Living with an abusive parent

How to Escape Abusive Parents: A Guide for Adults

If you’re still living in an abusive home as an adult, it’s crucial to learn how to escape your abusive parents. If you are a minor, please refer to this guide.

Many abusive parents trap their adult children at home using manipulative and abusive tactics to maintain power and control over them. You might feel like there’s no way out.

Many abusers intentionally make their children dependent on them or they might be dependent on their children. You might not have been allowed to get a job, drive, go out with friends, or date. You’re probably used to asking for permission for basically anything.

When you’re so used to having everything decided for you, it only makes sense that you grew physically and perhaps, financially dependent on your parents.

Abusive parents tend to keep their children trapped under their roof well into adulthood so they can continue to abuse or parentify them. They might abuse you to the point you’re so confused, exhausted, and broken that you don’t have any energy to even try to leave. They may also use fear or guilt to keep you from leaving.

This post is a guide for adult children on how to finally escape their abusive parents. You don’t have to leave anytime soon if you don’t want to, but it’s important to at least be prepared.

If you are in immediate danger, call the police.

Realize it’s abuse

Before we continue, it’s important that you realize that what you’re facing is abuse. Any form of abuse or neglect damages your sense of self, leaving you with long-lasting effects that take a lifetime to heal.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to tell whether what you’re dealing with is abuse, especially when your parent is good at hiding who they are from others. They also use tactics like gaslighting and blame-shifting to make you question your own reality and make you believe it’s your fault.

You might have had trouble getting people to believe you or other people you tried to confide in might have even blamed you. They might reprimand you for being disrespectful to your own parents or claim that if your parents are really so bad, you would’ve left already. I know I’ve been there many times.

Many people don’t know how hard it is to leave an abuser until they end up in a similar situation. Regardless of what anyone else says to you, trust yourself. If you are bullied, controlled, silenced, put down, ignored, and treated as lesser than, you are being abused.

How to Escape Abusive Parents – A Guide for Adults

If you’re still dependent or living with your narcissistic parent, it’s okay. I’ve been there. And I’m not telling you to just pack your things and leave because that can create other problems. However, do start preparing for your escape.

You deserve a life where you aren’t constantly mistreated. You deserve a life where you can be free from abuse and toxicity.

When developing your escape plan, please try your best to keep everything a secret from your parents. If they find out that you’re planning to leave them, they might do everything in their power to stop you and make it more difficult for you to try again.

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1. Get support

If you have trusted friends or relatives, reach out to them to discuss how they can support you if and when you leave your abusive parents.

Unfortunately, abusers are really good at isolating you from forming meaningful relationships, so you might not have anyone to reach out to. If that’s the case, you can also find people online who used to be in a similar situation as you for tips, advice, and support.

You can also try contacting organizations or charities that work with abused individuals to connect with people and resources that can help you. Some of them are:

  • Help for Adult Victims of Child Abuse
  • isurvive
  • National Hotlines
  • More resources

2. Gather information

Try to keep a record of your parents’ abusive behavior. These can be audio or video recordings, photos, texts or emails they’ve sent you, or even your own written accounts of things they say or do to you. Also, include any medical attention you’ve needed as a result of their abuse or witnesses for every abusive incident if possible.

Keep your record hidden from the abuser. You can keep a digital folder of it somewhere online and/or password-protect it so that even if they get their hands on your devices, they won’t be able to access it.

This record can be useful if you for some reason need to take legal action one day.

3. Save as much money as you can

A big reason you may be stuck with your abusive parents is that you’re financially dependent on them. But this is not your fault.

Many abusers intentionally created this dynamic with their children so their children will always have to rely on them. It might be hard for other people to understand or sympathize when they see you “leeching” off your parents.

However, it’s important for you to learn to be independent. To be able to achieve independence is to make money for yourself.

If you currently have a job, do your best to save as much as you can. Secretly open an account for yourself and deposit money into it. Do not let your parent know about it.

Try to look for a job if you don’t have a form of steady income. If you’re unable to due to your parents’ control, try to work odd jobs (e.g. babysitting, tutoring, dog walking) while your parents aren’t home. Or find a remote job where you can work discreetly.

