All parents commit a few errors while raising a child, which is totally fine since nothing will fit everyone’s expectations and be perfect. In any case, mistakes cannot be overlooked every time, particularly when rehashing oppressive conduct towards children.
What is a toxic parent?
A toxic parent represents a self-centered behavior parent that is usually narcissistic, emotionally unavailable, or perhaps uncaring when it comes to things that children need. Usually, toxic parents are overly critical about everything their child does and often fail to provide emotional, physical, and psychological care.
Toxic parents may instigate a set of mental and emotional habits. As time passes, these habits cement themselves in your personality and become your defining characteristic. As you grow, they become an inseparable part of you. This characteristic decides whether your emotional reaction to a certain situation will be positive or negative. Parents show abusive behavior towards their children, and such consistent abuse may negatively impact their minds.
Parents assure that they will give their children the affection and care they need, and simultaneously they don’t even treat them the right way. Such parents are called toxic parents. Pretty much every toxic parent says they love their kids. However, love includes more than just communicating sentiments. Their love rarely translates into the feeling of comfort, encouragement, respect, and gentle behavior.
Toxic parents are cold to their children in the name of affection, and that is how they cause substantial emotional harm to their children. Lost childhood, sadness, nervousness, sentiments of shame, and low self-esteem in the child are a few visible effects in a child because of toxic parenting. Furthermore, the awful thing about it is that this conduct generally repeats and causes damage repeatedly.
Toxic parents say
- Children should respect the elders regardless of the situation.
- There are only two ways to accomplish work – my way or the incorrect way.
- Children cannot talk; they can see.
- Only terrible children get angry with their parents.
- Children can’t lead their own life.
- They ought to need their parents constantly.
- Family is above everything, even their life.
Effects of toxic parents
Toxic parents do not allow their children to make their own decisions, invade children’s privacy, overly critical, and create effects of sadness in family, dramatic scenes, unpleasant moments.
If the kids fail to comply with their beliefs, they are punished, and they are certainly loved a little less. Children comply with these unarguably unfair beliefs to avoid getting punished without a little regard for themselves or the position it might put them in. Since one can’t control their parents or behave, it is important to know how to deal with toxic parents and how one can cope in such a situation?
Is there any approach to dealing with that psychological trauma you may be going through since your childhood days and don’t have the courage to stand up to your parents for yourself?
Before you find yourself doing something to resolve your issues, you need to be sure whether or not you have been a victim of toxic parenting.
Signs of a toxic relationship with parents
Signs of toxic parents are:
- Parent’s feelings always came before yours.
- Parents controlled you using guilt.
- Parents didn’t recognize your boundaries.
- The parent demanded your attention.
- Parents didn’t talk to you.
- Parents competed with you.
- Parents took away their love.
- Parents were overly critical.
Your parents make all your significant decisions for you with no regard for your preference or choice. They have the final say in all the matters, and you have to do whatever they say. Like at many points in your life, they will make your decisions, they will choose the career you will pursue, even the subjects you will study. They don’t care about your interests. They decide what you wear, where to work, and whom to marry. All your life decisions, from small to big, are theirs’ to make.
Being over-involved in your child’s life is toxic; a person should have the privilege to pick your career, life partner, and your life choices. Even if they chose wrong, they learn from their mistakes. If you constantly find yourself under pressure to perform well and do things according to your parent’s wishes, and they keep on putting the burden of their wishes on your shoulder without caring about your mental health. Then you might have toxic parents.
Do you feel a surge of intense emotions while spending time with your parents, or does it feel like another burden, and you feel the need to cut yourself off from any family gathering to avoid getting drained of any energy you have left? Or do you constantly find yourself avoiding them to avoid the burden of their never-ending wish-list?
Parents tend to get emotional when they spend time with their children, but if it always happens and you never had any happy moments around them, there may be some issues. If your parents are toxic, they will always keep you under some emotional pressure. They will remind you of the favors they have done, the amount of debt left to pay off, and your responsibilities that are to be finished. Parents are not supposed to make you feel miserable, they won’t unload their emotional distress on you, and the time you spend with your parents is supposed to be enjoyable and memorable.
