Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

Stronger for the Breaks – How to Heal from a Toxic Parent


Stronger for the Breaks - How to Heal from a Toxic Parent

It’s one thing to be dipped in venom by those you don’t really care about, but when it’s by the person who is meant to love you, hold you, and take the sharp edges off the world, while teaching you with love, wisdom and warmth how to do it for yourself, it changes you. There is a different kind of hurt that can only come from a toxic parent – someone who is meant to love you. Kind of like being broken from the inside out.

There's a kind of hurt that can only come from people who are meant to love you. 'Healing from Toxic Parents' Click To Tweet

The scarring and hurt that comes from a toxic parent probably isn’t something we talk about enough. None of us are perfect, including our parents, but there is a point at which imperfect becomes destructive, taking away from children the love, warmth and nurturing they deserve and replacing it with something awful.

When children are raised on a diet of criticism, judgement, abuse and loathing, it’s only a matter of time before they take over from those parents, delivering with full force to themselves the toxic lashings that have been delivered to them. 

Toxic parents come in many shapes. Some are so obvious that they can be spotted from space through the eye of a needle. Some are a bit more subtle. All are destructive.

A toxic parent has a long list of weapons, but all come under the banner of neglect or emotional, verbal or physical abuse. Toxic parents lie, manipulate, ignore, judge, abuse, shame, humiliate and criticise. Nothing is ever good enough. You get an A, they’ll want an A+. You get an A+, they’ll wonder why you aren’t school captain. You make school captain, your sister would have been a better one. And you’ll never be pretty like her. They’ll push you down just to criticise you for the way you fall. That, or they’ll shove you off a cliff to show the world how well they catch you. They oversee childhoods with no warmth, security or connection. 

Any negative behaviour that causes emotional damage or contaminates the way a person sees himself or herself, is toxic. A toxic parent treat his or her children in such a way as to make those children doubt their importance, their worth, and that they are deserving of love, approval and validation. If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Well yeah, my parent/s did that, but only because it was true – I’m pretty useless at life,’ then chances are that parent was a toxic one. The truth is that you, like every other small person on the planet, deserved love, warmth, and to know how important you were. You’re not useless at life – you’ve bought in to the messages that were delivered by a parent too broken to realise what they were doing. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. 

It is possible to heal from by toxic parenting. It begins with the decision that the legacy of shame and hurt left behind by a toxic parent won’t be the way your story will end.

How to heal from a toxic parent.

Here are some ways to move forward.

  1. It’s okay to let go of a toxic parent.

    This is such a difficult decision, but it could be one of the most important. We humans are wired to connect, even with people who don’t deserve to be connected to us. Sometimes though, the only way to stop the disease spreading is to amputate. It doesn’t matter how much you love some people, they are broken to the point that they will only keep damaging you from the inside out. You’re not responsible for them or for the state of your relationships with them, and you are under no obligation to keep lining yourself up be abused, belittled, shamed or humiliated. Healing starts with expecting more for yourself, and you’re the only person who can make that decision. 

  2. And it’s okay not to.

    Don’t be harsh on yourself if you stay in the relationship. The act of returning to an abusive relationship can set trigger self-loathing. ‘Why aren’t I strong enough?’ Know that loyalty is such an admirable trait, even if it gets in the way of your capacity to protect yourself. Own where you are and give yourself full permission to be there. Accept that for now, this is where you’re at, and fully experience what that’s like for you. You’ll never love yourself enough to change your expectations if you’re flogging yourself for not being strong enough. It takes tremendous strength to keep walking into a relationship that you know is going to hurt you. When you’re ready, you’ll make the move to do something differently. For now though, wherever you are is okay.

  3. Be honest about the possibilities.

    If you’re going to stay, know that it’s okay to put a boundary between yourself and your parent. You can act from love and kindness if you want to – but don’t stay in the relationship unless you can accept that the love you deserve will never come back to you. Ever. If it was going to, it would have reached you by now. See their behaviour for what it is – evidence of their breaks, not evidence of yours. Put a forcefield around yourself and let their abuse bounce off. Love yourself and respect yourself enough to fill the well that they bleed dry. They might not be capable of giving you the love and respect you deserve, but you are.

