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.

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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.

    [irp posts=”793″ name=”Toxic People: 12 Things They Do and How to Deal with Them”]

     

  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.

    [irp posts=”1042″ name=”Letting Go: How to Master the Art”]

     

  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.

893 Comments

"The Daughter"

Parents

Enough is Enough!!
I am with absolute, at the end of my ropes with the two human beings who created me. So much so, I can no longer bring myself to call them “my parents”.

I stand here today, age 35, a married “only child”, with 5 beautiful children of my own. I am stronger than I was yesterday, but I find myself becoming more angered and confused as the days go on.

For the past 26 months, my family has had to endure endless emotional suffering, extreme financial losses, and an abundance of ridicule, lies, and shame behind the two people who were once considered my “mother and father”.

You see, my entire life I suffered from emotional and physical abuse from a man (my so-called father) who took his anger and stress out on myself and my mother. My mother, who I begged to leave him/divorce him, who knowingly and willingly allowed the suffering to continue, all while justifying and excusing his evil behavior. In turn, blaming “me” for making his anger rage, their marriage struggle, or their finances fall apart. I was the blame for everything, or so it seemed…

I was a good child. Hell, I was too fearful not to be. I was controlled in every way, so that I did not shame or embarrass my parents. Grounded all of the time, confined to my room so that I could not be a burden. I felt like a modern day Cinderella and I knew my father hated having a child. He just wanted to be married, alone with his wife.

My mother, she was nothing like “him”. A caring, soft spoken, loving woman who just tried to keep peace in the home. The person I believed to be my best friend, the one I thought I could always count on, the one I once believed was a victim just like me… my “mother”.

As time went on, into my adulthood, I saw how weak she was. I saw how easily manipulated she had become. I saw her believing her own lies and his lies, until one day she became a spitting image of “him”.

My whole life seemed to shatter. Here I was, a victim… I knew I was!! I just thought we both were?!? How can she be just like him?

My mother is a people pleaser. She buys her friendships (my parents are extremely well off), she lives a lie to make herself, her marriage, her life look so pleasing and desirable. They both do. Their marriage feeds off of showing others how they are picture perfect soulmates and they live such an amazing life.

To the public’s eye, my parents are extremely likable, and the cutest couple. They are giving, helpful, nice, and personable. Only a selected few know the real truth. But those people will never voice it. Why? Because my parents, especially my father, will have you in fear of what will come, if u do…

So who are those selected few, too scared to speak up? Family. And a select few who have gotten a bit too close, and took a peek inside. But once that day comes, those people are quickly outcasted, cut off, and disowned. But it doesnt stop there. The minute you realize who my parents really are, they will turn on you and quickly turn everyone against you. It’s all a sick twisted game.

For years I tried to snap my mom out of the fog. Again, trying to believe she was a victim herself. Trying to believe that she was just too far gone to see the truth.

After many heart to hearts with her, I began to realize, she was really just a master manipulator by victimization. A Pathetic excuse for a mother.

I guess I was blinded by the love I once had for her. The way I adored her giving spirit, motherly ways, and the want to help others. Only now, as an adult, do I see the truth behind all the fairytail lies and clouded beauty.

Like most narcissists the fakeness they exhibit to the public, distant family, and so-called friends, is a display only to boost their own ego. Those 2 only care about eachother.

By 2015, they had disowned almost their entire family, keeping only a selected few around. Everyone close to them was outcasted, financially cut off, mocked, shamed, gossiped about… life became hard and I knew I was walking on eggshells myself.

That same year, I finally took a stand. It isnt right, I told them… I am an adult, a mother, a wife!! I make my own path, make up my own mind, and so be it if u dont agree or want to be a part of it. I told them they were wrong. I told them they need to stop hurting others. I told them “no more”!!

In 2015 my life came crashing down…

My parents stole our home away from us, as we foolishly allowed them to put it in their names. They evicted us. They disowned us. They began rumors about us. They turned people against us. They tried to turn our own children against us.

We stood tall!! We moved away!! We picked up the pieces and re-built our lives!! We didnt retaliate!! We pushed forward!! Our family was stronger than ever!! We felt great…

BOOM!!… now we end up in court. I guess we were doing “too good”, “too fine”, we were “too happy” for their taste.

A few weeks ago, after 26 months of fighting these people in court, over “grandparent visitations”, we won. Oh, but by no means… because the judge “agreed or liked us”… no no!! Remember, my parents are rich, my parents are likable, my parents are master manipulators!!… we didnt win because the judge saw “the truth”, we won because he had no choice, by law. But still, for 26months, the judge allowed my parents to still mess with us, ridicule us, ruin us financially, and take precious time away from our family, to fight them in court. I have no words.

