10 Ways to Deal with Toxic Parents

It’s easy to distance yourself when you’re dealing with toxic people, but what if those toxic people are your parents? It’s hard getting any kind of break when you see them every day. Boundaries almost don’t even exist, because it’s the word “family” that ties you together, even though the word feels foreign as it rolls limply off your tongue as you say it. You may not have had a choice being born and brought up by the people you call your mom and dad, but you do have a choice in how you choose to react towards them. Psych2Go shares with you 10 ways to deal with toxic parents:

1. Become self-sufficient and independent.

If you still live with your parents, figure out how to establish financial independence and work towards that goal. These things take time, and it certainly won’t happen overnight, but learn to budget your money and find a job that you are good at that will help to sustain you when you are eventually on your own. If you have parents who don’t respect the boundaries that you set, they will use money as a weapon to keep you under their control because they still provide for you.

Recognize and understand that trick. Learn to take care of yourself and be self-sufficient. Work towards the goal of moving out, because once you’re out, there’s not much they can do to keep you wrapped under their control. Physical space can do wonders. With freedom comes more responsibility, but with freedom, a new life can also begin.

2. Know that you are your own person.

Although you may share a few similar personality traits, habits, or quirks with your parents, know that you are still very much your own person and not 100% the people who have raised you. If you recognize that your parents are being toxic, understand that you don’t have to follow those same behavioral patterns. Instead, you can break out of them and remember how not to be the source of hurt you’ve been exposed to. It’s great to have role models we can look up to in life, but learning what not to become can influence us even greater to grow into better people.

3. Create space for your own emotions.

Just because your parents may not respect your boundaries, it doesn’t mean you can’t create a safe space for your emotions. Even though you may come from a household that didn’t foster and nurture the habit of talking things out, doesn’t mean your emotions have to be locked away forever. In fact, that will only hurt you more in the long run by denying an essential aspect of who you are. If your parents don’t see your emotions as valid, let them out elsewhere. You can do this by journaling or blogging. Just because your parents failed you in this sense, doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to continue denying what you feel.

4. Find support elsewhere.

If your parents are the last people you want to talk to when you run into problems, rely on others instead who you can trust and lean on in times of trouble. You can seek help from your friends, a teacher, counselor, or co-worker. When you face stress and difficulties, your body releases the chemical oxytocin that prepares you to reach out to others, so that you don’t have to go through hardships alone. Build a support system you can depend on and create a list of contacts you can call when you find yourself at a breaking point. Just because your parents aren’t the most approachable people, doesn’t mean there aren’t any others you can talk to in this world.

5. Set your expectations low for your conversations.

Understandings seem impossible to reach and it feels like you and you parents are constantly operating on two different pages. As much as you want to have deep, meaningful or light-hearted, fun conversations, it seems like neither can be achieved when everything gets discolored through toxic words. I just want to let you know that your thoughts are valid and important. Remember that you can still be the bigger person anyway by doing your best to keep in touch with your parents, but know that you might not necessarily get the connection you want from them.

6. Use conversation diversion tactics.

If you feel as though your parents are dominating the conversation by asking you uncomfortable questions, making jabbing comments that put you down, or giving you unwanted advice on how they want you to do something, you can steer the direction of the conversation away from a potential argument by standing your ground and changing the topic. For instance, if one of your parents say, “You should find a better apartment,” instead of picking a fight, you can say, “Thanks for letting me know what you think, but I’m happy with where I am,” and then change the topic by asking them what they are up to for the day. This can help you gain some control when you’re feeling attacked.

7. Recognize the traits that make you easy prey.

If your parents choose to often lash out on you, ask yourself what makes you such an easy prey? Is it your fear of speaking up for yourself that may cause conflict or the fact that you have difficulty saying no and soften up from their suffering? Learn to stand your ground firmly and that it doesn’t make you any less of a person when you establish that you are also deserving of respect.

8. Don’t fall into the trap of intermittent reinforcement.

Research shows that people are generally optimistic. Therefore, a close loss may look like a close win for us. When challenges are thrown our way, we get through them by staying motivated by the one thing we desire most. We are also more likely to hold on when we are given what we want every once in a while.

This is called intermittent reinforcement, and it works in human relationships, too. If your toxic parent decides to be nice to you again, you might be optimistic and think, Wow, things are finally turning around. But the reality is that it’s only a perpetual cycle that lures you into thinking it’s different when the pattern is still very much there and nothing has changed.

I’ve fallen into this trap many times myself. And it was especially hard for me to admit that it was happening, because my friends all see me as this overly optimistic person. How can I not be when it’s the only way out of misery? But it was only recently that I finally dropped it. Not optimism itself, but my expectations. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know if things will eventually necessarily get any better. But, I’m not going to stand here anymore and think that the few occasional good days I have will ever be enough. Instead, I’m going to strive and look for consistency elsewhere.

9. Expect anger, but don’t give in to it.

The thing about anger is that it is often used as a weapon to remain in control. When you try to set boundaries and carve space for yourself, your toxic parents will start seeing it as a threat and will use anger to pull you back where you so desperately tried getting away from in the first place. Don’t ever expect the anger to go away when you try to establish healthy boundaries, but don’t let it leave you feeling paralyzed. The truth is that you can still do things. It just won’t create the kind of reactions you hoped for from your parents, that’s all. Do it anyway. Just because your parents are angry with your choice to grow, doesn’t mean you should let it hold you back.

10. Do not normalize abusive behavior.

We all say and do things we don’t mean when we’re upset. But, letting that be an excuse all the time to justify the toxic behaviors your parents exhibit means accepting the poor treatment you are given. And that should be never be done. That should never be okay. Remember that you are more than all of it. Every night you never thought you’d get through —every hurtful argument —every moment you blinked back tears when you felt mistreated or misunderstood —you are more than these bad memories. Have the guts to look ahead anyway. Your upbringing doesn’t determine who you can become.

How do you deal with toxic parents? Leave a comment down below!

 

References:

Chen, C. (2015, February 25). What to Do When the Toxic People in Your Life Are (Unfortunately) Your Parents. The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Streep, P. (2016, December 14). 8 Strategies for Dealing With the Toxic People in Your Life. Psychology Today. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Thorpe, J. (2015, September 18). 7 Tips For Dealing With Toxic Parents. Bustle. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

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  1. The topic of toxic parenting is a very sensitive issue, however this article dealt with the subject with a lot of care and consideration, and all of these points were developed well with a strong understanding of what it is like to grow up with toxic parents. Although in number two, I think it is also important to consider those who have already begun to spot behavioural patterns e.g. trouble containing anger, and perhaps some tips on dealing with this may be useful to those affected, for example seeking guidance from a professional, taking a few seconds to check yourself. Aside from that, there were a few grammatical errors:
    -The sentence in the intro paragraph reading from ‘it’s hard getting any kind of break’ to ‘as you say it’ is a little convoluted to follow and it would make smoother reading to break the sentence down into smaller sentences.
    -in number 1, ‘help to sustain you when you will eventually be on your own’ would read smoother as ‘help to sustain you when you are eventually on your own.’ Also, ‘parents who don’t respect your boundaries when you try to make them’ would also read smoother as ‘parents who don’t respect the boundaries that you set.’ There should also be no comma between ‘control’ and ‘because’.
    – In number 3, there should be ‘it’ between ‘boundaries’ and ‘doesn’t’ .
    -In number 4, the opening sentence would run better as ‘If your parents are the last people you want to talk to when you run into problems, instead rely on others.’
    -Finally, in number 9, within the sentence beginning with ‘the truth is’, you have accidentally repeated ‘is’.
    Ultimately I enjoyed this article and I found it to be engaging and also helpful to me on a personal level too 🙂

    1. Hi Rosie, thanks so much for reading. =) Those are some great catches! I fixed the grammatical errors, thank you for your help! I’m glad you were also able to find it to be of some help. I definitely strive to make difficult topics like this approachable. Sometimes, it’s challenging, but I don’t want that to hold me back from trying anyway. Everyone has their own battles, and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do like providing advice and helpful tips based on the careful research I conduct as well as what has worked for me in my own past experiences. Thank you again for all of your help! I hope you have a great day!