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  4. Be careful of repeating the patterns with other people

    You might find yourself drawn to people who have similarities to your toxic parent. There’s a really good reason for this. All of us are driven to find an ending to things that remain unresolved. Because love, warmth and nurturing are such an important part of child development, yet so elusive for the child of a toxic parent, it’s very normal for those children to be driven to find a resolution to never feeling loved, secure or good enough. They will look to receive what they didn’t get from their parents in others and will often be drawn to people who have similarities to their toxic parent. With similar people, the patterns will be easier to replicate, and the hope of an ending closer to the desired one – parent love – will be easier to fulfil. That’s the theory. The pattern often does repeat, but because of the similarities to the parent, so does the unhappy ending.

    The decisions aren’t conscious ones, so to move towards healing, the automatic thoughts and feelings driving the choices need to be brought more into awareness. If this is something that’s familiar for you, it’s possible that you are being drawn to the wrong people because they remind you of your toxic parent, and somewhere inside you where your wanted things stay hidden, is the wish that you’ll get from them what you weren’t able to get from your parent. Look at the people in your life and explore the similarities they have with your own parents. What do they do that’s similar? What do you do that’s similar to the way you are in your relationship with your parents? Which needs are being met? What keeps you there? The more awareness you have, the more you can make deliberate decisions that aren’t driven by historical wants.

  5. Own your right to love and respect.

    One of the greatest acts of self-love is owning your right to love and respect from the people you allow close to you. You’re completely entitled to set the conditions for your relationships, as other people are to set the conditions for theirs. We all have to treat those we love with kindness, generosity and respect if we want the same back. If those conditions aren’t met, you’re allowed to close the door. You’re allowed to slam it closed behind them if you want to.

  6. Be careful of your own toxic behaviour.

    You’ve been there, so you know the behaviours and you know what they do. We’re all human. We’re all going to get it wrong sometimes. Toxic behaviour though, is habitual and it will damage the members of your own little tribe as surely as it damaged you. You don’t have to be a product of the inept, cruel parenting that was shown to you, and this starts with the brave decision that the cycle stops at you. People who do this, who refuse to continue a toxic legacy, are courageous, heroic and they change the world. We’re here to build amazing humans, not to tear them down. How many lives could have been different if your parent was the one who decided that enough was enough.

  7. You’re allowed to make mistakes and you’re allowed to do it on your own.

    You may have been lead to believe that you’re not enough – not smart enough, beautiful enough, funny enough, strong enough capable enough. The truth is that you are so enough. It’s crazy how enough you are. Open yourself up to the possibility of this and see what happens. You don’t need to depend on anyone and making mistakes doesn’t make you a loser. It never has. That’s something you’ve been lead to believe by a parent who never supported you or never gave you permission to make mistakes sometimes. Make them now. Make plenty. Heaps. Give yourself full permission to try and miss. There will be hits and there will be misses. You don’t even know what you’re capable of because you’ve never been encouraged to find out. You’re stronger than you think you are, braver, better and smarter than you think you are, and now is your time to prove it to yourself.

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  8. Write a list. (And get yourself a rubber band.)

    Write down the beliefs that hold you back. The ones that get in your way and stop you from doing what you want to do, saying what you want to say or being who you want to be. Were you brought up to believe your opinion doesn’t count? That parents are always right? That you’re unloveable? Unimportant? Stupid? Annoying? Incapable? Worthless?

    Now beside each belief, write what that belief is costing you. Has it cost you relationships? Happiness? Freedom to be? To experiment? To explore? Then, rewrite the script. Thoughts drive feelings, behaviour, what you expect for yourself and what you expect from relationships and world. How are you going to change those beliefs? Just choose one or two to start with and every time you catch yourself thinking the old thoughts, actively replace it with a new, more self-nurturing thought – then act as though that new thought is true. You don’t have to believe it – just pretend it is. Your head will catch up when it’s ready.

    If it’s difficult to break out of the old thought, try this: wear a rubber band (or a hair band) around your wrist. Every time you catch yourself thinking the old thought, give the band a little flick. This will start to train your mind to let go of the old thoughts that have no place in your life anymore. You just need a little flick – you don’t need to hurt yourself – your old thoughts have been doing that for long enough already. There is no right or wrong on this. All the answers, strength and courage you need to do what’s right for you is in you. You just need to give yourself the opportunity and the reason to hear it.