With court over, u think we would be happy, u think we would rejoice in the win. We can’t. They wont leave us alone!! Emails keep coming, the fear of more court cases being opened keeps us on edge, and today they just popped up on my oldest daughter at school.

There are no boundaries with a toxic parent. Even when u want to move on, they won’t allow it. I just want to be free. I just want out. I want to heal in peace. Is that asking too much?

Reply
Robin

Hi Aus_woman! Thank you so much for your response! I appreciate it. I have distanced myself from my parents. Around a year now. And despite that distance and intense therapy I still feel resentment. Like I have been held back in life by them. I am ready to not feel that resentment anymore. If you or anyone else has suggestions in regards to that.

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Robin

I just pulled out old pics to hopefully make a vision board to help me heal from victimhood and resentment. When I pulled out a pic of my mom I felt like I was looking at the devil herself. It’s been 3 years since I have seen my mom and 1 year since I have spoken with her. I’m not really on social networking so I don’t see pics there either. Ugh…. does this situation resonate with anyone? We’re you able to get passed it?

Reply
ILO

Whenever a relationship dynamic makes you feel hurt, diminished or that your wellbeing is not respected, your gut instinct and need for inner peace and stability will prevail and guide your level of tolerance. Forgiving and trying to understand that ppl. whose pain and old traumas blind them its very important to heal ourselves; nobody should pay nor carry other ppl.’s burdens. Just focus your core energy in your emotional health and dedicate it instead in finding nurturing educated good support. Best of lucks in your path AFTER your prior existance.

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Monika

I’m 35 years old, I had a neglectful and toxic mother all my life. At 22 years old I left native Poland and moved to UK, I found a loving husband and have 3 wonderful children. My husband has opened my eyes about my mum for so many years but nothing could get through to me.. I left the country but I kept ringing her to keep the contact.. she would manipulate me, wreck my marriage, will send me to hell (because I don’t go to the Catholic Church any more), she would criticise me about any choice I make, when she visited she controlled how much tv we can watch, and tried to tell me that my husband is bad( he is not, very loving, supportive). My childhood memories: criticising me for every little thing, never helped with school work, but expected do be done, she lost me twice, she did not watched me when I was 4 and I wondered off, she would embarrass me in front of other members of my family, would dress me with my brothers old clothes, she never hugged me, or told me she loves me or is proud of me… list goes on.. and I kept ringing her as an adult from a different country, sending packages, and she made me miserable… I’m ready to let go off her, I suffered so much, and it’s time to be strong enough and not to let her to rule anymore and to control me. The pattern has to stop. Adding to the story, my eldest brothers physically hurted me when I was young, and when I told my mum, she would say it’s your fault, or nothing happened. I had anger issues all my life and I know it’s down to them, and for me as a child not be able to stand up for myself, having nobody to shield me and to love me. I’m also an artist, I paint paintings for the last 7 years and sell them in my online shops, my mum told me to stop this hobby and get a proper job- factory or supermarket it’s her favourite. For anyone reading this- don’t let people like my mum ruin your life and tell you how to live. It’s time to heal from toxic parents..

Reply
Auswoman_33

I agree with ilo, it starts with self respect, which is very hard to master when you’ve been raised by narcissists. I have done a lot of reading, talking with psychologists and of course being active in this thread, and I am making progress. However, it is two steps forward, one step back. Be gentle on yourself Robin, it is not easy.

Reply
Robin

Has anyone had success moving forward when they had been extremely held back from their parents?

Reply
ilo

To have success separating yourself from any kind of years of abusive treatment is going to depend, a) on how well you heal yourself with determination and a new attitude of self respect and self love. b) if you get educated on how people who have been in this type of psychological abuse have to struggle to stay awaken to detect and then reject such behaviour in their new liasons, and no allow the same pattern of weakness to fall into the same again. Being respected has to begin with how healthy one is in the emotional aspect. Wishing you well. Blessings

