How to Have a Relationship With Toxic Parents

toxic parents

Do you find yourself having to deal with one or both toxic parents in your life? They seem to make everything for you and themselves hard.

You wish there was another way, a way to break free from them but you can’t and that is what makes your relationship so much more unbearable.

You feel that you are powerless and only dream about escaping their grasp.

When we see others that have healthy relationships with their parents you ask yourself how is this possible? feelings of envy set in, and you start to fantasize about what life could be like if things were different if they were different…

One of the most significant relationships we can have in our lifetime is the one with our parents.

Unfortunately, we can’t control what family we at born into and who our family members are.  

Our greatest strength and power will always lie in how we react and the thoughts we tell ourselves when dealing with toxic family members.

What makes them toxic parents?

It is important to understand that the main purpose of this article post is not to shun anyone or to purposely ridicule anyone.

This article is to help us understand others and our relationship with them so that we may have hope of finding peace within ourselves and the relationship.

‘’TOXIC’’ seems to be the current mainstream word for anyone negative, self-fish, or emotionally unhealthy.

This label has caught on and is more so used to label anyone that we dislike. Nitpicking their negative traits to highlight them as being ‘’TOXIC’’.

Even if you look for a clear and precise definition you wouldn’t be able to find one.

For this article, we are defining toxic parents as those who (one or more could apply):

They neglected your emotional needs (love, nurturing, support) or physical needs (shelter, food, clothing).

Use emotional manipulation or force to get what they want.

Are emotionally, mentally, and or physically abusive (towards you or other family members within the household).

You never felt safe to be yourself or to express your needs with them. 

They flipped roles and relied on you to be their parent and to take care of them.

These are just some personality traits of a toxic parent.

If you never felt safe enough to be, say, and or behave who you truly are around your parents, chances are you have an unhealthy relationship with them that could be due to their toxic personality or behaviors.

You might question that you have a shy personality, and it is hard for you to open up to anyone even your parents.

Relationships between parents and children start very early before you could even walk and talk. We learn and experience our first social skills through our interactions with our parents.

It is believed that children develop shyness because of the interactions with their parents or lack of.

With toxic parents it’s never about you?

How are you? How are you doing, do you need anything?…

If you have dealt with toxic parents growing up or are still riding the waves of an unhealthy relationship with them then you were probably hardly ever asked questions like these periodically.

The first step toward rebuilding the relationship with your parent first starts with the relationship you have with yourself.

I know it is easy to revert this focus of self-love to blaming them because they did not see through to their responsibilities with you as a parent.

Most likely they also never experienced this kind of care to be able to provide you with it. This is not an excuse, but more so you can understand where to place your expectations.

You might still think it’s not fair that you have to pick up their slack or excuse them once again for being an unfit parent.

Let me open up your perspective on some things.

Happy people don’t go around hurting others. PERIOD.

You might think that they are getting away with all kinds of things they did to you… They in fact are not.

All you have to do is take a good look and observe.

You sow the things of what and who you are…

Happy people do things that produce more happiness for themselves, and angry or hurtful people produce the same of who and what they are as well …

It is not your job to make them happy or fix them, but it is your job to make YOU happy and to fix things that make YOU unhappy.

Life is like a card game; you can ONLY pay the hand you are dealt with. Sometimes even with a bad hand, if you play your cards right you can still be victorious.

Stop looking at them as toxic parents

What you focus on you will see more of.

If you see them as the enemy, then how they act will always make them out as an enemy to you.

If you tell yourself they are toxic, horrible, or angry people then they will always become these things.

Sometimes our negative thoughts can manifest more negativity in our lives.

When you start to get angry when thinking about them, the best thing to do is to take a deep breath. Refocus your energy back on yourself, because you are a priority and so are your emotional health and wellbeing.

It doesn’t always have to be about them, it can be about you and your happiness if you want it to be.

You can’t control how they act or behave but you can most certainly control your reactions and emotions towards them.

Are you aware that sometimes hurt people get a kick out of getting a reaction from others? It’s because they are not used to receiving positive attention and so many times, they feel that any attention is good attention, even negative attention.

It’s all in the history, look at the timeline…

toxic parents
credit:freepix

Do you ever wonder why your parents are the way they are?

You have probably asked yourself ‘’why does anyone want to live this way or be like this all the time…?’’.

As mentioned before, if you look into your parent’s history most of the time, they might have experienced the same treatment or worst. This is why they can rationalize and normalize acting in ways that might hurt you.

If your grandparents treat you well and you can’t find a cause, try and ask your parents to tell you some stories. Everyone gives and receives love differently. You will know this to be true if you have heard about love languages.

Yes, they might have had a roof over their head and food on the table, but were they heard or supported for who they were or wanted to be?

Let’s get this clear, this step is only to help you better understand your parents. To soften up the hardness within your relationship by utilizing compassion. 

By no means are you responsible for their hurt or their past.

It’s time to reevaluate our expectations

We all dream of the perfect, loving, and supportive parents that we see in movies, but our reality is different.

And that’s okay. It’s okay because it’s not our fault and it’s not something we can control.

You don’t have to be sad or feel like a victim.

Especially if you are an adult. As an adult, you have authority over your own life, you set the rules.

You are no longer a prisoner. Choose to be happy, choose to live a happy life. The past is over.

If you are still considered a minor living under your parents, then you will have to interact with them every day but remember nothing last forever.

You can find solace in supportive friends or mentors that can help you fill in missing gaps.

If they provided you with resources like food, clothes, and shelter then they are still due the respect for doing those things.

You don’t have to pretend like they are loving and nurturing parents when they are not, but they are still owed some respect in that aspect.

There will be a time when the ball will be in your court and when that time comes, you have the authority in your own life to set the tone of your relationship with them and to live in a way that brings you happiness.

My culture makes me honor my parents even if they are abusive

Ahh… yes. This topic.

I too, come from a strict cultural background where no matter how ugly or bad your parents treat you, basically you still have to show obedience and honor their wishes.  

This is ‘’filial piety’’.

I love culture and tradition. I really do, but it also has to make sense with my own reasoning.

We have to look at the facts here.

How many generations were absolutely miserable because they lived the life their parents forced them to?

 A life of obedience to their parents, but they died never experiencing a moment of happiness for themselves.

Do you think this is what people had in mind when they came up with the concept of filial piety?

Culture and tradition are best preserved where it enhances and brings meaning to our lives.

Over time everything changes as new thoughts and ideas become more prevalent.

We should keep traditions, but we should also update new ideas where old ones don’t seem to fit as much.

Summary of ideas

We cannot control the hand we are dealt with in life, but we sure can choose how we play that hand. Choose to play your cards right and you can still win…

Look at your family history to find answers about your parents.

Could it be that their childhood wasn’t that great as well?

Your negative thoughts of them, help manifest their future negative behaviors toward you.

Yet, look at things from a calm and compassionate viewpoint.

You are not responsible for their pain or unhappiness. However, you ARE 100% responsible for YOU and YOUR happiness.

Where they can’t provide love to you, provide it yourself!

You are not a victim. You are a seasoned veteran of life that has become stronger and wiser through all the pain.  

Choose happiness by choosing decisions made by your authentic self.

Author: Anna Rose

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