  9. Find your ‘shoulds’ that shouldn’t be.

    ‘Shoulds’ are the messages we take in whole (introject) from childhood, school, relationships, society. They guide behaviour automatically and this can be a good thing (‘I should be around people who respect me’) or a not so good thing (‘I should always be ‘nice”). Take a close look at your ‘shoulds’ and see if they’ve been swallowed with a spoonful of poison. Our ‘should’s’ come from many years of cultivating and careful pruning, so that when that should is fully formed, it direct you so automatically that you don’t even need to think.

    It’s likely that the should that’s keeping you stuck has come from the person who wanted to keep you that way. Were you brought up feeling indebted to your parents? Like you owe them? Like you’ll never cope if you separate properly from them? Were the messages delivered to keep you small? Quiet? Hidden? Believing the messages may have worked when you were younger, steering you way from their foul mood or toxic consequences, but it doesn’t have to be that way now. Don’t pick up from where they left off. You’re older now, with different circumstances, and in a different environment. Bring your ‘shoulds’ out in the open so your actions can be more deliberate. If your ‘shoulds’ are working for you, love them up and keep them, otherwise let them go. 

  10. Nobody is all good or all bad. But don’t be guilted by that.

    One of the things that makes ending any relationship so difficult is that there will be traces of exactly what you want. Even toxic parents can sometimes be loving, warm or nurturing, though it’s mostly, if not always, done to further their own agenda. In the same way that being ‘a little bit bad’ probably isn’t enough to sever an important relationship, being ‘a little bit good’ isn’t enough reason to keep one. Zoom out and look at the big picture. If you feel miserable in the relationship more than you feel good, question your reasons for staying. If it’s because your toxic parent is old, frail, sad or lonely, that might be all the reason you need to stay, and that’s okay. If it is, own the decision in strength and put limits on contact or how much you will give to the relationship. You’re entitled to take or give as much to the relationship as you decide. Just whatever you do, do it deliberately, in strength and clarity, not because you’re being manipulated or disempowered. The shift in mindset seems small, but it’s so important. 

  11. Build yourself up.

    Toxic environments are toxic to the brain – we know that with absolute certainty. The human brain is incredibly adaptive, and in response to a toxic environment it will shut down so as to protect itself as much as it can from the toxicity. When this happens, as it does during prolonged periods of emotional stress, the rate at which the brain produces new neurons (neurogenesis) slows right down, ultimately making people vulnerable to anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, memory loss, reduced immunity, loss of vitality, reduced resilience to stress, and illness (research has shown that migraine and other pain conditions are more prevalent in people who were brought up in abusive environments, though the exact reason for the relationship is unclear).

    We also know, with absolute certainty, that the damage can be turned around. Diet (omega 3, green tea extract, blueberry extract, reduced intake processed sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates), exercise (anything that increases heart rate), and meditation (such as a regular mindfulness practice) will all help to rebuild the brain and heal the damage done by a toxic environment. Increasing neurogenesis will help to build resilience, cognitive function, vitality and protect against stress, anxiety and depression.

Healing from a toxic parent starts with deciding that the lifetime of messages that have left you hollow or scarred are wrong. Because they are. It means opening a heart that’s probably been closed for way too long, and receiving the love, approval and validation that has always been yours to own. Sometimes, it means realising that parents break too, sometimes irreparably, sometimes to the point of never being able to show love to the people in their life who deserve it the most. Sometimes it means making the brave decision, in strength and with the greatest self-love and self-respect, to let go of the relationship that’s been hurting you. 

Breaking free of a toxic parent is hard, but hard has never meant impossible. With the deliberate decision to move forward, there are endless turns your story can take. Brave, extraordinary, unexpected turns that will lead you to a happier, fuller life. It’s what you’ve always deserved. Be open to the possibilities of you. There are plenty.