If making an income isn’t a possibility, try asking a trusted friend or relative to see if they’d be willing to lend you money. Promise that you’ll pay them back once you are free from your abuser and able to make an income.

4. Collect important documents

If you don’t already have ahold of important documents like your birth certificate, ID, social security card, passport, and other related paperwork to prove your identity, then it’s time to gather them.

If your parents have them and refuse to give them to you, try to make copies of them when they’re not home. You can also find a way to request or apply for various documents if you have one form of identification.

Make sure you at least have enough documentation to prove your identity for when you finally move out and get your own place. You’ll need these documents to find a place to live, get a job, and navigate your life. And it’s easier to get them before you leave than to return afterward for them.

5. Prepare for your move

Start developing a plan for moving and prepare ahead of time.

Preparation is key here. The more prepared you are, the easier the transition will be. Map out as much of your move as possible and hide or erase every evidence of it from your parents.

A. Build your credit

If possible, try to build your credit if you haven’t already. If you are moving out, it’s important to have a good credit score. It will unlock a lot of opportunities down the road.

B. Arrange a place to live

Once you have enough money saved up with preferably a steady income and decent credit, you can look at places to rent for yourself. Or you can find a roommate.

If that’s not possible, perhaps you can move in with someone you trust that’s willing to take you in for the time being or as a roommate.

But definitely have a stable place ready before you actually leave because you don’t want to end up on the streets. While shelters are options, they are not sustainable for the long term. They are also not the safest, so it’s still best to have a safe and stable place ready.

C. Figure out your living expenses

Once you figure out where you’ll stay when you move, it’s time to figure out your living expenses.

Whether you’re living by yourself or with somebody, there will be bills along with the expenses of daily living.

Factor in rent, utilities, internet, phone, food, and other essentials for when you move so you know whether you will have enough income and savings to cover it. If not, plan or adjust accordingly.

Check out this post for money-saving tips.

D. Plan what to pack

When the time comes to move, you might not have enough time or freedom to pack. It’s best to pack when your parents aren’t home, but that might not be possible. And there’s always the possibility that they’ll catch you packing, which they probably won’t react well to.

So plan ahead and prioritize certain items. Make a list of things you need to pack in order of priority.

For example, top priority items might be important documents, money, some essentials, and maybe sentimental items. Low-priority items might be inexpensive things you can easily replace.

If you have time and the ability to, keep going down the list. But if it’s too dangerous, just pack what you need and bolt.

E. Figure out your moving expenses

Make sure you have enough saved up to actually move.

Many places require the first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. Also factor in possible travel costs, moving costs, and money for furniture, appliances, and other necessities.

F. Set up important things early

Once you have a place and moving time in mind, try to set up the important things.

Forward your mail to your new address, change your address on important accounts, and set up things at the new place like utilities and internet.

You wouldn’t want any reason to have to return to your parents and you also wouldn’t want them to get their hands on your mail.

I and my partner’s mail was still being sent to my parent’s home after we left. And she opened every one of them and even stole money from us. Those were mail we never saw again.

So it’s crucial that every mail is set up to be forwarded to your new address. It’s also important to notify all family, friends, and your work of your address change so they won’t send anything to your parents’ place.

6. Don’t say you’re leaving

Do not tell your parents you are leaving or give any indication or hints that you are or will be. If your parents find out, they might do g in their power to make you stay.

And if you stay, their abuse will likely get worse because “how dare you try to leave”.

Remember, they’ve been abusive this whole time. No matter what they say or promise or do, don’t fall for it. Abusive people do not change.

Utilize this Escaping Abusive Parents printables bundle you can download for free. You can use the various resources and printables provided in this freebie alongside this guide to help you prepare and plan for your escape.

It won’t be easy

Leaving your abusive parents might be very difficult and might seem impossible if it’s something that never really crossed your mind and not something you’re prepared for.

Normal, loving parents prepare their children for the outside world while offering support, guidance, and encouragement. Meanwhile, when you have abusive parents, you’re taught that the world is a scary place and that no one’s on your side.

When it feels like you’re alone, it only makes sense to cling to your parents, your only source of comfort in the world, even if they hurt you. It might not make sense to other people why you would hang onto the very thing breaking you down.

