Here are some signs of toxic parents:
- They may not respect their child’s boundaries.
- They often compare their child with others.
- They don’t take accountability for their words and actions.
- They are overly critical of their child, their choices, and also of the people in the child's life and their choices.
- They ignore their child’s needs and emotions.
- They may try to compete with their child.
- They are manipulative and controlling.
- They are highly reactive.
They could also end up wanting to live vicariously through their child, making sure that their child achieves the hopes and dreams which they had set for themselves.
Such parents can be self-centred and lack empathy for their children.
They can be abusive in more than one way. There are various kinds of abuse, such as physical, verbal, emotional, technological, financial, etc.
Spending time with them can leave you feeling stressed out or drained because they may make you feel frustrated, guilty, disrespected, confused, or like you constantly have to be extremely careful of what you say.
Toxic parents have a dysfunctional style of parenting. This type of parenting could have a lasting and negative impact on the health and development of children in various ways, such as:
- having a distorted sense of self
- having low self-worth and self-confidence
- being prone to anxiety disorders
- having an impact on future relationships
- engaging in self-gaslighting behaviours
- being prone to depressive disorders
- struggling with substance abuse disorders
- having poor emotional quotient
- struggling with poor emotional regulation
How To Deal with Toxic Parents:
1. Maintain boundaries
Setting and maintaining boundaries is important to protect yourself from being poorly treated and hurt.
2. Share limited information with them
Keep conversations short and share only limited and relevant information that they need to know.
3. Be assertive
They may not even want to understand your point of view during your interactions with them so it's best to be firm and assertive about your wants and needs, don't try to over explain or reason your way out of it, reserve your resources.
4. Make no attempts to fix or change them
This may be difficult to accept but it's important that you do, that you can't change another person, not even your parents.
5. Focus on self-care
Once you have accepted the fact that you can't control what they say/ do, or change them, it's time for you to focus your time and energy on caring for yourself.
If you anticipate that things may not go smoothly, be prepared with an exit strategy so you're able to remove yourself from the situation and maintain your peace.
Any human being on this planet, including you, can be toxic. It's all about unlearning old and unhealthy patterns of thought and behaviour and learning new and healthy ones.