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I am 27 and i live with my parents cause they continue to play games about living at home and paying rent. then dont make me. they are controlling me and also using theyre anger they have from the shit they have in their life out on me.I am not doing well with how i feel and i have such a good upbringing, loving friends parents and family i also have great genes.. but because my fathers family history has a rough past but so strong as well. but i feel my father decided a unhealthy negative, spiritual path. sure he may be healthy but his relationships are not and I don’t think he loves the normal small things in life. always cared about money, and success whats right or wrong. but I shouldn’t be over thinking., he has so much love care young soul, but he is 72 and decided to be a pharamaisct, and got into a business and opinionated life style, that I just wont ever be interested in. infarct think it is rotting him. his beliefs and wants to know everything going on in the world and feeling apart of stuff that has really no meaning to a normal soul in this corrupt country… , he and my moms relationsihp have a tornado of things that make them controlling when they are always in denial of the things they should act on. like my brother smoking weed in his room.. he gets away with that but they yell at me and call me a slob nad stupid. my family never give me actual real advice as an adult. if thet hve it never makes me feel loved when he says he loves me. and I’m scared he will be hurt that I feel this way…, on top of that my mother is abusive and calls me stupid. I am completely ruined. I feel I have no future from what my parents tell me to prepare for. which to them is devastation and a cold world. Complete negative poision in my life I don’t need. my dad had a rough past trying to be something successfull.. believeing in something that isnt there. but also fallowing every rule so perfect that its annoying. like talkin to him about health insurance. he is so for health insurance he would choose me over it. nWHY? because its coool and political.. it is just war, hate, destruction, lust and having a job that pays a lot… and not believing in the words of god.. which doesnt matter if you believe or not.so they can feel comfortable doing things or get away with things.. is stupid i feel they think god and what people have written is the way god is.. “god” is not controlling or telling you to be a certain way to do or not do things. hes loving and forgiving. as simple as that the bible was a law to help us be better but we decided not to fallow yet still go to church and funerals an pray? what?. but you cant feel it if you don’t speak to it (god) . and controlling stuff and ptsd… all the stuff we feell… that all comes back to religion and true peace in your heart that you can seek. but i feel like my dad is ruining himself to not open up to forgiveness peace on earth and being motivational. he has such a positoin to do so. but he seems to just hide his face behind the news paper. he fallows stuff and he jus retired after 25 years in the VA medica field. he wont progress to a simple life.. . which isn’t even something that can be shown . you live it. no one knows.. . nd I don’t care if he doesn’t believe in god. but you cant not forgive or face the truth of things whehter god is real or not. and i feel he was brought up in a christian family he abandonded it and its becoming toxic.. my family also talks shit behind eachothers back. its sickning. today people say “god isn’t real” I think because he thinks he has abandoned him so much and thinks his sins”” that he doesn’t believe are impossible to face if god were real. that’s not what my view of “god ” is its doing stuff with god and always thinking someone loving is in the air and always willing to forgive your self, and be open to truth and face reality doesn’t need to be forgotten whether you believe in god or not. now I ask .. if you don’t believe in a god. why do you let your family grow up to believe in a santa.? doesn’t make sense.. science isn’t reality I don’t care about science. I wasn’t born programmed to know words in science. I just pray eat love sleep and try to do a job i like and if i do that health will come if am happy health will come i wont need to know hospitals and sickness. . And i am goin to do that. because I cant fail when you do something you like and fail thats show you succeed. you learn and move up. if you fail doing something you dont like because you never felt what making money doing something you like even feels like. just makes you impatient to learn more in that occupation. and with all of this.. I PRAY AND I hope he never feels depressed like me.. sad thing is I am so abused in so many ways by my controlling parents.. that I am so depressed becasue i live with them I would be better off moving away and doing my own things. but what keeps me going is praying he would never feel the he makes me feel. I don’t know how to deal with this,and I think I have to do what my grandma did and turn my own way and accept the way i want to feel and be my own achiever. i love my parents and i am so thankful for them but i am not a child. and i can succeed and do it doing something i like will be the only way. its something i soul searched and they… havent..


I cried when i read your comment because i feel the same exact way. i wish we can connect together and talk about it. i feel this is such a sensitive topic not everyone will understand…


It is a sensitive topic. If only we could all build each other up and never turn away from love. I guess there is strength in pain, but it does feel cruel.

Katie S

I love your comment too it’s exactly what I felt my whole life. It is a sensitive topic and so many people don’t want to face the fact it is infact abuse. I joined a group call response-ablity once a week and it’s people exactly like us who were abused by parents. It helps me know I’m not alone and we have so much great reading material to help us cope understand and deal. Like setting boundaries and knowing our personal rights. Like that it’s OK to put ourselves first some times its ok to say no and not feel guilty. We have the right to feel pain and express pain. We have the right to our own thoughts, feelings and opinions. We have the right to not have to anticipate the needs of others. Now it’s hard to set boundaries with these kind of people they will get angry this is why distancing yourself some how is almost a necessity. But do know most people are good in the world your just attracting the opposite due to your upbringing we tend to mirror what we know. But it feels so good to break away and be free and feeling your feelings for once and get to be while you truly are meant to be. Best of luck to you there are people out there who care genuinely about you.


