lb fur baby owns the rest and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Thank you for letting me prattle on. I couldn’t help it. Babies and animals own my soul!

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  • January 25, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! My parents are insecure, bullying control freaks who have been adamantly opposed to me living my life and having an identity. They read a couple of Dobson’s books, and I had always assumed that if they hadn’t read the books it would have been worse. Now I know the truth, the quote about the dog was very eye opening! Attempting to break a child’s will is the exact opposite of what parents should be doing! I’ve said to myself in the past that my parents didn’t raise me, they psychologically stunted me. I’m going to read a couple of Dobson’s books, it might be very useful in helping me understand what happened to me as a child so I can move on and finally start to have a satisfying life. I’m also going to read more about narcissism, since that’s probably what my parents are but I didn’t know that until I read this article. My parents are abominable; yours are even worse.

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  • January 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Oh, I read a couple more of your articles. I should have said your parents are A LOT worse than mine!

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  • January 25, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Dear Lenora and Friends, it’s people like these (Gothard, the Pearls, Dobson….) who evidently are drawing lots of people AWAY from Christ. All the while, promoting themselves and their sickoid books (none of which i read, nor intend to). And i’ll bet cha they’re not at all worried about their electric bill – or tires.

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  • January 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Wow. I’d never heard of this guy before, but he sounds like the Anti-Dr. Benjamin Spock. If I may paraphrase, “beat them, hate them, and never give them a moments peace.”

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  • February 15, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Reminds me of my former Christian in-laws who zoned in on their free-spirited daughter as the one who could “go either way.” So, obviously, they pounded the “right road” b.s into her head relentlessly. The poor thing was worn down by her narcissistic parents to such an extreme degree that the girl is rarely seen without smiling from ear to ear as if she’s about to go insane. It’s very sad 🙁

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    • February 15, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      You mean the smile I’m always wearing? 😛

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  • February 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I should have added, to my former comment, the parents were both devoted Dobson fans.

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  • March 5, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Holy cow. The part about the spatula on your backside, and the quote about being a hazardous thing to romance, have BOTH LITERALLY BEEN MY EXACT LIFE. It’s only recently in my late 30s that I have come to recognize this as Childhood Emotional Neglect and narcissism and bad parenting. It’s still so hard to break free sometimes. Thank you for your article. I wish I could say that I found it to have a cheeky tone or something but really the disaster of my self-esteem from childhood and the bad directions that it sent my life just make me grit my teeth and feel nauseous as I read it. Thanks anyway though. Here’s to better parenting.

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  • March 9, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Thank you for your post! I was labeled a “strong willed child” too. I believe that is a Dobson term. I remember my childhood as a time of people pleasing and hoping my parents would accept me. The funny thing about the Dobson method of child rearing is that it was NOT child friendly. Every child is sacred and a gift. To treat them as social experiments is wretched. I remember being filled with awe and wonder as I brought my 1st baby home from the hospital. He had melty brown eyes and was perfect in every way. Sure he cried a lot and was colicky, but he taught me a valuable lesson on true love. He is 23. And still has melty brown eyes. He is strong willed. His wills to make the world a better place. He is kind and thoughtful. He looks for the best in others and passes over people’s flaws. My parents tried to label him using Dobson pseudo-christian nonsense, but it didn’t stick. Lenora, you are an awesome and a wonderfully descriptive writer. I enjoy your STRONG WILLED and reason filled explanations of the damage that can be done by narcissism. I love my parents and believe they thought they were doing their best, but to this day they are very self-centered and self involved. I actually feel sorry for them because they missed out on me and their grandkids because they were too busy doing churchy things..wink!

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  • November 1, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    so, im expecting to be lambasted for my admission but its fine, because i get it. too late now, but i get it. and im really truly sorry…
    i was that parent who believed in Dr Dobson. i did. implicitly. i TRUSTED his *wisdom* and *insight* and just didnt understand how much damage following his parenting advice was doing to my kids, our family, and myself as well. i’d been raised Fundy, during teen years rebelled against all the restrictions and partied really hard, got into trouble, a lot of regret. then later as a young adult having rejoined the church, Evangelical this time (bad cop good cop i see now), and was determined to save my own kids from the misery i’d gone thru during my wayward years. not realizing until much much later how much of that misery actually directly stemmed from a Fundy childhood, compounded by a lot of out of control acting out as a teen. i just thought it was me, having been a bad girl.
    so in parenthood i truly wanted only good for my boys and just couldnt see how damaging it all was. i recognize now, i was in many ways an awful parent. the harder i tried, the more my own kids acted out, the more they did, the more i doubled down on Dr Dobson, which like Lenora said was my bible for parenting. God, we even called it that! oh if only i could go back and undo everything and start all over… but i didnt know and couldnt see and now that i do, it feels like having been immersed in a cult.
    anyway on behalf of the many non-narc parents who in utter sincerity made the same mistakes & trusted in the same lies… i just wanted to tell you all that i am very, extremely sorry for the damage we made to our wonderful, beautiful children. we werent all narcissists, many of us were sincere and loved our kids like life but also purely deluded believing the Tough Love b**s. we would give anything to be able to go back and start over and we will live the rest of our lives in regret.
    and if some of you here need to yell at me now, its ok, i understand. too late, but i really do
    i wish for you all peace & freedom from the disasters of your upbringing, so that you can go on to be far better parents than your own parents were

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    • November 2, 2018 at 12:11 am

      There’s nothing quite as charming as humility. Your comment was very healing. Thank you!