They might not understand how hard it is to leave all that behind. They don’t realize the amount of energy, effort, courage, and strength it takes to leave something you’ve known your entire life and to basically start over with no one to guide you.

People with normal, loving parents can go out into the scary world with years of preparation and their parents’ support and encouragement. They also have the option to return whenever it gets too scary out there.

But people with abusive parents don’t have that privilege. Once they leave, they’re all alone with no knowledge of how to survive on their own and nowhere to return to if they don’t make it out there.

Take your time to be prepared

When you think about how someone leaving their abusive parents is like leaving a child out to fend for themselves, it makes a little more sense why people have such trouble leaving.

I know how hard and scary it can be to escape your abusive parents. And I know saying that it’s better for your well-being and your health doesn’t really help.

You’re not guaranteed a better life just because you leave the toxicity behind. The world is hard out there so it makes sense if you’re scared or reluctant.

So take all the time you need. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Teach yourself what your parents never did. Learn to be independent. Grow your support system.

And once you’re ready, whenever that might be, take that first step.

Taking that step into the outside world without your parents is hard and scary. But know that once you can do that, you can finally do what you want to do and be who you want to be. You can finally live your life.

Leaving My Abusive Mother

If you’d like to read more about my journey in getting custody of my siblings, check out this post.

After Your Escape

Escaping your abusive parents means leaving the fog they cause in your life.

Once you’re away from them, you can see things clearer. You will likely feel a significant shift in your life and your mood. All the damage might already be done, but at least they can’t do it anymore.

Do not go back

Once you’ve managed to leave, your parents might use every technique possible to try to get you back. Don’t forget that they can be expert manipulators.

Even if you are struggling on your own, it’s likely best not to go back because again, if you return, it will likely be worse than it was.

If you choose to remain in contact with your parents, learn to set some boundaries. However, just because you can interact with them fine doesn’t mean you can live with them.

Living with someone is completely different than simply hanging out or talking to them.

Remind yourself why you left

There might be times when you may feel tempted to return to your parents. You’ve known them your whole life and you’ve depended on them. But whenever that feeling comes up, remind yourself why you left.

Write things down if you need to. Think about all the abusive behavior you’ve experienced from them. Or look back at the record you kept of all the abusive things they’ve said or done to you. Remind yourself why you need to leave that behind.

Seek help and support

Unfortunately, just because you are physically away from your abusive parents doesn’t mean your mind is. You’ll still need to go through the process of healing to truly free yourself from them. It may be hard but it is possible.

Abuse, especially from your own parents, can do a lot of damage to your sense of self and psychological well-being. If you’re able to, consider seeking professional help. Connect with a certified therapist and get 20% off your first month.

A professional can help you process your experiences and develop tools to heal. They can also guide you to helpful resources to help you achieve independence.

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Healing from an Emotionally Abusive Mother

Being subjected to emotional abuse is hard to make sense of, yet when it’s perpetuated by your mother, its damage can be lifelong and cause you a deep sense of pervasive sadness that is hard to shake.

This article is written to offer hope and encouragement to those who have suffered at the hands of their most significant care-givers with this covert abuse.

If you were raised by an emotionally abusive (detached, dismissive, uninterested, disengaged, cold, unaffectionate, or otherwise invalidating) mother, then you probably struggle internally with a hidden ache in your heart; a sense of lost identity; a silent struggle that others may not even be aware of.

While it is not your fault that your mother was emotionally abusive, it is still, nonetheless, your responsibility to heal from the damaged caused. The good news is that it is possible and you can find freedom. You can take your life back and be the author of your own choices. You don’t have to spend your entire life feeling guilty and inadequate. You can “re-raise yourself.” You do this with loving-kindness and surround yourself with the comfort and safety you so deeply need.

It is important to realize that in order to recover from the damage caused by an abusive mother, you must repair your reality, which has been skewed and damaged by your experience of parenting. The repair process has nothing to do with:

(a) Self-improvement

(b) Fixing your mother

(c) Working on the relationship with your mother

To speed up the process of recovery, there are two mantras you need to tell yourself every day, all day; these are:

It’s not my fault.

I am enough.