Hi all, thank you for all your comments and for the article; it’s so good to know I am not alone. I finally decided to totally cut my narcesstic Mother off on Xmas eve just gone as I couldn’t take any more of her abuse. The first week I felt awful; confused, lethargic, sad, gutted and all other sorts of other emotions. Last week I just felt numb. This week I am on holiday and my fear of flying was ridiculous and I panicked for the entire 12 hour flight (which I don’t normally do even though I am very uncomfortable flying generally) and I am now having trouble sleeping. I wonder if anyone can tell me if my behaviours to my decision are normal? I am free of her so surely I should feel better or is this all normal when I am trying to deal with the fact I’ve never had a mother and never will have and all the scars associated with having a narcesstic mother? As I am on holiday perhaps on a subconscious level I have decided to suppress my emotions and therefore they are coming out in different ways?! Thank you for taking the time to read this x


I felt the same way too. I didn’t go home this Christmas for the first time. I couldn’t pretend I wanted to be there. It is normal to feel guilt, discomfort and anguish. We have been conditioned to feel guilty for our actions. Even before we do anything that goes against her wishes you can already hear her reaction in your head. You have the right to not go home for Xmas. You are your own person.


Holy, this hit me hard. Still struggling myself because I want to believe we could at least have the resemblance of a healthy relationship. Well put together article, thanks.


I feel broken inside. I was always very aware that I had a narcissistic mother. Even when I was sexually abused by her ex she made it about her and blamed me for it. Saying why did I trust and why do I have to be the troublemaker. I love her and I keep hoping she would change.
But I was naive to think she would set aside her own ego for the sake of my wedding. Instead, she made it about her again. She was caught on camera verbally abusing my dad whom she divorced at the wedding and took his hotel room and gave it to another wedding guest and refusing to reimburse him. After this incident, I cannot look her in the eye anymore. I cant bottle my feelings and pretend everything is okay just so she won’t go into one of her narcissistic rages. I refuse to humour her any longer.


I’m so glad to see I’m not alone. I’m a teen and being at home is even more stressful than school, I am taking a butt load of intense classes. I feel so small and worthless when around my parents because I can’t ever seem to be doing things right. I’m trying so hard, but they’re so strict, like I can’t even read fictional brooks at home unless they’re classics without ‘anything bad’ in them. I feel like I’m living in a cage, they are always telling me what I should be doing and trying to talk me out of my dream when I tell them about it. I feel no support for what I want to do. And I always feel immense guilt for even the tiniest things. Idk I’m just glad I’m not alone, this article is comforting.


Amazing responses. I too deal with a toxic alcoholic parent. For 30 years and it is starting to kill me. I cant keep my.mouth shut. I escalate things because i have a hard timw believing this is who my father has become. At 27 i feel im stuck here making sure my mother ia stable. Ive never fealt so lost or stuck at the same time. I hope you all find peace and relaxation as we all deserve the best. Love you all


Hi all
I have been struggling with my mother ever since I finished my high school. I am currently in my first year at a local university. I have never spent this much time at home because I have been going to boarding school for most of my life so far. The matter that has hurt me to the core is that my mother denied me the chance to go to the university of my dreams because she felt I wasn’t ready to go abroad and live alone. I felt so hopeless because I could not raise the money to pay for my college myself. I also find myself seriously struggling at the local university because I stay far from it. When I informed my mum of this, she said I look for a place to stay which I did. However, she started bringing complications as she seriously objected my moving out to that place. Her main reason was that it is insecure. Honestly, the place I found has good facilities at a cheap price and is secure. What does not make sense to me is that she advised me to look elsewhere and the suggestion she gave was a much more insecure place. I just feel as though she does not want me to get anything that I want beginning from university to me moving out. She simply just wants me to stay there for her to control. Every time I think of the opportunity of getting a good education getting taken away from me, it just saddens me. She said that she made that choice for my own good but I don’t see it. Just towards the end of last year she beat me up so badly that I had to run away from home. She also said that I wasn’t ready for that university because I ran away from home but what was I supposed to do? What am I even supposed to do now because I have no finances to support myself in any way? I’d like to end our relationship but in reality, I have no option but to stay. My father is always on her side and will never support me. What do I do?