  2. Total disdain. I always make sure that I set the terms of conflict and fight in my own terrain.

    1. Hi Mastermind, thanks so much for reading. It sounds like you’re choosing to fight and stick it out during tough times with the fight-or-flight response. It’s very admirable and I only wish you well despite the hardships you are going through. I hope things will turn around soon for you, really and truly. You are incredibly brave, just remember that on the bad days.

    2. I am a 20 year old girl from India. I am a med student. Me and my mother have this very weird kind of relationship. She kind of never try to understand me. Its always like i explain everything i want but she rather just ignore me as such . I have been good in academics all my life but i don’t remember a day where she has like appreciated me over it. It gets me so bad. I am a brown girl and i have been like taunted by my family and relatives all my life even till now. Even my mother she sometimes say something bad about my complexion when she is kinda angry with me. My face is not good so i will not get married. I don’t understand how to cope up to this whole blunder

  3. Thiswas very helpful to me ! I’ve always struggled in dealing with my father and this is very sound and well-thought out advice. I’ve managed to move out on my own ,but conversations with my father often go south quickly,so the conversational tactics helped a lot! Someday I hope to have a father that doesn’t gaslight me at every opportunity, a father that listens to and respects me, but the way he is now doesn’t give much hope to that dream. The saddest part of my relationship with him is that he WASN’T always terrible to me. Before my mom died, he was a good dad to me. After she died, he changed his behaviour toward me. But only towards me, and not my siblings. Now that I’ve moved out and my sister is in college, he’s taking out his anger on my brother ( who is autistic and still living at home). Fortunately my dad’s not physically violent ,but his verbal abuse is just as vicious. At the moment a huge reason I refuse to visit home ( despite wanting to see my brother) is because my father adamantly refuses to let me move my brother in with me . I’m doing everything I can to legally gain custody of my brother ,and I’m afraid it will not only shatter the tenuous relationship I have with my father,but it will also ruin the relationship I have with other family members that are on my father’s side. Regardless ,I HAVE to do what’s best for my brother . It’s hard sometimes to remember that I’m not the bad person in my situation,but this really helped.

    1. I’m so sorry the relationship took a turn for the worse. I’m the youngest and have a toxic relationship with my mother; just the thought of being the only one left terrifies me. You are so brave to keep moving forward and taking custody of your brother is the right thing, even if it sours other relationships.

      1. Hi Manon, thanks so much for reading. I’m so sorry to hear that you have a toxic relationship with your mother. Being the youngest is hard, because they are often left with the baggage of family problems and can’t escape them faster than older siblings can when they can gain financial independence more readily. I applaud you for being brave and being able to put up with your toxic parent. I’m the oldest in my family, but I think regardless of what birth order you fall into, toxicity in family matters is just downright brutal and difficult to work through. It’s also hard when we also choose to still love our toxic parents. And when they still choose to love us back. It makes it so incredibly painful, because they don’t always project it in a healthy manner. If there’s any content you wish to see more of to help you cope with your difficulties, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m always willing to help readers like you as much as possible. I wish you well, really and truly. You are incredibly brave.

    2. Hi Aubrey, thanks so much for reading. It’s readers like you who make the work that I do meaningful. I love being able to help others every chance I get when they go through struggles like this. In regards to your family situation, I just want to say that I am sorry to hear that your father has decided to gaslight and take his anger out on you and now your brother as well. I’m also sorry that your mother passed away. It’s extremely noble and incredibly brave of you that despite everything you have been through, you are still willing to try to make things right. I’m glad the communication tactics will come in handy for you. It’s so easy to just walk away from toxic people, but when they’re your family and people you have to deal with on a habitual basis, it makes things hard, so the best way to cope is to protect ourselves as much as possible. Communication is one of the things to look out for, monitor, steer, and control when we don’t want to trigger or instigate certain reactions from the other person. I wish you well, really and truly. Your brother is an incredibly lucky person for having a sister like you watch out for him like that. If possible, please let us know what other content you would like to see that can help you as much as possible. I’m always willing to help and research effective ways that can assist readers like you. Thank you for being brave and for sharing your story with us. You’re an inspiration and I hope things turn around for you, really and truly.

  4. Suddenly the pieces fit together. I never could reconcile the fact that I seemingly had the perfect childhood, well taken care of… why did things go downhill when I started to really taste freedom and yearn to be independent from my 20s? Why was I turning into a perpetual liar, why was I choosing to excuse myself from having meals with them?

    I was always hesitant to talk to both my parents, because I tried once and was sneered in public . It scarred me deeply and I never knew what to do excepf to build up my independence quick, and set up my own support group. I love them, but I need to be away from their toxic ways. To heal, I was finding that SPACE. Your article resonates with me so deeply, and it makes sense why I was reacting that way, and I should stop blaming myself.

    1. Hi Dee, thanks so much for reading. I’m glad that you were able to take away something valuable from this article. The thing about having toxic parents is that there’s just so much manipulation and dismissal of allowing yourself to be who you are. When you aren’t allowed to be your true self, whether that means you want to talk about something that is bothering you or the fact that you aren’t allowed to be emotional, it can be deeply scarring. You start to blame yourself. I’ve been through the same thing. It’s especially awful when you love your parents, too, because it’s like holding onto that last strand of hope each time, believing that one day, things will turn around and get better. I really hope you’re in a better place now. Just know that you aren’t at fault and I think it’s great that you found your own support system. I hope you have a great day! =) You’re strong just having been able to survive that; that’s inspiring!

  5. Thank you for this essay. I also have a narcistic mother and after many years of emotional abuse, I have found a way to deal with her without cutting the contact. Even there are still some dark days, I feel better with it. At first I put my expectations on the lowest and if the days are to rough and the stress is rising before we meet, I cancel the meetings with her (on random causes). It helps me a lot! I can choose if and when I will get to see her.
    (Sorry for my English!)
    Best wishes Anne

    1. Hi Anne, thanks so much for reading. =) I think those are very smart, effective ways of dealing with your mother. I’m sorry that you had to go through a lot growing up with her, but you are incredibly resourceful and it’s great that you recognize what is good and bad for you. It means she no longer has power over you, which is important for your happiness and well-being ultimately. It’s amazing that you are able to find a way to deal with her without cutting all contacts with her completely. I wish you the best, really and truly. <3 And I hope you have a great day!

  6. I m from India, I m a medical student(failed in 1st year), age 20 and live at home with parents ..
    I have read “8 characteristics of dysfunctional family, problems u have when u have toxic parents and how to deal with toxic parenting” …
    So i thought of sharing my difficulties..
    My family is dysfunctional.. which is that kind of family where i dont share my problems with my parents, they get angry on my decisions which they dont like (mainly of my career).
    In an argument they always pressurise me by getting angry and never understand what i m trying to speak …
    They show conditional love, where i feel being used . .
    They always compare me with my elder sister who was a bookworm and was studious, with my cousins, my friends, and sometimes neighbors too ..
    I feel useless at times.. I dont like to have a casual talks with them bcz i dunno at what they would get angry .. for them i m always a son who is not as hardworking, obeying, extrovert etc like my sisters and friends ..
    I sometimes shed tears and get depressed of thinking that why i dont have a good life, by which i have some mild pains in my chest( or heart) ..
    Still a lot to tell .. but cant express everything ..
    .
    I deal with it thinking that one day I’ll have a better life .. one day I’ll be living my life without any stress …

    1. Hey Rishi, I know the feeling, I am currently trying to work out some of the the very same problems as well. The cool part is that you are a VERY capable human being and that you are Intelligent and Loving and Kind and that you know how you feel about your life, there is Always the Ability to make things better for Yourself, this can be done by doing some of the things listed above.

      P.S it is not necessarily a bad thing that you are distancing yourself from your parents as this gives you more of an opportunity to grow and heal. And hey, even if you fall you can pick yourself right back up again.