Why do you need to repeat these statements every day? Because, when your mother is not available to you in an attuning and nurturing manner, you internally conclude that your mother’s unhappiness is your fault, and that somehow you are a “bad” child. In addition, when your mother is emotionally abusive, she most likely also fed you these messages through blatant statements to that effect, or through implications (guilt trips, silent treatments, pouting, etc.)

After a lifetime of feeding yourself negative messages, they are well-entrenched in your mind. To heal, you must begin by undoing the damage with positive affirmations. The two I offer above are good ones, but if you have some that you prefer and are more meaningful to you, then by all means, use those ones! The point is to have a healthy internal voice that helps cheer you on towards healing.

Tools for Recovery

There are many ingredients needed to recover from emotional abuse. The main ones involve people. The primary damage caused by an abusive mother is attachment trauma. The only way to heal from attachment trauma is to attach. You cannot attach alone.

Here is a basic list of the tools you may want to put in your recovery tool kit in order to recover from this serious emotional trauma:

  1. A good therapist
  2. A Support Group
  3. An Inner Compassionate Companion; an Inner Nurturer (remember those positive mantras I mentioned earlier?)
  4. A journal
  5. Exercise
  6. God
  7. Great Recovery Resources books, websites, music, etc.
  8. Repetition Your brain needs to be rewired. Your brain has to have constant and consistent input that is interpersonally corrective. This needs to happen over and over and over again, so that your brain can be trained to think differently.

Find Your Voice

In addition to the above suggestions, I also recommend that in order to begin healing it is important that you “find your voice.

When you grow up around a toxic mother you are conditioned to believe that only the voice of your mother matters. Along with this you learn that only your mother is allowed to have and express feelings (and opinions.) You watch your other parent abide by these rules, so without thinking you follow suit. This is not a conscious process; it is subconscious under the radar.

An important step in healing is learning to tell your story. Realize that when in a relationship with an emotionally toxic mother, you take on the role of the co-dependent. In this role you exchange your voice in order to meet your mothers needs.

Here are some suggestions for how to find your voice:

  • Be aware of how you care-take your mothers needs and what you get out of it.
  • Examine your role in the relationship.
  • Let go of your mothers life and get a life of your own.
  • Discover your own wants, needs, and desires.
  • Stop trying to change your mother.
  • Be willing to take major risks in order to recover.

There is much more to healing from an abusive mother. This is just the beginning of your journey; but, it’s a good start. If you can continue to build your “recovery tool box,” practice new ways of relating with your mother, find your voice and use it regardless of fear, then you can set yourself free from the tangled web of the damage caused by being raised by an emotionally abusive mother.

If you would like a copy of my free monthly newsletter on the psychology of abuse, please email me at: [email protected]

We didn't teach him that! Where does child cruelty come from

Does a child show cruelty to loved ones, to other children, to animals? What are the reasons for such behavior and how should parents behave? How to distinguish normal aggression from cruelty and how to explain that others may be unpleasant or hurt? The psychologist Anna Skavitina tells.

Anna Skavitina, psychologist, analyst, member of the IAAP (International Association of Analytical Psychology), supervisor of the ROAP and the Jung Institute (Zurich), expert of the Psychology journal

What are you doing?

In a supermarket trading floor, a five-year-old boy runs up with a cart and drives right into me. I do not have time to dodge and shout: “Hey! Stop!" It hurts me, but he does not look at me, he is focused on the process, his eyes are burning with excitement: he has found himself an interesting business in the store. He rapidly accelerates to hit me again. I manage to dodge and shout, looking for his mother with my eyes. Mom wanders along the supermarket shelves with a smartphone. He looks up at me: "Don't yell at my child!" She immediately reacts to the situation. The guy looks back at his mother and, feeling support, accelerates again, threatening to smash the rack with cans. The buyers standing nearby resolutely grabbed the cart, he growled in displeasure, but was forced to stop. Rubbing the future couple of bruises, I really wanted to say that this terrible cruel child will become a criminal / scoundrel / rapist in the future. But I didn't say. Because it's not true, I can't predict from this one incident whether a child will grow up to be a cruel person. But I can hardly imagine that one of the adult buyers would do this. I have heard the expression many times that if children were as physically strong as adults, they would easily destroy our world. This child obviously had nothing to do, and enough energy had accumulated, and he came up with a game for himself. I don't know what role I played in it. Maybe I was a space pirate or a terrible monster, and he was the protector of the entire planet, but I definitely didn’t want to play in this format. nine0003

Any child, in order to live in society, must gradually learn socially acceptable ways of behaving and expressing their aggression, as well as causal relationships: “What will happen if I .. .” This is the main task of socializing a child at an early age.

