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.

26 Comments

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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 🙂

    • 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!

    • 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. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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!

  4. 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

    • 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!

  5. 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 …

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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?

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Written by Catherine Huang

Catherine Huang graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in English. She has a penchant for storytelling, ramen, and psychology. Catherine is a writer for Psych2Go and looks forward to reaching out to its growing community, hoping to encourage others to tap into self-examination and confront life's challenges head on with the most difficult questions.

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