There will be people who will do anything to support you and help you become a better person. But where it’s good, there will also be bad. You will also come across people who will only try to bring you down and tear your self-esteem apart. These people are toxic. 

Toxic Parents – Signs, Effects, & How To Deal With Them

There will be people who will do anything to support you and help you become a better person. But where it’s good, there will also be bad. You will also come across people who will only try to bring you down and tear your self-esteem apart. These people are toxic. What’s even heartbreaking is that the person who is trying to bring you down is your own parent. Hence making them toxic parents.

Toxic parents
Children feel like a puppet with toxic parents. Their life is not their own and they are not allowed to do as they like.

What is toxic parenting?

Parenting decisions that cause fear, guilt, isolation, mental trauma, and obligation in the children are categorized under the umbrella of toxic parenting. Although toxic parenting is not a medical term or diagnosed mental behavior, it can cause serious damage in children.

When a parent is only focused on themselves or does not consider the needs and feelings of their children. It is a toxic behavior. Honestly, parents are also human. And kids can really make a person go crazy. But the only thing that differentiates between a normal and a toxic parent is the response.

A normal parent would strive to get better for the best of their children. However, a toxic parent is busy putting the guilt on their own child. Making themselves the victim. A toxic parent is only focused on punishing the child to make them feel sorry and guilty. While a good parent would focus on result-based punishments that make the child learn something rather than resentment.

What are the signs of toxic parents?

When you have toxic people around you, the best option is to eliminate them from your life. But when your parents become toxic, restricting them from your life seems unrealistic and impossible.

Some people, think of toxic parenting as the normal parenting business. But here’s how you can set the toxic behavior apart from the normal:

1. Lack of empathy

They only care about themselves. If your parent doesn’t care about what you need or what you are going through, and only focuses on “What about me” then your parent is toxic.

Parents are nurturing. They are supposed to be caring, attentive, and responsible. But, when the person forgets about the impact and consequences their behavior might have on others and only focus on themselves, it becomes toxic.

2. Very Critical

Toxic parents cannot stand seeing their children succeed. They become supercritical and criticize literally everything they can to break their child’s self-esteem and bring down their confidence. They even tend to compare their own successes with their kids, implying that they are better than their kids.

Not so surprisingly, toxic parents behave the same with others. They cannot accept others being happy and successful in their life. So, they bring others down too. Keeping the praise to only themselves.

3. Always blaming everyone else

They can never be in the wrong. Toxic parents believe that that the disruption they caused was never their fault. Rather it was a valid reaction to what others might have done. This sign is also related to the core problem of being self-involved.

Such parents will always find a way to twist things and blame it on the rest of the family, circumstances, or even nature. But they will never take responsibility for their doings.

4. Zero boundaries

A toxic parent doesn’t care about boundaries. They would invade your privacy without any consideration. They have no problem controlling your life even if you disagree. Some parents would even try to be critical and controlling with adult children.

Their agenda is to keep doing it until their child gives in naturally. This counts as an extremely toxic parenting behavior.

5. Severely controlling

Trying to control everything around them is a pure toxic parent trait. They try to take everything under their control and turn things in their own favor. Toxic parents would try to make your decisions by themselves and put up unrealistic demands.

A toxic person would always try to overdo to make themselves achieve an upper hand. Hence leading to over-parenting and very controlling behavior.

6. Highly negative

They cannot control their emotional outbursts. And most of the time, these emotional outbursts are highly negative. They tend to be extremely dramatic and fuss out of the tiniest things. Sometimes, they can even get extremely abusive verbally and emotionally.

For them, all they need is an opportunity to become angry, abusive, and destructive. They would intentionally bully, name-call, gaslight, or silent treat their own child.

7. Manipulative

Guilt and shame are the main tools, a toxic parent would use to take control over the situation or their child. They intentionally play with their child’s emotions to get them to do what they really want.

Some toxic parents would even hold money, relationships, and time to be used as pawns in their manipulation game. It gives them satisfaction and not a grain of guilt.

If your parent has been behaving a certain way and you notice patterns, then they are a toxic parent. Having bad days is normal for everyone. The toxic parenting case gets serious when this becomes an everlasting drama of blaming, self-victimizing, emotional outbursts, and trying to control everything around them.

How toxic parents impact their children’s lives?

A toxic parent can make their child’s life miserable and suffocating. Their interfering, controlling, abusive, and manipulative behavior makes it even difficult for their kids to part ways.

Toxic parents master the ability to make their kids question themselves and never feeling good enough. The children are always living in fear, guilt, self-doubt, and feeling obligated. The children are always confused as they can never figure out what they are doing wrong.

Constant toxic behavior can really mess with the child’s mental health. Children at an early age can even developmental issues that may last a very long time like anxiety, depression, stress, and ADHD.

Researchers often believe that parents with toxic parents become toxic parents themselves. Children learn everything about social life from their parents. Which in turn can result in mimicking the same behavior as their parents when they become parents.

Check if you have been a toxic parent or raised by a toxic parent

These are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you have been raised by a toxic parent or you are being a toxic parent to your kids. Do you or your parent:

  • Tend to overreact in several situations
  • Constantly use blackmail to make their way “the way”
  • Making frequent and unreasonable demands
  • Only focus on “my way or the highway rule”
  • Comparing the child to criticize and belittle
  • Not interested in listening to the child
  • Are always playing the blame game
  • Avoid taking responsibility for their own mistake
  • Feel envious of their own kids
  • Manipulate and use guilt to always play the victim
  • Disregard your boundaries
  • Trying to control their child’s life without consent
  • Gets abusive emotionally, mentally, or physically

Types of Toxic Parents

types of toxic parents

How to deal with toxic parents

When the family becomes toxic, it can leave a significant impact. It can leave the individual with shattered self-esteem, lack of self-worth, trust issues, and lack of empathy in themselves.