We don't beat him!

Parents encounter the first manifestations of cruelty in a child around one and a half years . And that's okay! Just if the child does not show any aggression at all, then there are questions about his development. The aggression of the baby baffles many parents: “We didn’t teach him this! We don't beat him! He didn't see anything like that!" nine0020 The child has impulses of aggression, but there are no ways to cope with it yet. For him, there is still no difference between living and not living: what to break off a doll’s hand, what to drag a kitten by the tail. The child is not cruel, just as long as he does not know how to do it and how not to. He is interested in exploring and studying everything, he is curious. He knows what pain is, but he does not understand that he himself can cause pain. There is a goal - I see no obstacles!

And, of course, a very important role at this age is played by parents, who not only stop violent actions, but also show how it should be: “We stroke the cat like this, we don’t drag it by the tail, it hurts. If you need to move a cat, you can call it “kit-kit”, and it will come by itself.” If, in response to the aggressive actions of the child, the parents respond aggressively - they hit back, bite, scratch - "Let him understand what it hurts", then the child either begins to be afraid to show himself completely, becoming frightened and anxious, or decides to go for broke and fight with the whole world to the blood. Which method the child chooses depends on many factors, in particular, on the strength of the mental system. nine0003

Is he in pain?

By the age of , a child usually understands the difference between living and non-living and knows that others can be hurt. The child treats both the cat and the dog, and the people around him with understanding, but he can still be involuntarily sloppy when interacting and cause pain by accident. It can be quite aggressive with strangers, animals, insects, especially if mom or dad says something like: “These animals are contagious”, “I hate insects”, “These children are bad, let's go, let's not play with them”. The child conducts a “bad” connection - it must be removed away, driven away. He can step on a worm, throw a chick to the ground with all his might if he pecked at him. This does not mean that the child is cruel - he reacts to the emotions of his parents and does not fully know how to protect himself. nine0003

Pathopsychologists believe that if a child is constantly aggressive at the age of 2.5-3 years, then this is an alarming bell, and it is better not to draw from the “it will pass by itself” principle and turn to specialists to discuss what is happening and think over a program of interaction with the child. Pathologists say that if families had the opportunity to diagnose behavioral and emotional disorders early, then we would have much less problems with juvenile delinquency and school shooters, because prevention is always better and cheaper than treatment later. nine0003

How useful is kindergarten?

By the age of 5-7 years , the child normally learns the basic social rules: fight, shove, bite, scratch, you can or cannot, how to get what you want without using force. He understands the structure of families "parents and children", he knows that babies need to be taken care of, because parents take care of him. He himself can give arguments that stop the aggression and cruelty of other children: “Don't break the tree, it hurts! Do not take ants, their children will be left alone at home without parents, who will feed and love them? nine0003

Children who go to kindergarten usually socialize better than those who stay at home or go to individual classes in development centers. Why? In the kindergarten, there is a constant team in which the child has to go through numerous interactions with children and other adults.

He spends the first months of the garden on adapting to the fact that now he will sometimes have to be apart from his mother, who, if anything, would instantly start a rescue operation. Then he begins to look for his place in the team, learns ways to protect himself from aggressive children, tries to be aggressive with others, usually gets an aggressive response, tries other ways. Yes, alas, being periodically aggressive in kindergarten is the norm. And the norm is sometimes to be bitten or scratched. nine0003

And it's not about "where the caregivers look if one child has bitten another" - it's instant! The educator's job is to stop and explain other ways of interaction, just like the job of the child's parents. Not the norm - if an aggressive child has only this way of interacting with the outside world.
And if a child goes to different master classes and individual classes, then he is constantly at the introductory stage, adapting to the room, children, teacher, and next time everything is new again. nine0003

How to teach him?

