Parents can be toxic too! Here’s how they can take a toll on your mental health

No toxic relationships are good for your well-being. And if at all your parents are toxic, it can double your risk of developing certain mental health problems.
challenges with infertility
Many wonder if mental illness runs in the family. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 17 Aug 2021, 12:00 pm IST
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Every child deserves to be born into a loving, happy family. In fact, every parent wants to be able to do right by their kids. But certain things stand between the kind of parent a child needs and how they actually are. While most parents do their best to provide their kids with a happy and healthy upbringing, sometimes their love can turn toxic.

There’s no secret that we are all surrounded by different kinds of people, including the toxic ones. You can come across such people anywhere, like at your workplace, in your friend circle, or even at home. When a person who tries to bring you down is your own parent, it can leave a child hurt.

Also, read: The right way to break up with a toxic partner: A psychiatrist offers advice

But the truth is that parents are human beings too. And that means that they can unintentionally hurt their kids too. Toxic parenting, however, involves parents who carry a promise of love and care, but at the same time, mistreat their children. This can lead to humiliation, ill-will, traumatic events, and abusive behaviour towards children. This affects the mental and emotional health of a child.

toxic parents
Try to understand them and deal with their behaviour in a better manner. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
So here are a few tell-tale signs you need to be aware of to recognize if your parents are toxic.
  1. Toxic parents can be critical, controlling, and abusive. They tend to neglect your needs. 
  2. They often overreact, become dramatic or exaggerate during incidents. 
  3. They are self centred and only concerned with their own wants and needs and never think about other people.
  4. They are emotionally reactive and unpredictable. 
  5. Toxic people can be disrespectful. They fail to treat you with even a basic level of respect and kindness. 
  6. You feel like you’re being manipulated into something you don’t want to do. So if your parents use guilt, denial, and trivializing to get what they want, they’re toxic.
  7. Not only do they always need to be right, but they also act like they’re in competition with you.
  8. The most important sign of a toxic parent is that they don’t care about boundaries. They would invade your privacy without any consideration and they have no problem controlling your life.

Their interfering, controlling, abusive and manipulative behaviour can make their child’s life suffocating. 

toxic parents
You must take care of your mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here are some of the effects of toxic parenting on you:
  1. If you’re a child of a toxic parent then you have a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
  2. Children of abusive parents are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  3. If you are a sensitive person, and in case, if you make mistakes that upset your parents, you can become overly self-critical and blame yourself for everything.
  4. You may experience chronic stress in your life because of toxic parents therefore you are more likely to experience other health problems as well.
  5. While self-sabotaging is definitely an unhealthy behaviour, it is very common and very normal if you’re surrounded by toxic people
  6. If you grew up with toxic parents, boundaries are non-existent, and therefore it’s kind of hard to say no to things. 
  7. Your stress responses are triggered more easily, which is very common. 
  8. With toxic parents, you often spend a lot of time sifting through passive-aggressive comments, guilt, and mixed signals therefore you may experience fatigue more often.
  9. In fact, individuals with the most dysfunctional relationships were at a higher risk of developing heart problems in their lives.

When the family becomes toxic, it can leave a significant impact on both mental and emotional well-being, and therefore, breaking the toxic cycle is extremely important. But remember that hating your parents because they’re toxic is not the solution to this problem. 

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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