    2. Hey, Rishi
      Be proud of yourself no matter what.
      Don’t try to highlight the negatives by saying I failed in first year. IT’S COMPLETELY OK. Be proud that you are medical student because it’s not easy to be one. I hope studying medicine was your choice.
      Dont ever feel that you are useless, never say that to yourself.
      Remember that you are a very amazing person.
      And even though studies are important, it’s just a phase of life. Then work, marriage, children.. life goes on like this.
      So don’t give too much importance and get depressed. Its not worth.
      Depression, suicidal thoughts usually hit young adults. Remember that YOU ARE IMPORTANT.
      Read some articles on self love, self care, self esteem, self worth.. and very importantly smile every day in front of the mirror.
      Make happiness a habit 😊

    3. Hi Rishi I was moved by your post. Are you still studying medicine or have you left medical school? I assume your parents are berating you for failing the first year? I know it is very expensive studying to do anything, let alone to be a doctor. Is there any way that you could start working part-time at a hospital to gain experience and that the money from this might allow you to move out of your parents’ house? I have experienced endless criticism from my parents despite training to be an architect (they did not pay for my education) and the criticism never stopped, my father is still doing it and my mother did it right until her death earlier this year. i too have been constantly compared to a sibling, my brother by my parents and wider family (who don’t really know him as he lives in Canada).It is very hurtful and rips out my self-esteem as I am sure it rips out yours. It also led to my brother feeling entitled to treat me very badly, which he still does to an astonishing extent. In your situation I think I would start by thinking through how to cope with your very tough medical course effectively. Having a space of your own, even just a room at the university has to be a good first step. Also to have some income of your own. You are in a tough paradox, because if you cant concentrate due to the toxicity projected onto you, then you wont perform well at university. But if you can get through your course and become a doctor, even earn money before qualification, you can then be independent of your family. I realise that cultures differ and maybe in India you are expected to stay at home until marriage, which is a lot of pressure in your situation. I think though, that in your place I would still leave. Depression can be serious and it will at the very least affect your grades and at worst, well….. I would also speak to a counsellor or the university doctor about your chest pains, as stress can put a literal strain on the heart and ask for help from the university for independent housing. At more distance you may be able to cope better with your parents, and if not consider keeping them at arms length. I truly hope things improve for you. Best wishes. Shirley Ann.

  7. Tnx a million for these brilliant thoughts
    You saved a life if not many ..
    Keep up the good work

  8. Very helpful content! God bless you and continue to help you in all your endeavors!

  9. Thank you so much for this. I have dealt with a toxic parent for a long time, and I have never been able to navigate it. This has probably lent to my struggles with mental health. Your article gives me hope that I will get through it until I can get out of the situation.

  10. Hey! I’m a male of 27 years old. I’m very close to leave home and I have recently realized that I have toxic parents. It’s very frustrating, because everybody sees them as very great parents with my brothers, they are very exhibitionist in that aspect. I recognized they are toxic for all the treatment they gave me in my childhood. My dad was a very scary figure to my mom, sibling, and me. I remember that she always made a disapointments sound everytime dad got home after his job. She always told me horrible stuff that my dad did to her when we were alone, and she always told me to not tell anyone about it. I was asked to take care of my two sibling since my 12 until my 18, I’m the oldest one. I never had the chance to get out or hang out with friends. Both of my parents work and they hardly are in home, and when they are they always ask me stuff like: “How is you college doing? How is your relashionship doing?” And they are usually very honest to tell me that they don’t like a lot of stuff that I do in a very rude way. Since I was kid I was taught to stay in silence during a conversation, and they always told me to stay quiet and never talk to people (literally, not just strangers). Every time I share my opinion on something I get interrupted or contradicted and they always says that I don’t know anything about life.
    My dad always forced me to learn things I didn’t care much just to show other people how talented I am. I was forced to learn piano. I learned and everytime I didn’t wanto to go to practice or missed into a note or didn’t properly learned a song I would get punished without watching tv for a month or not going out for a week, or taking away my fauvorite toy.
    I can’t deny they were great parents in terms of providing, my familia has a very poor begining, we were terriblu poor, so I know what is to starve, and they did their best effort trying to provide for my siblings and me, but I always was scared to messed up even in things that are not important. I’m still scared to mess up, it’s so much that I’m scared of my father that I have sometimes to lie about some things, so he can leave me alone.
    I cannot sleep properly, I’m always tired, and I’m tired of being tired all the time. If I take a desition, no matter what I choose is always wrong. I never get the right answer with them. Which is super frustrating. I live in constant frustration with myself. I would love to have more people in my life that hear out my problems, but I’m kind of a loner, I have like five super good friends, they know what I’m going throu, and it’s dificult for them too, because some have tryed to help me, but then my parents have told me that they are not my real friends, they are just bad people trying to take me away from my family.
    The only thing I want it peace, peace with myself. I can hear their voices when I go to places scloding me for taking the wrong desition. That’s why I have always dificuties with desiding things, I’m the kind of guy who takes an hour to pick a sandwich or askes someone else what sandwich is going to take so a copy the desition.
    I’m so happy that very soon I’ll make the money to get the hell out of my house. I want to go somewhere very far, out of reach of them. They have started to being super annoying, because they thing that my girlfriend is taking me away from them, when it’s backwards, shw doesn’t want our children to have absents granparents. I want to get over it. I want silence and I want to be capable of taking a simple desition like what to wear or where to go.
    This helped me a lot on realizing a lot of things I need to change. Thank you!

    1. I also hate my family. I was a daughter who experienced physical and verbal abused from my mother. until Today I cannot love my mother the way society wants me to do. I just really hate her and the worst thing is I am forced to live with my parents. That even sucks. Until I alread grow up, 29 years old now. My mother turns to be a passive-agressive person. When things are not on her way, she will do something that would make me feel uncomfortable. Slamp the door, cooking with a very loud voice, speak in high tone and it brings me to my childhood which my mother used to hit me.
      My father is a person who is seeking for piece in home. I think he is afraid of my mom’s act so he would follow what my mom wants. And me? I end up being a super introvert. I never talked my problems with my family, even the guy I love they never know it. I am disconnected with my family. My childhood experience make me hate my family more and more.
      Every time, and every day I just want to end the life. I regret for being born in this family that I felt I never had a freedom. Speaking arguing would be a something and it leads me to an unnecassary war.
      I dunno, now I am just feeling lonely and alone in this world. I really feel disconnected and even this affect to my personal relationship. I grow up to be an introvert person, I isolate myself, I dont let any guy to enter into my life because I am afraid they will leave me and do the same thing. I have low-self esteem and feeling worthless and not beautiful. I feel no one loves me and wanna bring me somewhere where I could escape from this trauma.
      I have close friends, but it seems like they don’t get what I am going through.
      All I can do right now is trying to reach my financial stability so I have voice to speak. To do what I want to do. But living with parents just make my progress slower. I am so desperate to find a way to go out.

    2. Alex, so sorry to hear about your experience at home . I have been dealing with toxic parents since I was a child and now I’m 33. I basically worked my hardest to be able to leave home and I am finally free and independent when I left home at 18 on scholarship. Thd point is , I really think the best solution is to be independent from toxic parents and I totally agree with point no.1 in the above article . I’m slowly trying to forgive and rebuild relationships with my parents but I m only able to do this on my own terms when I’m independent and have physical distance from them . Once they know I don’t actually need them and I’m now a Strong independent woman , and I forgive them and talk to them because I choose to , and I can cut them off anytIme if they overstep boundaries , they back off a little when things get too heated .
      I wish you all the very best and happy for you that you are close to moving out now ! Xxx

    3. Intersting, I was thinking ” oh… I can’t remember writing this” as it is word. for . word the life I have been living for over 44 years. Fight against it, you are young, go to therapy, I missed that, beeing traped in that circulus vitiosus between ” oh it’s better, we are over it” and ” omg I want to die I literally can’t stand this any longer”. Going to therapy helped a lot, though the new aquired selfesteem that manifests in the littel word “no” causes a serious thundersturm from both against me. So, start your life NOW.