Some preschoolers do not have enough time or opportunities to learn the norms and rules of life in society, and they continue to do this in primary school and beyond. But if a child of 7-8 years old continues to be cruel towards other children, towards animals, it is imperative to show him to a specialist. You should not think that this is his "period of development" and wave your hand. Parents regularly turn to chats for support: “They want to kick my child out of school because he is aggressive, he broke the boy’s nose, and the girl’s arm. Do they have such a right? No, I don’t want to go to specialists, but why?” What for? Firstly, to understand whether everything is in order with the psyche of the child himself. He may need medical attention. Did he himself experience violence, persecution? Perhaps he needs psychological support. He definitely needs to be taught more adequate ways to cope with his aggressive impulses, if for some reason his parents failed to do this earlier. Perhaps he needs pedagogical support. nine0003

It is very important to understand and convey to children that social rules and restrictions have arisen in society not to infringe on the rights of the child and not let him express himself, but to protect him!

Imagine that you are teaching like this: "They hit you - immediately hit back!". What's happening? You have a strong and courageous kid who decides to respond to aggression with even more aggression, to protect himself, making everyone afraid of himself. Seems great? But next time there will be an even stronger and more courageous baby, and maybe with dad or mom as support, who will answer your baby with his fists and very strongly. What will you do if your child is severely beaten? You will be beside yourself with rage and go to defend him, but they will answer you that "your first started." This is an example of the escalation of aggression, teaching cruelty and non-constructive ways to stand up for yourself. If today a child is dissatisfied with someone, tomorrow another person will experience hatred for him: it is very important to understand that you can be dissatisfied and even hate, and every person has the right to any emotions, but not to any actions. There is a vital need to resolve issues with the help of words, in a peaceful way, if we live in a society. nine0003

Read also:

Children's aggression: understand and neutralize

7 contradictions in education that torment modern mothers

Words or fists? How to teach your child to stand up for themselves

Photo: Suzanne Tucker, RimDream, Billion Photos/Shutterstock

parenting tips

6 types of toxic parents and how to deal with them

February 27, 2021 Relationship

If someone is ruining your life, you can't sit back. Even if those people are your parents.

You can not only read this article, but also listen to it. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.

Susan Forward

PhD, psychotherapist, author of Toxic Parents, Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Love Them, Emotional Blackmail.

Toxic parents injure their children, treat them cruelly, humiliate them, harm them. And not only physical, but also emotional. They continue to do this even when the child becomes an adult. nine0003

1. Infallible parents

Such parents perceive children's disobedience, the slightest manifestations of individuality as an attack on themselves, and therefore they defend themselves. They insult and humiliate the child, destroy his self-esteem, hiding behind the good goal of "tempering character."

How the effect manifests itself

Usually the children of infallible parents consider them perfection. They have psychological protection.

  • Negation. The child invents another reality in which his parents love him. Denial provides temporary relief, which is costly: sooner or later it results in an emotional crisis. nine0020 Example: "Actually, my mother does not insult me, but she does better: she opens her eyes to the unpleasant truth."
  • Desperate hope. Children cling with all their might to the myth of perfect parents and blame themselves for all misfortunes.
    Example: "I am not worthy of a good relationship, mom and dad want the best for me, but I don't appreciate it. "
  • Rationalization. This is a search for good reasons that explain what is happening in order to make it less painful for the child.
    Example: "My father beat me not to hurt me, but to teach me a lesson."

What to do

Realize that it is not your fault that your parents constantly resort to insults and humiliation. Therefore, it makes no sense to try to prove something to toxic parents.

A good way to understand the situation is to look at what happened through the eyes of an outside observer. This will allow you to realize that parents are not so infallible, and rethink their actions.

2. Inadequate parents

Determining the toxicity and inadequacy of parents who do not beat or bully a child is more difficult. Indeed, in this case, harm is caused not by action, but by inaction. Often such parents themselves behave like powerless and irresponsible children. They make the child grow up faster and meet their needs.

