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The Damaging Effect of Toxic Parents

We often hear about toxic relationships in terms of romantic partners, but these are not the only types of toxic relationships that exist. We have toxic work colleagues/environments, toxic friendships and toxic parents.

A toxic parent is potentially the most damaging of all of these, for the simple fact that they are likely to have shaped your confidence and self-esteem, or most likely, lack thereof. They will have given you a very skewed idea of what love, acceptance and a healthy relationship is meant to look and feel like and let’s face it, when you were a child, you simply could not escape them.

Even when you got older, their toxicity probably followed you everywhere, as they used emotional blackmail, fear, or even money to keep you under their control. And even if you did escape, society probably pushed you to stay in touch even if you didn’t really want to.

Some people will have undoubtedly walked away from a toxic parent, but this can then affect relationships with siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents etc and even if they managed to negotiate all of this, the time, energy and effort spent to start undoing all of the damage and start unlearning all of the beliefs and emotions they grew up with is no small task.

If you had or have a toxic parent it is very likely that every relationship you have had since has been affected by them. Whether you are settling for less than you deserve because it’s all you think you deserve, or picking toxic or abusive partners unconsciously to try and essentially change the outcome (in other words change what happened with a parent), or if you shy away from relationships because of the damage they caused, then these people have had a hugely negative affect on you and your whole life.

They will likely never acknowledge what they have done, or will have some lame excuse or reason as to why it wasn’t their fault, or my favourite, they will push responsibility back onto you.

Things such as:-

  • Well my mum/dad did the same to me

  • I only did it because I love you

  • Well you’re an adult now so it’s your responsibility to get over it or deal with it (we know this is true, as adults it is our responsibility to deal with our ‘stuff’ but that doesn’t suddenly excuse or wipe out their responsibility for their role in this)

  • Well I didn’t really want children so…

  • You were such a difficult baby and I did my best (true, there will be some who genuinely did do their best, but blaming a baby for being difficult isn’t really the mark of a caring parent)

  • At least I didn’t hit you like my mum/dad did me

All of these things show they have taken no responsibility for how they behaved and it is likely that you will have seen this pattern of blaming everything and everyone else in their lives as you grew up.

This is just a gentle reminder, that just because they are family, it doesn’t mean you have to have any kind of relationship with them. You need to treat toxic parents or other family members the same as you would a toxic friend or partner, and that is to end the relationship and walk away because they will never change.

Coaching women to be bold, brave, beautiful and uniquely themselves

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