  11. I am very depressed. I am suffering depression and anxiety from my parents. Therefore, I feel like whatever I do I can’t even satisfy them enough. Furthermore, I let them get into my head and I have no self esteem or confidence in myself. On the other hand, I always get put down for when I really try hard. For example, I apply for full time jobs and I end up getting part time jobs or not enough hours. then, they yell and scream at me that I am not doing anything for my life. In the end, I just feel I am a failure and getting criticized for my weight. What do I do?

    1. Hi Hayley,
      If I were you, I would try to spend as much time away from home as possible. It’s great that you don’t work full time. I think that extra time can go towards, meditation, tai chi or exercise which can do wonders for your mood. Maybe a new solitary hobby even? Like reading or chess.
      I used to feel guilty for always relying on a few friends for emotional support. But now I make sure I have at least 2 or 3 plus an online counsellor who know when i’m close to breaking point. This way i don’t pile on any one person too much. I also tend to be upfront with friends if I spend too much time venting and being frustrated and tell them that i wish things could be fun and conversations lighter but that this dark time is hopefully temporary but it is what it is and one can’t pretend that things are rosy when they’re not and that i appreciate they’re listening.
      When my anxiety is too much, i distract myself with netflix, aware of it’s destructiveness but do anything to stop thinking about situations. I avoid taking decisions when sad. And take a break from thinking for a day or discuss logically with a friend if I can’t take a call on my own.
      Where jobs are concerned, i tell my parents that i’m okay with the current scenario and it makes me happy and that i will be out of their hair soon.
      If they shout too much, ignoring them or an upfront message tends to get the idea across. They may be angry for a couple of days but the message will sink in in a while.
      I hope you can save up and moveout soon. I’m looking to do the same.
      Always remember. It may not be intentional on their end. But it is also very real for your emotional health to get real help and space. Let go of the guilt and peaceful patterns. If the problem exists, you need to get out now.

    2. First off, YOU. ARE. NOT. AT. FAULT. You shown guts and will to survive just posting, believe Me I knew a few chaps that wouldn’t even post like You have, “Bloody hell what’s the point” they would say, I am attempting tp strike out on My own by becoming an independent Video game dev, I get no support from anyone save for the community I have established Myself in and that is just for resources, no; “Get back up and show us what You are really made of!” or “You’ve had worse You can do it!” from anyone, they offer support but in the end I am the one that makes things happen.

      it seems like nothing You do is ever good enough, like the world is just looking down it’s nose at You? Well I got news for You, it is! and those “Folks” of Yours couldn’t be pleased with You for nothing, I know, I could cure cancer right now and Mine would Berate Me for not doing it yesterday, while accusing Me of not doing anything around the house or being a bad son, but this isn’t helping You is it?

      You are more than You know, and while there is those nearby that cannot see good in You, there is those who see nothing but greatness in You to, seek what You want for Yourself, fight for want You want from this life, the world is only going to let You have what You want if You pull it out of it’s grimy fingers, the question is do You want more for Yourself or no? as for Your Parents… I would advise getting to know some friends who would be willing to let You crash on random nights when it feels like too much, and start with researching ways to cope with this issue, You are not alone, there is bound to someone else who dealt with if not dealing with this very problem as You, and don’t affiliate with political groups or people, they’ll just use You, You are not a tool.

      Best regards, Dylan.

    3. Hayley , I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through. I have been dealing with my toxic parents and also toxic elder Sister since I was a child. I’m now 33, have a sucessful career (shipping/maritime lawyer) and independent . I moved to a different country away from my family when I was 24 right after university. I remember how depressed I was as a teenager , there were so many times I thought of killing myself. I had no self esteem as my Father constantly told me I was “stupid like my Mother” (my mother left home when I was 5 and he hated her ) and that I was useless. My parents treat my elder sister totally differently and it’s obvious they love only her. When she bullied me I just had to keep quiet as I know my parents would not only not do anything bout it but they would definitely blame me for everything. I was doing all the chores at home since I was 12 (cleaning, laundry , washing etc ) while my sister got away with doing nothing and there was never even a word of thank you or appreciation from my Father. He verbally abused me almost everyday with hurtful words and once when I failed math at school he refused to sign my report card so I had no choice but to forge his signature and he found out about it and beat me with a cane so bad that my legs were full of scars for week. I basically ran away from home when I was 18 when I got my scholarship and finally I was free! I worked very hard to get that scholarship and then I contInue to work very hard every day till today to have the life I want. I’m very happy with my life now and I have recently found love with a very lovely man.
      My point here is , please don’t give up . I know it’s hard, but I used the hardships and sadness to push me to work really hard and the need to get away motivated me. Now both my parents are trying to rebuild relationships with me but sadly they are still the same old toxic people. I’m taking small steps to forgive them and I did most of the things this articles say whenever I have to face them or talk to them . I tell myself that they are getting old now and when they die I might regret it I don’t forgive them . I see them (separately as they are divorced and cannot be in same room together till today ) only once a year , for now I cannot do more than this. They still hurt me every time I see them . They just can’t help but to show total disrespect towards me . They had not changed although they now know because I showed them politely through my attitude, that I don’t need them and I’m a strong woman now , so I won’t let them trample all over me anymore and I’m keeping in touch with them only as a kind gesture . If they overstep the boundaries I might just cut them off totally . So they step back abit at times when things get heated.
      Also my bad childhood really made me a stronger person and I have the strength to deal with stress and difficult situations at work because I have had worse (my childhood) and many people at work and socially had told me how strong and amazing I am in dealing with problems (although they don’t know about my past).
      Things will get better, don’t give up, work real hard to build the life and future that you want ! You can do it ! Be strong ! Use the frustration as motivation to push you forward ! I wish I was there to give you a big hug xxxx I know you will have a good future because I can see you are a very smart person (you actually take steps to research on ways to deal with toxic parents and found this page! And you are taking on jobs etc) don’t forget that you are wonderful person ! Others might forget but you have to always remember that and love yourself !

    4. Its sounds like you and i have the same problem. Solutions below are how i has dealt and till now still dealing with perfectionism:
      +) Talking to your parents about it. Tell them how you feel and how their perception about perfection is causing stress for you and how things can be solved ( If they ignored and not being objective its obvious that you cannot use senses to deal with them and need more actions. No offense my friend but if your parents act this way its likely that you’ve been taken for granted)
      +) This is quite similar to the category 4 above ( Finding support elsewhere) ( I often come over my friends house when i have feeling of misunderstood or mistreated, And every time i always get usefull advices and the understandings of them always makes me feel better)
      +) And finally, ignore their critism (In my country, almost every parents is toxic but theres no information about dealing with it in Vietnamese so toxic parenting still lingers on, and seroiusly few kids mananged to realize the mistreating mostly because they dont know how to put the problem in Vietnamese. So from my experiences this is the best options i can give you sincerely. Additionally, pls dont live up to others people prejudice even if they are your relatives, be happy with your presents, appreciate who you are and what makes you special
      special and distinguishable. People ARE NOT Gods, they are not perfect, who are them to judge you, you’re perfect in your own way so always looks up )
      +)And finally i just wan to wish you all luck in life. May the possitive energy always be with you

    5. My parenta are like that too. Try to find q safe place. Mine was music and art. When i was painting or listening to music i felt like i lived a whole other life. Also remember that you cant do anything about them but definitely look into comedy. It’s helped me so many times. I think it’s a great way to think about how to enjoy your life. Ignore what they say as much as possible. My parents used to hit and scream at me but at one point it didn’t matter cuz it was a daily routine. Just know that if you go through that you are a miracle and you really have accomplished a lot.

