Children with toxic parents share one feeling in common. Which is –
“Gosh, I wish I could choose my parents.”
Family is our ultimate resort for peace, happiness, and shelter. But if you are cursed with toxic parents, then hell feels like a better place.
It is easier to get out of a toxic relationship or divorce a spouse who has only harmed you. But, when your parents cause your suffering, it becomes hard to deal with.
Yes, parents are sometimes flawed; they might disappoint from time to time. But some of them are toxic at their core. And it is difficult to deal with these parents, but not impossible. How? You have to read this article to find out more about them.
Who are toxic parents?
Parampara, pratishta, Anushashan
I think most of us remember the Awasthis from Taare Jamin Par or Narayan Shankar from Mohabbatein. Alright, you don’t need to take a Bollywood tour. You must remember Monica’s parents from Friends or Matilda, right?
If you can recall any of these movies, you at least know what toxic parents act like. I have already told you about strict parents. But toxic parents take it one step further. Their behaviors leave their children feeling the emotions of guilt, fear, or obligation.
No, these behaviors are not isolated and once-in-a-while kinda thing. They carry on a toxic behavior until your ears feel numb and you feel empty from the inside out. Toxic parents shape their children’s life in a negative mold.
No, they don’t just yell at your mistakes; they make it sound like you should regret every step of your action. It is normal for people to lose their cool and do things wrong. As long as they have the intention to make things right, we cannot completely mark them as toxic. This is where toxic parents stand apart.
Toxic parents would put their own feelings and needs before their children. They hardly have the impulse to make things right or make their children feel comfortable. These people hardly acknowledge their own mistakes, let alone try to correct them. With time they become progressively damaging and abusive. Most of these parents usually suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder, and the effects of their parenting persist with their children even through their adulthood. Well, it just doesn’t end here, there are types of toxic parents as well.
Types Of Toxic Parents
As well know, the first think with toxic parents is that they try to have complete control of their child, and on every aspect of it. And they are quite the expert in making others believe that whatever they are doing, it is for the best of their child, but the case is just the opposite. And there are various types of toxicity a parent can show, there are types of toxic parents. Let’s identify those.
1. The Godlike Types
These type of parents are the ones who will suffocate their child to the point that they will forget how to live their life on their own. They create such an ambiance that promotes the idea that the child is weak and poor and cannot survive on their own, while the parents are the supportive and strong ones, who is taking it upon them to teach them how to survive in this world.
2. The Inadequate Types
These type of toxic parents are very much self-involved. They forget that their child is there, who needs their help. This type of parts only focus on their own life. As a result, the child grows up even before the are supposed to. This makes a child less confident, and do not develop the sense of self-worth.
3. The Controllers
These are the type of parents who want to live through their child’s life. Even in their adulthood, these parents try to control them, and this makes the child develop a fearful and anxious personality. The child finds it difficult to get mature. The parents often take the help of shame and guilt as leverage.
4. The Verbal Abuser Type
These type of parents insult their children intentionally to hurt their feelings. They are sarcastic and cynical. Generally, perfectionists and competitive parents show these kinds of traits as they as never satisfied with their children. This affects the confidence of the child, they end up believing that they are good for nothing.
5. The Physical Abusers
Well, this generally happens when the parents are exhauses, or under stress and anxiety. Their own lack of happiness and control of impulses is the cause behind it. Or it might happen that they grew up behind physically abused and that is the only way of parenting they know.
6. The Sexual Abusers
Well, I don’t think there is anything left for me to explain here. This is the ultimate type of toxicity or betrayal that a parent can show. This will destroy their childhood, their innocence and would leave them scarred in a way that might not even heal throughout their entire life. The trauma will keep them from having any kind of healthy relationship, be it emotional or sexual.
7. The Alcoholic Type
This is everything combined. Everything I mentioned above comes in a package with an alcoholic parent. This destroys the relationship between a parent and a child, and the child becomes the scapegoat for everything bad about the parent and this makes them believe that relationship and love only lead to betrayal and toxicity.
Signs of Toxic Parents
Their ego is the worst vermin sticking to their skin. These parents will ruin their relationship with their kids but won’t apologize or admit their mistakes. Here are some signs to spot a toxic parent.
1. Toxic Parents Only Care About Themselves
“Toxic Parents care more about how you make them look than how they make you feel.”
Toxic parents only think about one thing – “what about ME?” they put their needs before yours and are narcissistic. They are also often uncaring. Their world doesn’t revolve around their children; it revolves around them.
2. They Don’t Bend; They Only Break.
“A child that’s being abused by its parents doesn’t stop loving its parents; it stops loving itself” –Sahida Arabi
You cannot live under the same roof and have a different opinions. Opposing the opinions of a toxic parent is similar to opposing the British Crown in India under British rule. You know the consequences.
3. They Can’t Take Anything Lightly
“All parents think they are horrible parents… Except horrible parents.”
A simple test can leave blisters on a toxic parent’s carefully polished ego. They don’t do well with humor ( forget about criticism). Toxic parents get offended easily. They cannot stand seeing their opinions, values, or actions being opposed. I don’t want to ponder their reactions (which would cost me a thousand more words).