How the influence manifests itself

  • The child becomes a parent to himself, younger brothers and sisters, his own mother or father. He loses his childhood. nine0020 Example: "How can you ask to go out when your mother doesn't have time to wash everything and cook dinner?"
  • Victims of toxic parents experience feelings of guilt and despair when they cannot do something for the good of the family.
    Example: “I can't put my little sister to bed, she cries all the time. I'm a bad son."
  • The child may lose emotions due to lack of emotional support from parents. As an adult, he experiences problems with self-identification: who he is, what he wants from life and love relationships. nine0020 Example: “I entered a university, but it seems to me that this is not the specialty that I like. I don't even know who I want to be."

What to do

Household chores should not take the child more time than studying, playing, walking, talking with friends. It is difficult to prove this to toxic parents, but it is possible. Operate with facts: “I will not study well if cleaning and cooking are only on me”, “The doctor advised me to spend more time outdoors and play sports.” nine0003

3. Controlling parents

Excessive control can look like caution, discretion, care. But toxic parents in this case only care about themselves. They are afraid of becoming unnecessary, and therefore they make sure that the child depends on them as much as possible, feels helpless.

Favorite phrases of toxic controlling parents:

  • "I am doing this solely for you and your benefit."
  • "I did this because I love you very much." nine0104
  • "Do it or I won't talk to you anymore."
  • "If you don't do this, I'll have a heart attack."
  • "If you don't do it, you will cease to be a member of our family."

All this means one thing: "I am doing this because the fear of losing you is so great that I am ready to make you miserable. "

Parents-manipulators who prefer hidden control do not get their way with direct requests and orders, but on the sly, forming a sense of guilt. They provide "disinterested" help, which forms a sense of duty in the child. nine0003

How the impact manifests itself

  • Children controlled by toxic parents become overly anxious. They lose the desire to be active, to explore the world, to overcome difficulties.
    Example: "I'm very afraid of traveling by car because my mother always said it was very dangerous."
  • If a child tries to argue with his parents, to disobey them, this threatens him with a sense of guilt, his own betrayal.
    Example: “I stayed overnight with a friend without permission, the next morning my mother fell ill with a heart condition. I will never forgive myself if something happens to her." nine0104
  • Some parents love to compare their children to each other, to create an atmosphere of anger and jealousy in the family.
    Example: “Your sister is much smarter than you, what are you born into?”.
  • The child constantly feels that he is not good enough, he strives to prove his worth.
    Example: “I always aspired to become like my older brother, and even went to medical school like him, although I wanted to become a programmer.”

What to do

Get out of control without fear of consequences. As a rule, this is a simple blackmail. When you realize that you are not part of your parents, you will no longer depend on them.

4. Alcoholic parents

Alcoholic parents usually deny that there is a problem at all. A mother, suffering from her husband's drunkenness, shields him, justifies the frequent use of alcohol by the need to relieve stress or problems with the boss.

The child is usually taught that dirty linen should not be taken out of the hut. Because of this, he is constantly tense, lives in fear of accidentally betraying his family, revealing a secret. nine0003

How the impact manifests itself

  • Children of alcoholics often become lonely. They do not know how to build friendships or love relationships, they suffer from jealousy and suspicion.
    Example: "I'm always afraid that my loved one will bring me pain, so I don't start a serious relationship."
  • In such a family, a child can grow up hyper-responsible and insecure.
    Example: “I used to help my mother put my drunk father to bed. I was scared that he would die, I was worried that there was nothing I could do about it.” nine0104
  • Another toxic effect of such parents is the transformation of the child into "invisibility".
    Example: “Mom tried to wean my father from drinking, coded him, constantly looking for new medicines. We were left to ourselves, no one asked if we ate, how we study, what we are fond of.
  • Children suffer from feelings of guilt.
    Example: “As a child, I was constantly told: “If you behaved well, dad would not drink.

According to statistics, every fourth child from a family of alcoholics becomes an alcoholic himself. nine0003

What to do

Don't take responsibility for your parents drinking. If you can convince them that there is a problem, chances are they will consider coding. Communicate with prosperous families, do not let us convince ourselves that all adults are the same.

5. Humiliating parents

Such parents constantly insult and criticize the child, often unreasonably, or make fun of him. It can be sarcasm, ridicule, offensive nicknames, humiliation that is passed off as caring: “I want to help you get better”, “We need to prepare you for a cruel life.” Parents can make the child an "accomplice" in the process: "He understands that this is just a joke." nine0003

Sometimes humiliation is associated with a sense of competition. Parents feel that the child gives them unpleasant emotions, and turn on the pressure: “You can’t do better than me.