    6. Long time ago this comment but a way
      Live up to your own expectations and find incouragement from other people in positions of power
      Whether it a superior at work most companies do staff
      Take up a sport or exercise program or martial art, a good coach or trainer can be very encouraging that with exercise can be a huge endorphin release making you feel good, be wary of scams though do your research to find a good one or visit many and find one you enjoy
      They are ones who feel the gap for me since I had given up on making my father proud

  12. Thanks you for this article! This helps a lot because I have an emotional abusive father and I’ve been dealing with this for a long time now. It’s reassuring that I’m not alone in this and I plan on cutting him out of my life since its been taking a toll on myself. I have been miserable, he doesn’t understand and he doesn’t respect me and whenever I try to talk about something he doesn’t agree with he starts yelling at me saying that I wrong and such. My words just go through his ear and out the other so it’s very difficult to talk to him. I have to lie to him constantly or else I’d probably be kicked out of the house for who I am or worse. My mom is trying to get full custody over me so I won’t have to suffer anymore (since my parents are divorced). I know it won’t go smoothly whatsoever but I only hope that it will be better in the future.

  13. I grew up in a toxic household where my mom always made me feel helpless and worthless and made sure she always reminded me by comparing me to my siblings whether it came to athletic ability, intelligence, and especially my sexuality and my weight. It was her weapon to use the fact that I’m gay against me and how everyone is skinny and I’m the fat one, making me feel different and like it’s a bad thing to heighten the feelings of isolation. For years of my life ever since I was a little child she would only address me as “fat ass” and now I live with body dysmorphia that controls my life.She used to food as a weapon too. She would give my siblings a nice home cooked meal with so much food on the plate and would give me a salad or she would give me 1/4 of the portion and then would say in front of everyone how I’m overweight and obese and would do this at family gatherings too. Her unquenchable thirst for control was to have my unconditional surrender and obedience. It got so bad to the point where she wouldn’t let me get a job or my drivers permit and would use the excuse that I’m not ready and I’m immature and I can’t work with customers and all this other stuff to demean me and discourage me from wanting to become independent because it threatened her dominance. It’s a shame that now at 18 years old I fear my mom and am still the obedient submissive child she wanted by using emotional and verbal abuse and other toxic traits to get me that way and what’s hurts me the most is how I became the monster I never wanted to be. I isolate myself from the world, never leave the house, refuse to emotionally connect with anyone, lash out, have random episodes and emotional breakdowns, mood swings, anxiety attacks, perfectionist behavior, need to control everything, over analyzing everything, attack people with my words to the point where it becomes entirely cruel and so much more. I wish I wasn’t this wasn’t the case but it is and I don’t know how to break the cycle of abuse.

  14. I been abused by my own mother emotionally and physical for almost 2 decades… after 4 decades of my life she still abuses me emotionally calling me all sorts of names. The anger that I have for her has caused me to hate her , wishing she wasn’t my mother at all

  15. Huh. Interesting. But I formulated my own plan…now I’m just stocking up metaphorical nukes for the household apocalypse. IF it ever happens. I’m going to leave my house. I’m DONE with that subversive, hypocritical person that used a belt to whip my legs when I was 12. Who fattened me up when I was 6 and TO THIS DAY blames me for being fat.

    I’m still trying to undo the internal damage and so far my brand of self-therapy is making sense of it. I don’t cuss at her, but I’m growing a spine. I STILL remember that one Christmas where that wench dared to say “I hope you smell better” in my face, as I sat inbetween my parents, and handed me an unwrapped box with AXE products. I looked to my left at mom to see the mythical explosion come true…nothing happened. In silent disbelief I looked at Dad…nothing. I immediately told them and they were CLUELESS.

    I forgive Dad: he has more than enough credibility to warrant forgiveness for that huge failure. But mom? NO WAY. This just further compounded my plan to ditch her forever when I finally move out. She is likely to cry, saying that I “NEED” to stay. Heck no you witch, I am NOT letting your ignorance infect my anymore.

    One day…ONE DAY!!!

    No more having to deal with a person who never listens at all, assumes the worst all the time, never uses reason, never tries to understand ANYTHING beyond her warped, narrow perception of reality.

    But for now. I have to scold myself for being so foolish to believe she actually listened for once. She doesn’t really think or look outside her routine. I don’t care about your alleged “stir crazyness”. I will go wherever I want without telling you. She thinks that leaving the house at 1pm is “too late to go anywhere”. HA! Fine! I like going places alone anyway. I hate having to deal with her at stores anyway.

    I don’t want to care about her anymore. Just enough to bother having the courtesy and that’s it. Out of sheer pragmatism (what little I understand) I don’t blow my metaphorical nukes so the relative peace in the house remains. It’s just smoother that way until I move out.

    I’ll be ready to slap and ignore my Dad if he says I should apologize to her. That BANSHEE should apologize-but if she even understands what her wrongs are!

    I’m fed up with that subversive witch. When the day comes after I’m living alone I won’t send her a card. Speaking of sending family members cards, I’m just going to stop that all together. I find it exhausting to worry about maintaining relationships with people I rarely see. In fact, I don’t want anyone in my family to know my future place of residence.

    I’M DONE WITH PEOPLE IN MY LIFE. I just go to work, have some friendly relationships to make it easier and retreat to my room. And one day it will be an entire apartment I will treat as my refuge against the world. My only true safe space is my bed. I want to take my mattress (or find the same exact one again) and leave everything else behind. Sell this computer, break my old CDs, burn everything except my clothes and go elsewhere.

    I want it all to end. no more please. no more no more no more no more no more. I want to be done!!!

    Or just live in a tent somewhere and let nature run its course.

    The only things I’ve learned from her is: Never trust the elderly nor freely give them respect, it must be EARNED just as everyone else must; Never turn out like the BANSHEE; Age doesn’t give you the right to throw your weight around, just means you have no excuse to be ignorant, hypocritical and unable to adapt. Naysayers can eat dirt, I’m sticking to it.

    Whew, that was a nice distraction. On to the next phase of the grand plan! VIVA LA RESISTANCE!!

  16. Hi! I found this article very helpful. My mother is a toxic person and it doesn’t help that I am 14 and can’t move away, but this article has helped me in the past couple of months. Thank you so much for putting this out there and helping those who need it.

  17. Can favouritism and constant teasing be marked as a toxic relationship?

  18. This article clarified questions I needed to understand. I have caught professional help through the years and told my parents they were my problem. That went over well. I’ve had addition issues to cover the pain…. Today it’s so hard to have a normal conversation without outbursts. I truly have tried everything. They seem as if they wait for me to mess up. I’m never good enough in their eyes no matter what I achieved bfore I gave up 10 years ago. But today I’m determined to stop caring what they think and be successful in what I do. I’m going back to teaching and volunteer in at a drug rehab to tell my story to help others.

  19. I stumbled upon your article..and im so glad that what i am experiencing is not entirely abnormal. Being the eldest child, i grew up feeling like my mom never loved me.

    When i was only 9 or 10, she gave me the cold shoulder for almost 1 year. 1 year of getting angry and hate glares from her. All because i stood up for my late grandmother’s rights. We can sit at the dinner table without talking to each other at all. Now i am a mother of 3 kids. I still find myself often getting cold treatments from my mum when she doesnt get her way. She has even resorted to using social media to make it seem like i have treated her badly. Posting quotes to throw shade at me. And every single time she gets upset with me or throws tantrums at me i will seek her forgiveness..to appease her anger. It has reached a level of me giving up as i feel that no matter how hard i try to be a perfect daughter for her..she will never be satisfied with me. I guess all these years i just wanted approval from my mum..to feel that she genuinely cares for me.

    Despite all that, i still feel blessed that i have lovely aunties(my mom’s sisters) who showers me with love and care.Who also sides with me. And i am blessed to have a good husband and 3 beautiful children who loves me as much as i love them. I use to feel sad and cry myself to sleep wondering why my own mother treats me this way..but now..i have accepted that fact and am learning to stand firm and move on.

    Honestly this topic is truly a sensitive one..one which i cant openly share as i dont want my friends or relatives to think bad about my mum..which is why this was a good platform for me to sort of express myself..without ppl really knowing who i am.

