When was the last time your parents asked you of your well-being?
If you don’t remember, then you should certainly be alarmed as this is one of the major signs of a toxic parent.
As surprising as it might sound, one can have a toxic relationship with their parents as well. It can be tough to accept, as we live in a society where our parents are always supposed to be right. Don’t get me wrong here. I love my parents and I will forever be grateful for the things they have done for me. Nevertheless, as we grow up, our parents become more human to us and we start noticing their flaws.
Just like every other kid, I used to consider my parents as superheroes. Though, as I grew up, I got to know the mistakes they have made and where they went wrong in their journey. While my parents are the opposite of toxic, I have seen some of my friends dealing with their toxic parents several times. As I tried to help them, I got to know some of the evident signs of a very toxic parent and what should be done to resolve this situation.
Why questioning our parent’s motive is not wrong?
If you are a strong and independent adult who still can’t take the smallest of decisions without your parent’s approval, then you need to step back and question how independent you are. Too often, we bend over backwards and do some unwanted things, just to make our parents happy. While your parents can have their heart in the right place, chances are that they could be emotionally manipulating you.
Most of the parents want their kids to live their life on their terms. To achieve this, they can walk an extra mile and can even indulge in a toxic behavior. As an individual, you need to understand that nothing is more important than your peace of mind. If a toxic parent is affecting your mental health, then you need to bring a much-needed change in your life. To do this, you need to start by identifying the signs of a harmful parent first.
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12 Telltale Signs of a Toxic Parent
Most of the times, we overlook the signs of a parent who is toxic just because we love them too much or can’t question their authority. The next time you experience these instances, you should certainly be alarmed.
- They emotionally blackmail you
This is undoubtedly one of the most evident signs of a harmful parent. If they use their emotions just to blackmail you, then you should certainly take a step back and analyze their behavior. A lot of times, our parents ask us to do something because they are getting old or the fact that they brought us into the world.
See, if they want you to take them to a doctor or simply spend some time with them, then it isn’t emotional blackmail. It only means that they miss you or need your assistance. On the other hand, if they want you to do a certain job, date someone they like, have babies at a specific age, or change the entire course of your life by emotionally blackmailing you, then you need to handle this wisely.
- They don’t respect your choices
As an adult, you have the right to make your own choices. From the person you love to your career choices, no one else should have the prerogative to make the final call. While your friends and parents can give their valuable suggestions, it is you who should take the final decision. If you parents don’t respect the choices that you have made, then it can be a sign of a toxic relationship.
- They criticize you way too much
Let’s be honest – almost every parent criticizes their kids while growing up. After all, constructive criticism can help us grow at times. Though, if you are an adult and your parents always criticize you on a daily basis, then it could be one of the major signs of a harmful parent. Focus on their feedback regarding details like your dressing sense or the way you cook to notice how critical they have become.
- They make unrealistic comparisons
If you have a sibling, then you can understand the struggle of being compared to someone all the time. Parents need to understand that every child is different. While growing up, we get compared to our friends and siblings way too much. If the behavior continues and your parents still draw similar comparisons, then it can be a sign of toxicity.
- They don’t respect your personal space
There are certain boundaries in every relationship that should never be crossed. No matter how much your parents love you they should not cross your personal space. If they are invading your space, you should take a step back and let them know the same in a subtle way.
- They overreact to the smallest of things
No one likes to create a scene on the smallest of issues except toxic people. We all face unexpected situations on a daily basis and choose to overlook them. On the other hand, if a parent is making a scene over an irreverent issue, then they could be doing the wrong thing.
- They make unreasonable demands
As surprising as it might sound, there are times when our parents demand us certain things. It doesn’t have to be a materialistic or financial demand. In fact, their demands are usually related to our personal lives. If this is the case, then you should let your parents know that they are being unreasonable and that you aren’t going to do the impossible just to please them.
- They compete with you
There comes a time when our parents start to compete with us. I’m not saying it happens all the time or so directly, but our parents can get jealous of us. They can start competing with us even on the smallest of things. Needless to say, this is one of those signs of a parent who is toxic that is quite easy to notice.
- They play the blame game
In any toxic relationship, it is observed that the perpetrator always plays the victim. If your parents always blame you for even the slightest of discomfort in their lives, then you need to take a step back. Try to let them know their mistake so that they can bring a change in their attitude.
- They don’t value your emotions
It is said that our parents can understand our emotions in the way that no other individual can. Sadly, at times, certain things can cloud their judgment or they can completely overlook your feelings as well. As I said before, if you haven’t had a heartfelt discussion with your parents, then you need to contemplate a few things for sure.
- They don’t encourage you
Even if you are not a parent, you need to agree on this. It is a parent’s job to encourage their children to pursue their dreams. After all, that is how we nurture our kids. A lot of parents stop doing that after a time. Particularly after their kids become an adult, they stop encouraging them. Parents need to understand that they should encourage their kids no matter how old they are else the relationship can become toxic.
- They never apologize
Let’s be honest, we all are human beings and it is quite natural to make mistakes. Just like you, your parents also have flaws and must have made some wrong decisions. Though, it is important to apologize for our mistakes, whenever necessary. If your parents keep hurting you with their words or actions, but have never apologized for it, then consider this as a toxic behavior.
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How to Handle a Toxic Parent?
After getting to know the prominent signs of a toxic and harmful parent, you would certainly be able to analyze the kind of relationship you have with your parents. If you think it is toxic, then I would consider the following suggestions.
- Identify the toxic behavior
Firstly, you need to identify the kind of toxic behavior your parents have. Furthermore, try to identify if both of them have the same thoughts or just one of them is toxic towards you. A lot of times, it is noticed that only a single parent is toxic and the other one simply agrees with them.
- Set strict boundaries
If you think a parent is toxic to you, then you need to set clear boundaries. Let them know the things that you don’t like and what makes you uncomfortable. It is important to inform them politely about it so that they can understand the issue as well.
- Have a thoughtful discussion
Try to have a thoughtful conversation with them in order to understand the issue. Sometimes, we reflect the behavior of our own parents while raising a child. Chances are that your parents could have had strict or missing guardians as well. They could be trying to compensate that or simply repeat the mistake their parents have made. Have a frank discussion with them in order to meet them halfway.
- Detach yourself
If even after sharing your concerns and having a discussion with them, your parents still have a toxic behavior, then you need to maintain some space. It won’t be the easiest thing to do, but you need to do it for your own mental peace. Take it one day at a time and gradually detach yourself from their toxicity. Remember, you can still love them by being detached.
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I’m sure that after getting to know about these signs of a toxic parent, you would certainly be able to contemplate the relationship you have with your parents. There are numerous other ways to deal with this situation as well, which would largely depend on your condition.
What kind of relationship do you share with your parents? Let us know about it in the comments below.
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