I’m 22 years old and have been dealing with parent issues since as young as i could remember. Starting at about 5 I watched my mom and dad have an affair behind my stepmothers back. Being so young, i dont think my parents knew that i was fully aware of the situation and knew it was wrong. Before going to my stepmothers house my dad would say “Dont tell your stepmom i was at your moms house, or dont tell your brothers i was at your house”… Yea i have 2 brothers and couldnt even have normal conversations with them when i was younger about spending time with our dad. I was forced to keep the things i wanted to talk about most to myself. Which has really affected me as i got older because i still always have the feeling of maybe i should just keep everything to myself. To this day, I still have never had the conversation with my brothers about our dad cheating on their mom with my mom and that this was one of the main reasons they got a divorce. I’m close with my brothers, but how do i even start a topic like that?? Well years later when they ended up getting a divorce, my mom and dad tried to make things work when i got to middle school. THIS WAS THE WORST TIME IN MY LIFE!! While everyone else was happy for them, i was disgusted. I look up to my mom but having an affair, ruining a marriage, and then trying to act like this whole relationship with her and my dad was new, really got under my skin because i was the only one who knew the truth outside of them! i also thought if my dad could do this to my stepmom, what makes you think he wont do this to you.
When i got to high school, i realized it wasn’t my mom, it was my controlling dad. I feel like he manipulated her into believing that she needed him, just like he do with me today. My dad treated her horribly, and i seen it first hand once they moved in together. I had to take over all of his responsibilities because he was too selfish. This really caused me and my mom relationship to spiral because i just looked at her as weak. My mom didnt drive so I took her to work every morning before school and picked her up everyday after i got out of school. I took my little sister to the bus stop, and picked her up from the bus stop and helped with homework every day. I wanted a normal highschool life like my friends so bad. To just come home, do homework, go to an afterschool job or even hang out with my friends, but i couldnt because i had to take on all the responsibilities of a grown man. I even took them to every doctor, dentist or any type of appointment and what pissed me off is when we would come home and my mom would ask my dad what he wants for dinner. LIKE WTF!!! HOW DOES HE DESERVE ANYTHING WHEN I DO ALL THE WORK! Needless to say, when i left for college and my mom realized all the help was gone she snapped into reality and moved out and learned how to drive so that she could fend for herself and my sister. But i still held on to a lot of emotional baggage that my dad left with me. I felt like after everything i did for him and the family i deserved a ” Thank You”. Or at least an acknowledgment that i was actually the back bone of the family.

This situation was only one of the many situations i had to deal with with my dad. I don’t feel like he’s really been a father. He never came to any award ceremonies i was in, missed my highscool graduation, and out of the 4 years i was in college i maybe got 3 phone calls from him. Today we are in a different situation, that pretty much turned my life upside down and now im just at a point where i give up. I feel like he has caused so much unhappiness in my life more than happiness and i just want to let go. But its hard.


I felt this article on a very personal level. I’m 17 and I’ve lived in a toxic environment all my life, but for some reason, it’s been hitting me the hardest these past few days. My mother is a very strict, controlling, and manipulative person who believes that by being that way she’ll stop me from making the mistakes that she made as a teenager. Not only that, but she’s abusive and takes pride in hurting my feelings. Living in this toxic environment has caused me to become depressed since the age of 10 and to develop severe social anxiety. Growing up, I was called names, shamed, and my feelings were never relevant, so that’s what I grew up thinking of myself. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how abnormal and toxic this relationship is, but reading this article and the comments under it have assured me that it’s not my fault and that it’s okay to end this relationship. When I mentioned it to others in the past, they told me I was crazy and to stay, but they don’t have to live through what I have to live through, so I’m doing this for myself. I don’t have much of a choice due to the fact that I’m underage, but I will be starting college Fall 2018, and I consider it my only way out. To anyone out there in a similar situation, you’re valuable and your life matters; don’t be afraid to let go of that relationship.


Good on you Ashley. I wish I’d realised this at 17 instead of 31. Best wishes for college

Rachel Price

Hi Ashley, I’m not sure where you are but in the UK you are classified, legally, as an adult at 16 year old. Like you I left home at 17 and sometimes had to learn the hard way but I’ve become a strong, independent woman with a successful career. So stride forward and don’t look back.