    So, thank you very much for this post and for sharing these tips 🙂

  20. When I turned 44 and my father was continuing to be emotionally abusive towards me & purposely hurting my feelings, I told him the only way I’d see him was at a Family Psychologist. He agreed, only to appease me, but he went & I was glad. We only chipped away at the surface of our problems, but I felt good about it & was looking forward to the next meeting. My Father refused to go again. I took a “time out” to have some peace. He is a toxic man with an even more toxic new wife who hates me. During this time his new wife apparently beat him up physically. He drove 4 hours to tell my sister everything that his wife did to him. I would not let him run to me.
    My sister showed me the photo of my elderly dad covered in blood. It broke my heart. He then called me a liar when his wife emailed me and I told her I knew about the abuse… my dad got involved in the email & told me to never contact him again. He’s standing by her side.
    That was over 2 years ago. I have not seen him in 5 years and I’m not sure if I’m ok with this situation now.
    Is there any elder laws that protect the elderly from being abused by their much younger spouse?
    Should I continue to let it go & go on about my life?

  21. Hi guys. I also suffer from toxic parenting. It really started at a young age. They would belittle me for playing sports and I stopped playing because of low esteem. This feeling of low self esteem continued throughout high school and the constant criticism. Every time we have an argument they always play “my house my rules” card. Since they have all the money , I’m treated as a retarded child who does not know anything about life. It’s my last year of high School and they don’t want me to move out. What should I do cause I have no one to rely on finances besides them ?

  22. The topic of toxic people, is something that I take rather seriously. I looked this up because I am currently having a bad relationship with my mom and I just so badly want to figure out what that problem is, and what I can do about it. Sadly, my mother is very toxic, and I though I could deal with it, since I have delt with this before with someone I use to call my best friend. Its not as bad as she was,but her being my mother, makes it so much worse on me. I am a VERY kind and forgiving person, “everyone deserves a second chance”, “dont worry, everything is ok”, “everything will be fine, trust me”, “I will be ok, dont worry, I promise” and etc. Is now something that I say almost 3-4 times, or more a day only to my mom. I always feel so bad, and so guilty when I stand up for myself, even if she “has enough sh*t to worry about” and Im “just another problem” to her. Only when things are EXACTLY her way, then she is ok. She is SUPER religious, and makes things up just so we have to be “more respectful” to god. So her saying that to me, hurt me so much. I get anxiety just thinking about going to her house, and become majorly depressed. (my parents are divorced). Im a very sensitive, and emotional, and I try my best to be the best person I can be, but im never good enough for her. I have started worrying more about myself, having my dad’s side and friends there for me, and things are getting better! But I can never escape her.. She always finds a way to crawl back, and drag me back into my hole of despair and regret and everything terrible. If there is anything I can do, or any tips i could try, thats would be wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  23. Thank you so much!! I feel much better after reading your article. I used to live by myself for many years and then went back to live for a short period with my mother, and it was a nightmare where I felt destroyed on daily basis. Your article helps me to stay strong. Thanks a lot.

  24. My late mother was such a cluster B anomaly that I’ve been searching for 11 years since I realized something was horribly wrong (when I lost the ability to sleep at all without taking a prescription antipsychotic, she passed away decades ago) and I’m still not even close to finding a therapist who can comprehend the trail of destruction she left behind. She was a total control absolutist and had no use either for trust or for anyone who relied on it in any capacity. Like all malignants she would “split people off” who she didn’t approve of but then just for sport she would use gossip and innuendo to completely destroy their marriages and other relationships (which was virtually the only thing she enjoyed doing). She also operated what I refer to as “her personal CIA” so no one could possibly catch on to what stories she was telling. Naturally I had no spending money or relationships or time of my own or even any privacy (and essentially no access to my own right brain), and I’m so emotionally crippled I can’t sustain anything resembling a normal social life. I’ve done a lot of research and believe it or not I’ve encountered one or two others who have met someone as sick as she was although they’re few and far between, and obviously she should never have been allowed to raise a child since I’ll never be able to over come being raised like this nut at least I’m trying to raise awareness about people as unfit as she was to be a parent.

  25. I’ve been my whole life into toxic parents these gave power to keep on in life and not to give up thank you God bless you

  26. This article is very helpful. I live in Asia country which children have to respect parent. However, I know there is something wrong in my relationship with my mom. I am the only child and my father passed away when I was three months year old. Therefore, I suffered from my relationship with my mom. Now, I am 46 years old. my mom live with me. It is traditional in Asia for children to support parent when parent is getting old. Now, I am adult and she is elderly. I do not look down my mom that her education is grade 6. I graduated and know a lot more than her. She do not know how to use washing machine and I told her that she use it wrong way. She will get mad at me. She always think she know more than I do in everything.
    Once, she run out of house and live with her friend for a week without notify me that why she left. I had to inform police because I do not know where she went.
    I know she try to hurt me. Now, even in the same house, I do not want to keep in touch with her anymore. I do not want her to control me anymore. let she go wherever she go. I just let she live in the house and support her expense as a children. but, I will not allow her to abuse my emotion because of her controlling behaviors anymore. Thank you for your article that make me think through my problem with my mom.

  27. I just want to say thank you for the article. there are many excellent tips and suggestions. I would like to add for anyone who thinks they might be dealing with toxic parents, do not deceive your self into thinking things will change, just because you do. The only thing that we can ever change is our own self. It wont change parents who don’t see or feel there is a problem, in the first place. Its possible they will see a change in you, perceiving it to be positive, and want to understand their own mistakes too. But, its more likely that anger will consume them and they will find other manipulative actions to win you back for them to continue to abuse and use you.
    I am 62 and a 1st time grandparent, who has never even seen a picture of my 8month old grandson, until just recently. And that is only because someone else was able to get it off my daughters facebook. I have been blocked. And it is due to to my toxic mothers input and influence over my own adult child, that has driven a wedge and alienated me from all of the family. I play the role of the scapegoat and when I first became aware of the sickness, I was 30. I was so excited to learn about why I did things and thought in the ways I had been, all I wanted to do was make my family see it too. I spent the next 30 years trying to do that, and ultimately, only ended up making matters worse. Now i am grieving the loss of my daughter and grandson who are still living.
    I find myself in a place of great despair, completely alone, unloved and lost. Had I done what had been suggested, when i learned what toxic was, I’m sure it wouldn’t be this way now. Now the struggle to just get up and keep going is met with so much unhappiness, and to empty to move. So just know when your involved with toxic loved ones, to act in ways that help YOU stay safe and healthy. Because when you mess with poison long enough, it kills.

  28. Wow! I am slowly realizing how every thing I read in your article, which was lovely by the way and very extremely helpful, is like a checklist of everything I had gone through in my life. Not to talk shit about my parents. Because haha! I am like in my mid to late 30s. I have never talked bad about them until recent years when I slowly inched away from them. I also feel bad. I mean horrible. Because I grew up respecting them and then this blows up in my face that THIS is what they were! I had always known I was smart. However, it was like a cycle like you guys say and it just pulls you back in! Amazing. I don’t want to say impressed but I am just astounded or just marvel. Not wanting to know really because I thought I as NORMAL. Or I just wanted or want to be normal. Ok! My story is that I was depressed since I was 20 years old. I am in the healthcare industry. During the years, I found out that some of my relatives also were suffering from depression, anxiety, and bipolar and schizophrenic issues. So it runs in my family these mental diseases. But because we can’t really talk about it like you guys makes it worse with my relatives.

    But the issue here is the narcissism. I have never researched or read this until about recent months. This is very sad. I don’t know. I am now in a Master’s program. But I still don’t have a stable job. So therefore I am poor and have to live with my parents yet again. I know I drive them nuts for some reason! My other relatives get a pass and get special treatment and get money. I don’t. I have to work my ass off! Sorry my language. And also pay for extra bills in the household. And I question why I have to pay for extra bills when it is not my place to do so. I am the poorest one and they expect me to pay for extra shit! Ok! Why is that? And then I don’t get any appreciation or a thank you! Because I am not the favorite. Yeah, well. It doesn’t really bother me much. Until recent years, they would just blame every freaking thing on me! And then I get angry and blow up! I mean explode! And my sister has observed that when I get angry I usually bottle everything up and then I start throwing things and banging doors and breaking things! Which is very very bad! But what depresses me is that I can’t control it! My grandpa was the same way when he got mad! Which I am scared of having any relationships outside my relatives because they will see this. And I pity the fools. Sad isn’t it.
    (My brother was the first one that was always angry. Now it is my turn!)
    Just making fun of me sort of! Just to lighten it up a bit. Because this is the root of my bad situation or nightmare I have been living all my life. Honestly, like some of you, I don’t know how to get out of it. Truly finances is where they get me. And with my family it’s always been about money!

