What to do With a Toxic Parent
When you’re a child, you want to believe the best about your parents or guardians. They are your role models. These are the individuals who show you what it’s like to be an adult. You’re watching your parents or guardians and how they behave, learning patterns from them. As we get older, we start to realize the unhealthy dynamics that may be present in families. If you know that there is a toxic dynamic between you and one of you or both of your parents, it’s upsetting. Even if you’re at a loss as to how to cope with these problems, there’s a solution. There are ways to manage, and you don’t have to deal with being mistreated by your parents. Here’s how to identify if there is a toxic dynamic between you and one of your parents and what you can do about it.
You can’t change people
You may want things to be different between you and your parent(s). Naturally, you want to see them as a mentor or someone who could help you through life. If they’re putting you down and making you feel small, that isn’t okay. Sometimes it’s beyond “not okay,” and it falls into the category of abuse. You may find that you’re going to them for help, and they are making you feel like you did something wrong or you’re not trying hard enough. That’s a bad feeling, and it’s not acceptable to treat somebody like that. Shaming people isn’t going to help them achieve their goals. If that’s what’s going on between you and your parent, you don’t have to take that. It’s a toxic dynamic, and you can set boundaries to let them know you don’t want to be treated that way. You’re not going to change somebody and their behavior, even if it’s someone who is close to you. It’s important to accept that you cannot modify the way someone behaves, but you can control your reaction to them.
It’s crucial to set boundaries in relationships. It’s especially important when you have somebody who is a toxic individual. Because you’re dealing with your parents, you may have to interact with them in some way. Perhaps you can have a limited relationship where you share less about your life. That way, you don’t involve yourself in a power struggle with that person. Maybe there are some topics that are off-limits. Perhaps you don’t want to talk about your job or your personal life. You can keep the conversation casual. If you find that things are getting heated and you’re talking to them on the phone or via text, you can stop the conversation and say that you have to go. There are situations where your parent doesn’t respect your boundaries to the point where you may need to cut them off.
Don’t blame yourself
It’s tempting to blame yourself when you have a toxic parent. That’s a trap that many people fall into and dealing with a toxic individual. You want to have a reason why this person is hurting you. It doesn’t seem to make sense, and it’s hard to understand why somebody could be so cruel. Remember does not have to do with you. This has to do with this individuals’ issues. If your parent is abusive or malicious, it is because of something they’re struggling with, and it doesn’t have to do with something you said or did. Do you not blame yourself for someone else’s actions. You’re going to end up unnecessarily hurting yourself when there’s no need for that.
Ending contact with a toxic person
Unfortunately, there are situations where the parent is so abusive that you need to cut them out of your life. It’s a terrible feeling because you want to have a good relationship with the person who raised you. But if they were so toxic and abusive that it’s not a sustainable relationship and it isn’t better in your life, it is okay to cut them out of your life. Just because somebody is a family member does not mean that they have to stay in your life if they are hurting or abusing you. Set the appropriate boundaries for yourself in the relationship and see if that person respects those limits. If they are unable to respect your boundaries, then you have the right to cut them out. You’re not doing anything wrong by putting yourself first. Before cutting them out, you may want to try to rectify some of the issues in the relationship. You can do this in therapy.
Online therapy can help you heal
You may choose to take your parent to a therapy session with you. If you choose online therapy for treatment, it’s an excellent place to discuss any conflicts you have with your parents. Your therapist can mediate between the two of you. If you want to discuss these issues privately, you can talk with an individual online counselor about what’s going on with you and your relationship with your parents. You can discuss these issues in online therapy at a place like BetterHelp.com. Take advantage of having a safe and secure place to discuss issues surrounding toxicity in relationships. You have a chance to heal with someone who is dedicated to your care.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
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