Ashley, consider yourself a very fortunate person for at your age having a clear sense of what kind of treatment and respect you deserve. We all have a birth right to be loved and protected in a healthy and fair way. I wish for you that your experience/damage will serve as a tool in how to manage all future relationships in general. Blessings


Ashley, this is wonderful that you are figuring this out now than later. Please do use school to seperate yoursel from your mother and stay strong. Read this article if you ever feel like giving in. And take advantage of the free therapy at school. How are you so wise at such a young age? Seriously. Despite being educated, it took me to be in my 30s, a series of abusive relationships, moving to opposite coast, tons of money on therapy to be able to even articulate what was going on much less do something about it. Even though I grieve my lost childhood, teens, twenties, thirties…. I am still so lucky to be figuring it out now than later. There are some people that don’t even start to until there 70s or 80s or dying time or never. We are all so lucky to have the veil lifted enough to be on this site. It is everyone’s own path in their own time. I am so looking forward to being empowered and moving forward in my life even if it doesn’t happen for me until my 40s. I love this site, i feel like I am healing as I write this post. Looking forward to your response Ashley. Sending love to everyone reading this.


dear everyone here who are hurt so hard by abusive parents,
i am also here for the same reasons, i hear you, and wish you all the best with all my compassion that i could save from my toxic parents…both my parents treated me in the way this article displays. i am at the age of 40, only until very recently i have been able to recognise what they have done to me, and everything i love. the last time i saw them was last summer in july when my mom was hospitalized due to her cronic astma. i was fully there for them to help ease the situation, treating her like a baby giving her foot massages serving her & dad whatever they needed, yet what i deserved, again, was tears, aching heart, and anger…to the point that i had to leave at midnite without even saying good bye. they didnt even thank me or show any compassion that i was there for them, i was only there to be judged, critisized, yelled at…i can not handle it anymore. i cannot even describe the mental and physical pain they have given me so far, hurt everything i cherish, tear me down until i lose all my energy to enjoy my life with my husband. now i realise that i hurt him in the exact same way they hurt me…i criticised his moves while he was always eeady for me to give his support and love. i had been so blinded by the pain they caused me that i was not even aware that i was trapped in that toxic cycle that i was dragged repeatedly. saying all this is breaking my nerves and heart, yet i am here with all the real conditions in life. i need to be so strong and aware of my own actions. i want a life that i always dreamed of, a life already i am in, with my loving husband…away from all negativity. i have the strenght to share my experience to allow at least any one that i can help this way. you are not alone as i am not. you are precious. you deserve everything light, happy, and respect. i wish every one of us the strenght to be away from the feeling of guilt. it shatters everything. sending healing energy and determination to everyone reading this <3


Me, again…. I was just thinking about things I do to stay strong and not communicate with my mom if I ever feel tempted. Reading this article is one. Also watching Gilmore Girls because the grandmother on there reminds me of my mother. I have a friend whose mother is similar to mine, so sometimes I contact her. I remind myself of the way she has held my life back, the abusive relationships, health problems, pain (literally), lack of success on top of expensive therapy due to her codependence, etc…. just want to listen what works for me i


It posted on its own before i was ready.
Just wanted to list what works for me incase it helps someone else.


I have endured endless and I mean endless suffering of emotional abuse, mental idk if.that’s the same as emotional, verbal abuse and physical abuse and I am thankful that he didn’t sexually abuse me but.he beat me like it was nothing to him and he still tried to this day and I am early 40s and of course my mom who I must say is a narcissist and never stopped my dad and now she verbally abuses me and I will never understand as I thought ppl like you all and myself were supposed to be able to.trust and be loved unconditionally by them and I have prayed that I would receive that love but it has never happened and I broke.the chain because I will not.abuse anyone ever, not.verbally, mentally physically because I have so so so much UNCONDITIONAL LOVE I my heart and I.would.never t anyone to.endure what pain I have all my life and it’s very hard for me.to.trust anyone and I mean by dating as my dad cheated on her countless times and several I witnessed its just so sad and disrespectful and they were divorced but yet married twice and they are together now and I truly do.forgive but I will never, ever forget! All I ever wanted was to be loved by my parents I get my UNCONDITIONAL LOVE from animals especially dogs they love me and they feel my UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and they know I would.never yell at them or hit them, I pray all of.you find peace and happiness as I am still.trying to.find mine.as well, God Bless you all!!!.


You need to detach from both of them, the sooner the better. They will never ever change. I too love dogs (and cats) they do love you no matter what. I wish you well.


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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.

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