4. They Are A Ticking Time Bomb
“I should have been given an award for keeping my mouth shut when there is so much that needed to be said”
These parents are easily provoked and are emotionally unstable. This is one of many toxic parents traits you cannot overlook. Because their emotional outburst might remind you of 9/11, the drama, horror, aggression, and hostile mentality cannot get any less devastating comparison.
5. They Hold The Threads Of Your Emotions
“As your kids they may forget what you said, but won’t forget how you made them feel.”
You should remember the silent treatment and the guilt tool they use to manipulate your emotions, don’t you? These people can play the victim card and twist the truth on their behalf.
6. They Are Authoritarian Parents
“Toxic parents kill more dream than anybody else”
Toxic parents often use fear as a tool to gain compliance. Their unreasonable demand sometimes follows their children till their adulthood.
7. They Like To Play The Blame Game
“Stop making your child the victim of your anger”
They cause the fire at home but hold others responsible when the house burns. Toxic parents would blame everyone but themselves for the hostile situation, turmoil, and tension at home.
This Is How Toxic Parents Affect Their Children
Parents with toxic behaviors affect their children’s mental and physical states. Sometimes the effect might expand till their adulthood.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Prolonged Childhood Stress affect children’s brain development. It also hurts both their mental and physical health. Kids with a better controlling and narcissistic parent usually have a higher level of depression.
- They become stressed and depressed.
- These children lack emotional regulation skills.
- Some of them usually have PTSD going forward in life.
How To Deal With Toxic Parents? Choice That You Have
Yes, dealing with parents who are so full of themselves and toxic is hard. But there are ways out, and you can get out. Children growing up with such parents find it hard to make decisions. This is the first barrier you have to break. Here are some ways that might help –
1. You Don’t Need To Please Them… Not Anymore
Don’t wait for your parent’s approval. Toxic parents are hard to please; and you have tried all your life. But, now It is time to drop it. Stop trying to please your parents, who would only ignore your efforts. It is your life, and you have every right to take the helm. Make productive and positive choices that make you feel good.
2. Draw Lines: Setting Boundaries With Toxic Parents
Create both an emotional and physical boundary between your parents and yourself. Yes, toxic and controlling parents will try to break the limits and let themselves in. if this is the first time you are choosing to set boundaries, then it will be difficult. Once you stop trying to please them, it will be easier to set a boundary.
3. You Don’t Have To Try To Change Them
You have explained it to them and spent all of your energy, and what did you get in return? – frustration. It is time to filter out things that you can control and change – like your behaviors and choices. It is also time to start responding to their behaviors.
4. Share With Them… Mindfully
It is common for children to share their personal situations and problems with their parents. But, with toxic parents, the barrier of trust is already broken. If you are an adult, try sharing mindfully because toxic parents enjoy gossiping about their children and sharing their personal information with others.
5. Know Their Limitations
If you have grown up with them, you know their dark sides. You know all about their drinking habits, aggression, forgetfulness, and actions of gaslighting. It means that you know their limits. This should help you work around their limits and avoid what might hurt you.
When you know your parents’ toxicity, you should limit your expectations according to their limits. Because it hurts less that way, leave them out of your birthday party if you feel like they might ruin it.
6. Keep An Exit Strategy Ready
Learn to spot the red flag. When you see things are deteriorating, you should be ready for an exit. Toxic parents only escalate their toxic behaviors. So, if you spot a sign of trouble, be ready for an exit.
7. They Can’t Be Reasoned With, So Don’t Bother
Every human being has a limited reserve of energy – even you. So, don’t waste all of your energy trying to reason with immature, irrational, and toxic parents. Trying to have a healthy and mature relationship with close-minded parents is impossible. They won’t accept your apology or your explanations. So, don’t try. Yes, it is not a healthy parent-child relationship; and they will try to drag you into an argument or power struggle. But don’t give in to it. You are beyond that.
8. You Have No Obligations To Make Them Look Good
You are setting boundaries, readying an exit, and even avoiding arguments. Yes, this makes them look bad in front of others and themselves. But there is no need to turn back out of pity. There is no limit to their demands. So, if it is too much for you, you should be ready to move on. You have no obligation to be their therapist, helping hand, maid, or whatever out of pity. You don’t need to make them look good.
9. You Don’t Owe Them Anything
It was their responsibility to take care of you and raise you. Toxic parents may sometimes raise arguments saying you owe them a lot. But the truth is, you don’t. In fact, they owe you a happy childhood, a positive environment that educates, nourishes, develops, and empowers you to become a healthy-minded adult.
10. Finally, Take Care
You are a human being who deserves to be cared for and loved. But don’t let a toxic parent-child be the end of your happiness. Go out, eat healthily, and meet new and positive people who might take a liking to you. You must build up healthy habits, exercise, sleep, and stay positive. I know it is a lot, but you can try. But, if the problem is more complicated, try contacting professional therapists for help.
Indeed the majority of parents deserve a place of respect, love, and dignity. But, unfortunately, parenthood is a saint’s job in the world we live in. “And the saints we see are all made of gold.” If you look it up, there are support networks and professionals around to help you. We all know how important a good family relationship is – I hope that things work out on your end.
However, if you have additional questions, you can comment below. We will be quick to answer them.
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