Once you realize you have been dealing with toxicity, you can begin to take control of your life and your choices for good. It is going to be hard because the toxic parents can’t take rejection, especially from their kids. Things might go in a different direction altogether. But you are the person who should matter the most.

Remaining in a toxic environment is not going to make things easy for you. And you will handover the power to control your life to your parents until to decide to break the loop and come out of the toxicity. Here’s how you will deal with toxic parents:

1. Set solid boundaries

Boundaries can help you set some limits and expectations for your parents. Although, it’s fairly difficult enforcing new boundaries around family. But boundaries are necessary to create an emotional and physical barrier between you and your parents so that you can heal.

Some might think that 100 cut-offs are the way to go. While it’s best in an extremely abusive environment, but it doesn’t support the healing process properly. Therefore, limit your contact with your parents and stick with it.

2. Learn to face the anger

It’s very common for toxic parents to keep the expression of anger to themselves. They do not allow their kids to showcase any form of anger on them. Because of this, the children begin to see anger as something destroying and frightening. And they may contain it to the level that it begins to affect their mental and physical health.

Know that anger isn’t bad. It’s just a sign showing that things need to be altered or changed. It becomes extremely important for the children of toxic parents to learn how to deal with anger healthily without internalizing it.

3. You are not responsible for their emotional breakdown and toxic actions

No matter how much your toxic parents blame you for their actions and breakdowns. But know that it’s all they do and they will never take responsibility for their own actions. All the harm and stress they caused are their responsibility and not yours.

For your own betterment, you have to let go of the responsibility for everything your parents made you feel bad or guilty about. Know that you are not responsible for how they ignored and mistreated you. Or the difficulties your parents have in their life are not because of you. All the shaming, criticizing, name-calling, and teasing is their fault.

4. Hating your parents isn’t the solution

If you want to heal yourself, you have to understand that hatred is only going to make your heart shallow. The right way to rise from toxicity is to take a deep dive into your childhood memories and learn how they might have shaped you.

It may get overwhelming, but try to express your emotions by writing down what you would like to change or the things you think you should work on to be a better person. Remember, that you don’t have to do it alone. You can always ask for help from mental health professionals.

5. Stop trying to please your parents

It’s very common for kids to seek their parent’s approval. But in your case, your parents are almost impossible to please. Plus, it’s your life. You can take your own decisions. Trying to please your parents is only going to keep you in the loop of toxicity.

It’s not healthy to continue to seek validation from people who probably will never be happy for you. Therefore, take the power into your hands and focus on your self-worth, successes, and becoming an amazing person.

6. Rethink what you share with your parents

We all love to share our secrets with our family. Because we know that they have our trust and best interest. However, with toxic parents, it would be best to avoid sharing your secrets. Because they will use your secrets against you anytime they get a chance.

Parents who gossip and make fun of their children are not the best people to be trusted with secrets anyway. Therefore, share only what you can afford or feel comfortable with.

7. Don’t try to reason

Reasoning with toxic parents is like running into a wildfire. Understand that your parents are probably unreasonable, irrational, intoxicated, and highly immature. You cannot expect your toxic parents to understand and agree with your viewpoint.

It’s best to stay away from arguments or power struggles. Yes, it can be very discouraging and frustrating at times. But it’s best to disengage and understand the reality that no matter how right you are, you shouldn’t expect your parents to fall in line with you.

8. Detach your parents

When things begin to get out of hand. Know that detaching from your parents is the best you can do for your own betterment. Detaching doesn’t have to be physical. It can also be emotional. You can separate your emotions from your parents.

Once you take away the power to hurt you, then nobody can really have an impact on you. When the circumstances get abusive, it’s best to get physically detached as well. There’s no point in being captive and ruining the one life you have!

9. Take care of yourself

Relationships are close to our hearts. Especially our parents, because they are the very first relationship we have. When it gets toxic, it can take a heavy toll on our minds and heart. It might feel like there’s literally nothing to life – and that’s your cue to be extra careful about your health.

Focus on self-care and try to avoid all the behaviors that your parents have enforced in you. Start with the basics like exercise, eating healthy food, getting good rest, engaging with positive people, and acknowledging your true feelings.

10. Forgive and move on

The experience you have had with your parents is not easy to forget. You reading this article is enough proof that you are aware and conscious of the toxicity and aiming to break the loop of toxicity.

If you are honestly invested in getting yourself out of toxic relationships, then the biggest towards this is forgiveness. Resentment and anger have never helped anyone become a better person. You have to let go of the hatred and start a new and person with a clear heart.

Take Away

Breaking the toxic cycle is extremely important for a healthy life ahead. With a toxic relationship, a person can never become their true self. With continuous criticism, shaming, and insulting there is no chance you can discover your potential.

Some people have no clue that they are dealing with toxic relationships. For them, toxic relationships become the definition of true relationships. Especially when parents become toxic, they have the ability to destroy a young soul in the worst ways possible. Therefore, it’s important than ever to break the cycle of toxicity and find your way out of it.

There are also some amazing books that may help you to understand your parent’s toxic behavior in detail. I would definitely suggest you the books;

  1. Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life and
  2. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents. 

Please read these books as they have been a great help for children to break the loop of toxicity and build their life on strong grounds. 

The books suggested are not sponsored or paid advertisements and I honestly love both of these books on toxic parenting. The link given to these is an affiliate link. IT means that if you choose to buy these books through these links then we may earn a small commission. 

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