Are you afraid to disagree with your parents? Or feel answerable for how they feel about your choices?
If you don’t feel obligated to make a certain choice under your parents’ pressure, then you are fine. Parents should be supportive of their child’s choices and be content with them.
If you figure your folks won’t get irritated by your choices, at that point, your folks are not toxic. They are content with your choices, and that is the thing that non-toxic parents do. While making a certain decision, if you find yourself worrying about how your parents will feel about your choice, you might have a toxic relationship with your parents. Toxic relationships train you to always take permission before deciding because your parents decide what is good for you and what is not.
Whatever you choose to do, it will never be enough.
People often seek validation for their achievements from their parents. Many people overdo themselves to impress their parents, but unfortunately, they always look for better achievement.
If you find yourself consistently thinking of ways to impress your parents and your hard work goes unappreciated, then you might be in a toxic relationship.
Children do their best in their examinations and score well, but parents ask them to do better in all other subjects and classes. This cycle never ends, the kids score more and more, and parents keep asking them to score higher and higher, and their effort goes unappreciated. Toxic parents don’t celebrate their kid’s success, and when he gets a good job with great pay, they want even more or compare their achievement with others.
This unhealthy competitive behavior that parents inculcate in their children becomes the reason for unwanted stress, depression and sometimes leads them to commit suicide. Toxic parents always want something more for their children. For every achievement, they want something more.
A toxic relationship of any kind is never good for anybody. So, it would help if you found ways to deal with it.
How to deal with toxic parents
To deal with toxic parents, you need to:
- Please make your own decisions: It is normal for a child to take permission from their parents, but somewhere a line needs to be drawn. It is your life, and you have all the right to make your decisions for yourself and do things as per your whims. Your decisions should not be based on someone else’s values and goals. It would help if you had control over your own life decisions, and when someone else makes your decisions for you, it will make you unhappy at some point in your life. If you don’t make your own decisions, you will be forever stuck in the cycle of seeking validation from parents who will not give you any of it.
- Setting limits: Setting limits is crucial because it tells people how to treat and accept acceptable behavior. Setting limits between your parents and yourself will restrict their control over you; toxic parents don’t want to lose control over you so that setting boundaries can be hard. You can start by telling them how you want to be treated. You can decide on how much time you want to spend with them and in what way. You can limit your contact with them; it’s okay to have no contact with them; you don’t owe them anything. Relationships are based on respect, and if your parents don’t treat you properly you are not obligated to respect them either.
- Don’t try to change them: Your attempts to change anyone will make you frustrated, and you will be wasting your energy unnecessarily on them. It better to look at things in your control and focus on yourself.
- Be mindful of what you share with them: Every relationship is based on trust, and it’s not wise to share stuff with people you don’t trust, even if they are your parents. They may share your things without asking for your permission. They may even criticize you and use your words against you. There is no compulsion to share every detail of your personal life. You can share things according to your comfort level.
- Don’t engage yourself in arguments: Arguing with irrational, toxic, and emotionally immature will bear no good fruits for you or anyone. Toxic parents will never get your point of view as it is of little importance to them. It can be frustrating and sad to have a healthy relationship with someone who isn’t ready to accept your perspective. Avoiding arguments that may end up badly for you is the key to avoid unhealthy behavior.
- Take care of yourself: Dealing with toxic parents can be upsetting and stressful. It can have an impact on your physical and mental well-being. You can reach out to positive people, eat healthy food, or get enough sleep. Try to enjoy yourself as much as you can. When you are not physically and mentally well, you might end up making things worse for yourself.
Being in a toxic relationship with your parents is a terrifying feeling. Your parents will naturally oppose any changes that you wish to make. Setting definite boundaries certainly feels liberating. It liberates you from toxic expectations and energy.
No one but you can change your relationship with your parents, and you can begin today!
It’s up to you what little advances you would take towards making a positive change in your life?