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Growing Up With Toxic Parents

Did you grow up with toxic parents, or are you a toxic parent? If you have been brought up by a toxic parent or you're one, chances are that you can't accept or identify it.

Who are toxic parents? Simple, Parents who do unloving and hurtful things in the name of love.

Growing up, the seeds of everything you're inspired and driven to do throughout your life, your choices and so on, are planted by your parents, their upbringing and thought patterns.

In some families, they are seeds of love, respect, independence and healthy choices.

But in most families, these are seeds of obligation, guilt, fear and being in control. No parent is perfect, and that's completely okay; it's okay for parents to be imperfectly perfect, but there is a difference between recurring abusive behaviour and small mistakes while parenting. It's not that toxic parents don't love their children, some definitely do, but some are just projecting their wounds, trauma, and upbringing onto their child, while some are punishing their children for the mistakes they make or made in their life, an easy outlet.

Attachment and abandonment wounds, blanking out on childhood, depression, anxiety, crippling feelings of guilt and shame, and low self-worth are some of the frequent effects of a toxic upbringing.

Not just that, we all tend to repeat patterns of feelings, no matter how painful and self-defeating they may be, like staying in an abusive relationship by justifying it, like - 'he/she loves me but has bad days and took it out on me, he/she is really good at heart though, I have to be there for them' or 'you have to sacrifice your happiness in life to be there for loved ones no matter what.

While healthy families encourage -

  • Individuality

  • Autonomy

  • Responsibility

  • Independence

  • Sense of self-worth and adequacy

  • Compassion

It’s very hard to accept that your parents were/are toxic

They have given you so much, sacrificed for you, provided you with everything you desired and so on. Even if they didn't provide anything, it's still hard to accept that your parents were toxic and it could be affecting your current life and your choices, but it's undeniable that children have little frame of reference outside the family, and everything they learn about themselves and others become universal truths engraved deeply in their minds.

The most common toxic behavioural patterns include:

  1. Calling names and insulting constantly with demeaning terms

  2. Constantly criticizing even when the child tries really hard

  3. Using physical pain to discipline

  4. Getting drunk or using drugs in front of the kids

  5. Depressed and emotionally unavailable parents make the child hyper-independent or with no emotional stability

  6. A child parenting a parent

  7. Parents telling a child's secrets to relatives and others makes it sound funny but actually inflicts deep-rooted trust issues.

  8. Punishment for expressing opinions or refusing to do something making the child afraid to trust their judgement or set boundaries

Understandably it affects the child's life after growing up in different ways -

  1. Attracted to and entering abusive relationships, possessing a toxic attachment style (avoidant or anxious)

  2. Believing that people will hurt or abandon

  3. Expecting the worst from people and life in general

  4. Low self-awareness or you don’t know very well who you are, what you feel and what you are and so on

  5. Fear of people not liking you if they knew the real you

  6. Feeling like a fraud

  7. Getting angry or sad for no apparent reason (emotional flashbacks)

  8. Hard time relaxing or having a good time

  9. You are a perfectionist

  10. Finding yourself behaving like your parents, even if you don’t want to

  11. Not being able to connect with anyone emotionally, over-giving, over-expecting or taking up the parent role in the relationship.

Did you connect with this blog post and feel like you have grown up in a toxic home, or have you always known but didn't feel like accepting it? Or did you accept it but feel you can't do anything about it? Or are you being a toxic parent? If you answered yes to any one, it's time to make a change, it's time to re-program your mind, it's time to nurture your inner child. Because if you don't, you will always feel held back or stuck in certain ways or do the same to your child. It's time to re-learn a lot. Get started with acceptance first before you take active steps to recover.


Adrija Choudhury

The Hekate Guidance

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