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  • November 2, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    thank you for your kind words of forgiveness, they are also healing. your blog is very enlightening – i hear truth and know it takes great courage to write much of what you have shared. i will keep reading. i wish many blessings to you and remission for your mate’s lung condition – peace & healing to you both and to all your readers

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  • January 12, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    WSell, guess it’s all male-bashing – Especially Dr. Dobson! – women here? I do know the Marxist Ms. Huff defies us boys to be our natural masculine design, yet how can we accept women who demand they are better men than we are?

    OK, off my soap box on lady domination.

    My great folks practically generated Dear Dr. Dobson. They’re some years older – “were older – both gone on, Dad in 1984, Mother in 2008” – and they were raised devout Believers in the Friends church and Nazarene, then when I and my younger brother and first sis were about 4 and 3 and infant, moved to ultra-fundamental Free Methodist. That entire time of my 19+ years of my nativity hinged on my ancestors’ denomination-based Bible picking spiritual heart, emotion, mental and transcendent education by osmosis and sore ass cheeks coercion. Fun?

    Or, funny, now?

    Neither.

    At my youthful 73, now, and just last night deciding, after a horrible fight with the dearest, nicest lady I’ve ever shared spouse-like companionship with, whose own ancestor-based nativity education formed her formidable narcissist emotional train track life pathway, combining my Dr. Dobson-esque absolute right authority with hers is the most awesome gift from anyone that I’ve ever had. Yes, I made certain, even last night, that this is iron-encased fact. . . .

    So, FINALLY, I’ve demanded, screaming with her, that we would end our war in peace, hoping so much it hurts, that her demanding I agree with her even after I have hundreds of times calmly, quietly said “Let’s STOP this Blind dogged demand to force acceptance and be civil.”

    Last night, after I gave up, it seemed reasonable to me that my contribution to our discord was the only thing I possess where I can make change, I opened some narcissist web pages and continued my searching for how to end the battles. One YouTube Family Counselor, a man with 40+ years dealing with entrenched warring spouses made it so clear, and so pain-filled crying is mandatory. Damn right, this hurts . . .

    So . . . here I am. Wanting to understand about who I am. Raising my own 4 their mom and I faithfully followed Dr. Dobson. Our divorce, she sent me notice via her preacher boss she was personal attache’ for, was “Dr. Dobson’s ‘Tough Love.’ ” You know something? The Hell with “Tough Love”!! It’s a sham!

    But, not being tough “**IN** Love.

    My dear lady now cannot be tough in love with anyone. Same as mother, her entire nativity and first spousal experience set her railroad track down the narcissist’ pathway. You know, DAMN! I so crave to love her out of her bondage . . .

    UGH! I cannot salvage so-tarnished a wonderful, dear heart.

    This damned narcissist bondage that gripped me as father and husband destroyed those I hold dearest, most precious. That’s ME – understand??

    So, who – where? How?

    Some responders here allude to knowing the jesus of the catholic, and catholic-sister protestant religious orders. Me, too. I am so eternally grateful my precious ancestors drilled and grilled into my pea-brained head that this jesus guy has the only, singularly Right Way for ME to be humbled and changed into that dear spouse-respecting husband I so crave to be. But, how!

    I assumed that this dear, strong lady possessed powers I would find forcing me to gain that masculinity of gentle jesus-like respect and honest humility that you dear ladies declare you desire in your husband. I was placing far more trust in her than in the jesus of catholic religious dogma. BTW, the actual name, or more correct, Title, given by His mom to the birth recorders, is a Hebrew term meaning “He Who Saves His Own.” In our English, there is no corresponding pronunciation, however one I use that helps me differentiate Him from all the imposters is “Y’suah.” The ‘ kinda mirrors a common Hebrew speaker forming a silent vowel, similar to the letter pronouncing of my surname, beginning with “Arm.” Instead of a voice sound for “A,” it can easily be written “Rm.” Smiley!

    Back to the asinine narcissistic nature. Y’suah(Oh – The other Hebrew pronouncings – The s sounds like the s in sugar; the final h more like ck-ish.) communications with detractors and followers, alike, emphasizes full dependence upon that all-knowing entity He provides everyone who diligently seeks His Way – One I refer to as my “Knower,” who, as I trust by asking, “Open the Bible with my hands and open my heart to see any deception and evil to first make me right, and then instruct me how my way is right for caring and respecting others.” Yeah, after these few years’ trips around “Ol’ Sol” I’ve actually experienced this fact!!!:-)) so now, FINALLY! I returned to it for delivering me dear lady and me out of this bondage!!

    UGH! I wanna stay so much!

    Can’t.

    Take heart. Take Care. Take heed, be that one individual you are designed and purposed by Creator to be – ASAP!

    Thank you, Lenora,

    ClaudeA

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