How impact manifests itself

  • This attitude kills self-esteem and leaves deep emotional scars.
    Example: “For a long time I couldn't believe I could do anything more than take out the trash, as my father used to say. And I hated myself for it."
  • Children of rival parents pay for their peace of mind by sabotaging their success. They prefer to underestimate their real abilities.
    Example: “I wanted to participate in the street dance competition, I prepared well for it, but I didn't dare to try it. Mom always said I couldn't dance like her."
  • Violent verbal attacks can be driven by the unrealistic expectations that adults place on the child. And it is he who suffers when the illusions collapse. nine0020 Example: “Dad was sure that I would become a great hockey player. When I was once again expelled from the section (I did not like and did not know how to skate), he called me worthless and incapable of anything for a long time.
  • The failure of children in toxic parents usually leads to the apocalypse.
    Example: “I kept hearing: ‘I wish you hadn’t been born. And this is due to the fact that I did not take first place at the Mathematics Olympiad.”

Children who grow up in such families often have suicidal tendencies. nine0003

What to do

Find a way to block insults and humiliation so they don't hurt you. Don't let us seize the initiative in the conversation. If you answer in monosyllables, do not succumb to manipulation, insults and humiliation, toxic parents will not achieve their goal. Remember: you don't have to prove anything to them.

End communication when you want it. And preferably before you begin to feel unpleasant emotions.

6. Abusers

Parents who consider violence the norm were most likely brought up in the same way. For them, this is the only opportunity to throw out anger, cope with problems and negative emotions. nine0003

Physical abuse

Proponents of corporal punishment usually take out their fears and complexes on children or sincerely believe that spanking will benefit education, make the child courageous and strong. In reality, the opposite is true: physical punishment inflicts the strongest mental, emotional and bodily harm.

Sexual abuse

Susan Forward characterizes incest as "an emotionally destructive betrayal of the basic trust between child and parent, an act of total perversion." The little victims are at the mercy of the aggressor, they have nowhere to go and no one to ask for help. nine0003

90% of child survivors of sexual abuse do not tell anyone about it.

How the impact manifests itself

  • The child experiences a feeling of helplessness and despair, because asking for help can be fraught with new outbursts of anger and punishment.
    Example: “I didn't tell anyone about my mother's beating until I was almost an adult. Because I knew no one would believe me. She explained the bruises on my legs and arms by the fact that I like to run and jump.” nine0104
  • Children begin to hate themselves, their emotions are constant anger and revenge fantasies.
    Example: “I couldn't admit it to myself for a long time, but as a child I wanted to strangle my father while he was sleeping. He beat my mother, younger sister. I'm glad they got him."
  • Sexual abuse does not always involve contact with a child's body, but it is no less destructive. Children feel guilty about what happened. They are ashamed, they are afraid to tell someone about what happened.
    Example: “I was the quietest student in the class, I was afraid that my father would be called to school, the secret would be revealed. He intimidated me: he constantly said that if this happens, everyone will think that I have lost my mind, they will send me to a psychiatric hospital.
  • Children keep the pain in themselves so as not to break up the family.
    Example: “I saw that my mother loves my stepfather very much. Once I tried to hint to her that he treats me “in an adult way”. But she burst into tears so much that I didn’t dare to talk about it anymore. ” nine0104
  • A child abuse survivor often leads a double life. He feels disgusting, but pretends to be a successful, self-sufficient person. He cannot build normal relationships, considers himself unworthy of love. This is a wound that takes a very long time to heal.
    Example: “I always considered myself 'dirty' because of what my father did to me as a child. I decided to go on a first date after 30 years, when I went through several courses of psychotherapy.

What to do

The only way to escape from a rapist is to distance yourself, to run away. Do not close in on yourself, but seek help from relatives and friends who you can trust, seek help from psychologists and the police.

How to deal with toxic parents

1. Accept this fact. And understand that you are unlikely to be able to change your parents. But myself and my attitude to life - yes.

2. Remember that their toxicity is not your fault.

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