Parents are the one who plant mental and emotional seeds in you and these seeds grow slowly as you do. In some families, these are the seeds of love, respect and independence, whereas in some cases it is not the same. There may be many people who delight in tearing you apart and causing you pain and it can be very disheartening when this toxic person happens to be your parents or co-parents, who are meant to hold you, love you and take care of you. Many parents act abusively towards their children and such behaviour becomes consistent and dominant in a child’s life. The hurt and the pain that comes from a toxic parent probably isn’t something we talk enough about it and it lead to many problems with toxic parents. No one is perfect in this world, including our parents, but there is a point when imperfect becomes destructive, which takes away all the love, warmth and nurturing that a child deserves, and replacing it with something awful.
What is a toxic parent?
If we talk about “toxic parents”, it isn’t a medical term or a define concept and that’s why everyone will define the term differently, mainly due to complexity of the relationship involved and they perceived it individually.
Parents are also human beings and can makes mistakes in upbringing. They can yell at their kids, punish their kids or do potentially damaging things to their kids but their main motive is to make their kids a better person and to do better things for them.
Whereas a toxic parent, is very much concerned with their own needs, there is a clear line when too many mistakes is made, especially repeating abusive behaviour which leads to toxic home environment and does severe emotional damages to an innocent young child. Parents who mistreat their child are called toxic parents, it can be toxic father or toxic mother or both parents and there are many ways to heal from the affect of toxic parents which you will be reading in this article.
Signs of Toxic Parents:
The following are the toxic parents sign:
Blame casting: Blame is often a game for good reason. Toxic parents often look to scapegoat when they feel guilty. Instead of accepting their own mistake. The transfer the blame on their kids as impact on their self-worth is not something the ego handles well.
Competitive parents: Parents who always thinks that they are right are suffering from a competitive mind-set that’s constantly questioning their own self-worth. Instead of encouraging achievements, they undermine or ignore. They act as in constant competition with their children in fear of being perceived as lacking.
Disbeliefs and unwritten rules: The rules in toxic families are based on a bizarre and distorted perception of reality, which put the children in a place where they can be easily abused.
Some of the examples of toxic beliefs are:
a) Children should respect their parents at every situation no matter what.
b) There is no other way of doing things except my way.
c) Children cannot be heard.
d) Children cannot be mad at their parents.
Some of the examples of unspoken toxic family rules are:
a) Don’t be more successful than your father
b) Don’t be happier than your parents.
c) You have no right to lead your own life.
d) You should never stop needing us.
Some of the Characteristics of toxics parents:
Toxic parent is a wider term for parents who display some or all of the following characteristics:
Manipulative Behaviour: Toxic parent may try to control you by using guilt or shame to play with your emotions. They may also hold time, money, or other items as pawns in their manipulation game.
Lack of boundaries: There is lack of boundaries, generally toxic parent tries to push and push to get their way and work done. When you will get tired from their tactics, you will simply give in to ideas or situations out of frustration.
Self-Centered Behaviour: Toxic parent are mostly self centered and they may be emotionally unavailable or perhaps don’t care when it comes to things that you need.
Physical and verbal abuse: Abuse in any form not necessary hitting, yelling, threats, or something is the depravity that holds widespread, deeply seated emotional issues at its core, resulting in an equally expansive and disturbing string of consequences for an abused child.
Controlling Behaviour: Many toxic parents may try to invade your privacy or may try not to allow you to make your own decisions or will try to control you decision in some or the other way.
Effects of Toxic Parents: Parents no matter how they are have a significant impact on their children’s feelings of self-worth, perception of and trust in others, and in overall general world view. Basically, it can be called as foundation for how you see and interact with the people, places, and things around you.
However, a toxic relationship with a parent greatly influences all other relationships in one’s life, even the one with yourself. The most common examples are:
1. By entering constantly in abusive relationships, possessing the toxic attachment style (avoidant or anxious)
2. Developing a belief that people will always hurt you.
3. You always try to expect something worst from the others
4. You really don’t know who you are, what you feel.
5. You are afraid to share your feelings with others.
6. You get angry or sad for no reason may be due to an emotional flashback.
7. You have a hard time even in good situation.
8. You feel like behaving like your parents even though when actually you are not.
Healing from a Toxic Parent:
Here are some ways you can try to move forward:
Build yourself up: It’s very much important to take some time and think about all your childhood experiences and how they shaped you. Toxic environments are toxic to the brain. The human brain is incredibly adaptive, and in response to a toxic environment it will shut down so as to protect itself as much as it can from the toxicity.
You are allowed to make mistakes: You have always that you’re not enough and you’re not perfect or maybe you’re not smart but the actual truth is that you are so enough. Open yourself up to the possibility of different things, you really don’t need to depend on anyone and making mistakes doesn’t make you a loser.
Love yourself: Whatever happens don’t forget to love yourself and owning your right to love and respect from the people you allow close to you. We all treat people with love with kindness, generosity and respect if we want the same back but if those conditions aren’t met, you’re allowed to close the door.
Don’t punish yourself: Please don’t be harsh on yourself as it’s not your fault. Own where you are and think about it while giving yourself full permission to be there. Give yourself a little time and accept that for now, this is where you’re at.
Write a list: Try to write down all the beliefs that hold you back. Even the ones that stop you from doing what you want to do. Think about all the things like parents are always right? That you’re unlovable? Unimportant? Stupid? Annoying? Incapable? Worthless? Think about all these things again and try to change your perspective, believe in yourself.
Breaking free from a toxic parent is hard, but it doesn’t mean that is impossible. With the strong motivation and deliberate decision to move forward, there are endless lessons which you can take and learn from it. Be brave enough to support yourself, unexpected turns that will lead you to a happier, fuller life.
Happiness, that’s what you’ve always deserved. Be open to all the possibilities and one day you will reach your destination. No matter what will happen, make sure to give yourself some time alone to think about.
And if in any stage you feel you have slipped into toxic patters, just know that changing can take time but it’s not you cannot change. The important thing is that you are committed to change and that you recognize the need to change for your own mental health. You’re not alone in this journey, one day you will get there just believe in yourself.