    Wishing you all goodness and great health and wealth forever and ever! I pray for all of you if you all wish me to!

    Thank you SO much for this knowledge! I wish I can find a my cure from this madness! And best of luck! Sincerely from the bottom of my heart.

    I can’t sleep now for some reason! I have insomnia. And I have tonsillitis, asthma, and allergies. Due to stress!

  29. this is a good advice, I grew up in a toxic parents, family and environment which made me unhappy , I really wanted to kill myself when I was 9yrs, and now im 20 I’m want a painless suicide , thanks for this info

  30. Hate what my morher has done to me. My super everuthing is good for her sister.

    So what….ive had enough but im so sick of myself . …my selfish miserable mother and my selfish misersble sister

  31. How would one go about standing your ground? I tend to just keep quiet and walk away because if I speak it makes the situation worst or it feels to me like fighting with a wall? Like the parent is having a child like approach to dealing with situations? Even asking for advice from other adults that confirm the parents approach is childish?? I never speak up because I believe that not speaking in the moment as Anger many times makes one say hurtful and things you regret later, but the parent is obviously aware of this and is exploiting it. I will rather vent to a friend and store the memories but I honestly wish I could be spontaneous and just let loose with words, but I always find that it adds fuel to the fire and I DON’T like conflict. Any advice would be appreciated.

  32. I recommend updating the article with more examples of – exactly what to say

    In trying to talk with one, these statements I find can Be very helpful.

    Also just even having a checklist of behaviors to check conversations for can help in ensuring we are more self aware and less impacted by them.

    Also the problem I have is what to do when siblings don’t see the issue and instead make you the problem.

    I tried telling my sister I was feeling emotionally abused by mom to reach out and mom has turned her against me already and before I could open my mouth I had her jump down my throat.

  33. Honestly I just stay completely away from my toxic mother. She doesn’t necessarily live in “reality” which makes it way too difficult to even TRY to find a happy medium between us- im a pretty straight-forward, keep it 💯 kind of person with everything in my life- and she does this thing where, if a situation arises that she doesn’t feel “suits” her in the best light or in her best interest or whatever, then she’ll start twisting things and lying or even fabricate things out of nowhere- all the while looking me right in my eyes and apparently expecting me to go right along with her imaginary story. She gets all kinds of mad too if i dont do it. She’s done this to me when there wasnt even anyone else around but the two of us! Its really weird and it just stresses me out so much that its not worth it to me. I actually had a seizure a while back from the simple sight of her at my front door, when i answered it without looking through the peephole first, and i wasnt expecting her. That was my breaking point. I decided that day that i didn’t have to put myself through it anymore- even if she was my mother- and i havent spoken or seen her since. The release of that weight off my shoulders felt amazing and got even better with time. Its been prob 4 years and im still 100% happy about that decision 🙂

  34. Thank you for posting this. I read articles on dealing with toxic family when I feel tempted to contact them at holidays. I live on the other side of the states, got plenty far from the blended toxic pecking order family dynamic. Step parent had toxic behaviors and would target me out of the 5 of us. When I was younger I could not figure out why she felt so threatened by me. My “flaw” was that I spoke up re: her selfish behavior. I’ll skip the details but to quick sum up my father was a wealthy doctor, top of the field, who after divorce was approached by our sitter to give free babysitting. I recall she would wear swimsuits when he would pull up in his car to to seduce him. Once married her true colors came out and she made it clear that my father’s wealth was only allowed to be spent on her and her kids she brought to marriage. I only regret not suing them when I moved out at 18. I was not able to get financial aid for college for years-until I was 23— because of how much $ dad made, and of course he claimed me for taxes–even when not under his roof!!! He did not do right by his divorce and custody order, mother had bipolar disorder and was unable to fight for me. Her rants were quickly dismissed, as she was labeled the problem. Step mother on first Halloween together dressed me as Marylin Monroe as a 11 yr old and told me to not wear a bra as that is what MM would do. She then stood there putting me in her red dress and laughed at me to mock me. The twisted part was she knew at the time of my moms Bipolar and I did not. Sick gold-digger. She never owns her own poison, and tried for years to find fault all in me or other people. Father made the money, she stayed at home… he had enough money to clothe me as a 11 yr old, but stepmother was too jealous and refused to spend money on my basic needs. I ended up starting my own business cleaning houses and mowing lawns to get basic needs. They avoided getting in trouble with CPS by home schooling me. To this day they both make my skin crawl and are wealthy delusional butt holes. One of the things I found and realized eventually (as the scapegoat), is that I was targeted because I would speak up and stand up for myself, and not tow the line like the other kids. Scapegoats also are much more resilient in that they have the courage to assert themselves, often with realizing we are responsible for our own happiness, you get up brush it off and make your own life and what not. I hope some on here will find the strength in themselves to brush off the hurt and poison, and create their own happiness. So when you asked in you list why were you targeted, it struck a chord with me. Because of their warped behavior, I have kept my distance, joined the military and have led a full life with my own family and kids. Seriously, what kind of rich psycho denies their child, but not the step kids of new family a tshirt and shoes? –(There was more instances but too personal)–After all this time, I didn’t sue him because he was all I had and it would mean before I found my husband/ family that I had no family to go to at holidays or birthdays….Father made the equivalent in the 80’s of 175k a year. I calculated it recently when deciding if I really want to spend money to visit him. Why stay in contact? It hurts too much to be around them anymore. Now that I have some perspective, I should have sued him before the statute of limitations ran out. People on my street I grew up on didn’t believe me. To this day stepparent is in denial and does not admit any fault. The hurt has never really gone away even after counseling. I cannot be around them, they make my skin crawl. Even the last family gathering when confronted telling her about the Marilyn Monroe incident and how I remember how she treated me she reacted like it never happened and denied everything.

  35. I am very upset of the way my family treats me. They keep on saying hurtful things towards me just because I have a bf. I am already 20 I am studying well in school but they keep on saying bad things towards me.I am doing my best but in everything I do they always have something negative to say.When I said I wanted to work while studying so I can be independent and responsible they keep on saying that I might get pregnant or I just want money that’s why I wanted to work.Sometimes they accused me of being a slut just because I am starting to earn small amount of money because I usually sell random stuffs at school but they don’t believe me.I don’t have any offense ever since I entered school until college and I don’t have ideas why they were treating me like this.This article reallg helps me a lot.Thanks.

  36. My father will not say he’s sorry he never admit he is wrong. My mother took his abuse for lots of years. He thinks he is not responsible for the things he did even yesterday. It’s just a new day with more if his troubles. It is hard for me and my boyfriend to be around him. He talks bad about his new family. I feel bad for them cause of what he did to us.

  37. The day I gave up on making my father proud was the day I was free
    Trying to hard even on things that a normal person wouldn’t worry about and not getting any kind feedback I found was making me a toxic person myself
    I talk with my partner and am aware my grand father was not good to my father I said it ends now I am not going to make the same mistake

  38. I feel like my parents are enabling my sister and brother-in-law. 8 yrs ago, my sister, brother-in-law, husband and I had a falling out. My whole family could’ve handled things better. My sister and brother-in-law are very passive aggressive. They don’t communicate at all. We haven’t had to really deal with it because they moved away for the past 8 yrs. Now they just moved back to live by our parents. I tried to talk to them and work through our issues. I wanted us to Validate each other feelings, Agree to disagree, and then put the past behind us. They play the victims and don’t take any responsibility for their part in all of this. My husband and I and my parents have taken responsibility for our part. Even after 8 yrs they still don’t want to communicate. Too much has happened to sweep everything under the rug. Since they have moved back, more issues have come up. For Thanksgiving they invited our parents and our other sister and brother-in-law to their house and excluded my husband and I. It is very hurtful. I’m upset with my whole family for going over to their house knowing we were excluded. My parents say they have to treat our family like a divorce family because if they don’t, they would never see them because they don’t want to be around us. We don’t care about being around them either with the way they have treated us. I would like for us to work things out and be cordial for our parents and my niece and nephew. My parents have been married for 50 yrs. I feel like I should be able to see my parents whenever I want to for the holidays etc. What do u recommend?

  39. i am just fed up with my dad,i give all the respect no one can imagine but he cant just let me do my own things just because he thinks he has control over me threatening to stop supporting me totally………this has really been a challange to me that i feel as equal to an offern

  40. 7. Recognize the traits that make you easy prey.

    I caution you against this phrasing. I get the idea but it makes it sound like the child is responsible for the psychotic things a dysfunctional parent does, and we are not.

  41. 10. Do not normalize abusive behaviour.

    That headline & topic all together is very
    Easy to make assumptions about.
    It is easy to make the headline and give advice but being that there are so many levels and scenes of misconduct in a home, how do we even generalize this issue for it to become pegged as someone is trying to make things seem normalized.

    The headline and advise should not be that
    People are normalizing it.
    This subject to the individual(s) is not that they think it is normal. The people who read this because they in most cases have had a harder life, do not think their life is normal and they probably wish it was on a even scale where it was considered to them different and normal.
    The ritual of people’s habits become their day to day attitudes and behaviours that they give to their families.

    After reading most of the headlines and then paragraphs of advise, I read one that went on to explain if a parent is trying to give you advise but you know it’s not good advise try and weave the conversation in alternative directions, by accepting what they said and basically saying thank you but standing with your own beliefs.
    In many cases if a parent is not well and does not have the mindset to have a healthy conversation it is not always going to work when you say no thank you towards their views. No matter what if that parent we are talking about is abusive or not well they will want to be heard much like a bully or someone that usually wants to get heard.
    My advise towards any person(s) when trying to grasp how to deal with a difficult person is to not say anything at all.
    If you are trying to live a life very different from the one they gave you which not even in question was less than nurturing, you shouldn’t now as an adult try and figure out head games on how to communicate with them for your future, that is also damaging. Having to play head games with your parent just to speak to them should be out of the question. In my experience saying thank you and no I think that this instead would be more beneficial for my future or I think this will make me happy is usually another opening for them to argue and keep on. Be polite as you want or need to be but know the people who have parents like this do not end a conversation without a fight usually.
    The best way to ruin your brain is to think you have to keep on with any negative conversation all together and also avoid training your brain to have to play mind games with this parent in order to have a valid conversation. I believe being honest and standing your ground is the best way to have any sense of self confidence.

    I grew up in a less than organized home in a less than caring atmosphere. I had a very sick parent and a very aggressive parent. Both parents had drug and alcohol issues very prevailing.
    As a youth I would do almost everything and anything opposite of the choices that they had shown me as their own. I did not want to live my life like that as an adult, through the memories I had stained in my mind growing up.
    Let me gather my mother was a great woman very caring very loving but very sick which was in all honesty not her fault and there is and always will be respect and understanding.

    A lot of children or adults now reading these articles are all very different. If we are to look at the homes and aspects of other people’s lives, a lot of people can find common ground but know there is no home that is the same anywhere.

    As a child I grew up knowing what I wanted to avoid as an adult. I grew up with a strong mindset of what I did not want to hurt me from what I gathered in my youth. A lot of the future problems of children that grow up in less than good homes have a problem with understanding or sweeping things under the rug. Due to the fact I grew up in a home with a lot of issues and hurt as I grew older I kept in mind the mindset of what I wanted as a youth for my future but also threw that away as I with time I became used to a hurtful home and if someone I was dating or friends with hurt me I was adjusted to say it was okay.

    Being a child raised in a hurtful/broken setting will damage your kids, not just their past but their futures. As an adult I have the habit of letting things go and possibly being too understanding and forgiving of people that do cause me pain out of misconduct. This subject I just brought up is something that people don’t see or think of often.
    As a child I may not have wanted certain things in my future and may try my best to have a better life, but it does not stop me from basically allowing others to hurt me on purpose. These families are basically raising kids with no back bone, but not like they care or are aware.

    It has taken me a lot of time and effort to identify why I waste my time on the wrong people and why they are in my life period, Why I read these articles and what not.

    7) realize traits that make you easy prey.
    You are not prey and you are not easy and it is unhealthy for you to think of yourself at anytime as someone’s prey. You are not prey you are just unfortunately in the company of people that have strong mental health issues. People that are not mentally well will take it out on someone but that does not mean you are some sort of meal for their appetite and it is very wrong for you to read that or think of yourself as that at any time.
    I believe the headline and advise given as that or to replace that should be “so you are unfortunately in the company of unhealthy people” or “ how to understand why you are in the company of unhealthy people”

    It is easier said than done when you are being told to limit yourself from a harmful environment or discussing people especially when they are your family. All the advise and self help books and talks with councillors and or friends helps but could not make the world of difference if you are anything like me you will return.

    I’m 30 and I am still trying to piece my life together and look back at the mass amount of time wasted on hurtful people. I always sweep it under the rug and I always return and out of that I get years wasted and bad memories.

    I just wasted 3 years of my life being physically abused by a man I was in love with, cheated on and manipulated and lied to daily. I always returned. Why may you ask? I was adjusted to things being more than hard as a youth and I knew all too well what forgiveness was and I used forgiveness like it was the air I needed to survive. No matter what I would hurt myself and let things go. Being adjusted and used to things being bad as a youth very much shaped the person I was to it being dangerous for me and an actual fault. It did not shape me in any good way and I still let and allow people more than enough hurt me and my life.

    I don’t have advise that can help anyone really I am still looking for answers for me and I’m still trying to figure myself out like I am a Puzzle.

    1. Also in regards to all of this I think it is in better interest of people to get a better grasp on mental health issues and to understand them.
      I think it is more beneficial for people to read articles and educate themselves to the point where they can identify people who are not mentally well so they do not feel as if what they are going through is or was their fault. In understanding there can be for identification towards what is happening in their lives with abuse and lack of care given to them.

  42. It’s making me damn near suicidal how cruel my mom is being… Fuk it and fuk her… I can’t keep letting her make me feel like shit. Time for me to move fwd.

  43. Thank you so much for this article! I really needed to read it and it has helped me to cope with my situation with confidence.

  44. I find that ignorance is bliss. Number 10 is the part of my childhood that I will try harder to rember now that I have a child.

  45. This felt good reading through,thankyou so much for putting it up.
    Sometimes,all that one needs is this little ray of hope and something positive to bring a smile onto their face,even if its a bunch of sentences.
    I really appreciate this thought out,well written post,lots of love.

  46. So appreciative of Catherine Huang’s article on Toxic Parents, she is a gifted writer. Where do I begin? I am so. exhausted. Mentally and emotionally, mostly. My Mother is 95 years old, and I’ve been dealing with her moods and behaviors my whole life. Fortunately, I do not live with her, so I am able to be apart from her, which is a blessing. Long story short, she is manipulative, critical, negative, and a chronic complainer. She did not have a good relationship with her Mother, either. She uses me emotionally as a door mat, or a dart board. She can be nasty to me, and sweet to everyone else. I have an older brother who helps when he can. But, he can’t help with her moods and behaviors, that’s ALL on me. I have come to loathe the Holidays (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas), because she chooses to be negative and complaining. I have told her that I think it would be best that she enter an Assisted Living Facility where she would get the attention she craves, but she doesn’t want to hear it. I can relate to almost everything that other survivors have written about their Parent(s). I particularly agree with Catherine when she talks about setting your expectations low when talking with them, and how not to think that just because there are a few good happy exchanges you might experience with them, doesn’t mean that they might “change” for the better. They will never.change. That ship has sailed. It feels a bit better to get this out. I pray for all Survivors, and thank those who try to help us sort this out.

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