Reply
Hope

This message is for Robin dated April 8th, 2018. Your question was: ‘Has anyone has success moving forward when they had been extremely held back from their parents?’ My answer is yes. I have cut all ties to my emotionally abusive Father for the past 3 years. My disfunctional Mother past away in Aug of last year. During the seperation, I have lost my entire family in the process, due to my decision to not to care for my parents any longer (after over 10 years of service to my parents), leaving all decisions for their care, doctor’s apts., hospital stays,cleaning house, bathing my Mother, meals, putting up with my sarcastic, demeaning rude, abusive cruel drinking Father, which obviously enraged them, because now THEY have to do something ( I had devoted many years of care to them both. With my heart wide open and ready for the challenge and hoping with age that they had changed somewhat from my childhood…Not so!). My Father with overwhelming emotional and drinking problems and my Mother who had Macular Degeneration, severe ostyoperosis and could not walk, care for herself and was bound to a wheelchair. Needless to say, neither of my other two sisters were willing to “do their part”by showing up for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. One sister not showing up but once every year or two, (with her extended family/children in tow (for support). The other, so self absorbed, showing up ‘when it was convenient for her, but never at the right times. Neither sisters,ever asked me how I was doing or asking if I needed any emotional support from them. When at my most stressed, I would call and hear ‘I don’t have time for this right now’, while the other sister was totally disconnected. During this time, I began to suffer from Heart issues (Cardiomyopathy/pacemaker/defribulator, hyperthryroid issues, had ten stomach procedures in one year due to stress related non cancerous growths. Anxiety, trouble sleeping (later diagnosed with PTSD due to childhood abuse/neglect). My point is….If you love yourself at all, you will decide whether it is worthwhile to stay in any toxic relationship if it can cause you irreversible physical,and emotional hardships. What would your advice be to your best friend if he or she were in the same situation? You have NO obligation to those who do not value you or respect you. Run as far and as fast as you can until you are able to heal yourself completely, because devestration and grief will follow (which takes time). Then decide if it is worth it to you and your own family to continue to subject not only yourself, but all of them to such turmoil! I hope and pray that some of this information can help you in your decision making. Life is too short! I am 59 years old going on 75 (right now). Thank you for listening.

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Heather W

My mother is self center and will bend over backwards for anybody but me or my brother and our children. My father left when we were real little and stayed gone until I was 32, I am now 50. We never got a rea lanswer as to why he left. We are sure we have the answer but he would refuse to say anything negative about our mother. I am sure why he left but I don’t know why he stayed gone and I will never have that answer and I am ok with it. My mother still plays stupid as to why he left she says she doesn’t know. She however spent all her time after that sleeping with every guy that came along and didn’t care if they were married. My brother and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents. They molded us into what we are today. It is nothing short of a miracle. My mother remarried years later to a man who abused us. I finally questioned her about it last year and she acted like she had no clue. She asked why she never saw bruises and I explained it to her. She actually went to my brother and questioned him like at 50 years old I am goning to make this up. She got the exact same answer. My brother took the worst of it. Thereis so much more. Recently I asked her why she didn’t send her only great grand daughter her response made me want to vomit. All of this occured while I was having a manic high. It pushed me over the edge. I told my brother and he told me he is done and he is cutting her off. I am going to do the same but I am not sure how to handle it.

Reply
kgomotso

This is a very sensetive topic, very hard to deal with such, especially coming from the person who is suppose to love you whole heartedly. i always try to let go, but sometimes it hits me hard and makes me feel worthless.

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Michelle

I’m not sure how often this is accessed or if anyone is really reading these or giving a damn. I have a very toxic relationship with my father. Growing up, I was a daddy’s girl. My dad was (and still is) a heavy drinker. He had a rough relationship with his mother growing up. And over the course of my childhood, my father became very abusive to my mother: verbally and a few times physically. It just became progressively worse as I got older and started to have a different perception of my dad. He was loving and nurturing to me, but then as I started to speak up more about how I didn’t like how he treated my mother and defended her, he started to be verbally abusive with me. I’m 25 years old and I am unfortunately staying at home, rent free. But there is a cost I still pay. I still deal with abuse. And for some, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t left yet. I’m not financially capable to. I’m focusing on graduating college this spring and trying to collectively get myself together and go at a pace that’s comfortable for me. But I just can’t take it anymore. He has called me worthless. He has shamed me multiple times for having a bad attitude or not ever being enough in a sense. He is constantly comparing me to his mother as well, someone I’ve never met or known. This past Christmas ’17, he told me to my face he was done with me. And other hurtful things. And he knew this Christmas was a special one, but because of his selfish ways he lashed out on me. He never can apologize directly to my face, but has no problem charging me and raising his voice at me threatening to kick me out. I’m constantly living on egg shells. And on top of it all; I have no one I can turn to. I guess I’m here just to see if anyone else can empathize or get a sense with what I’m dealing with. Because I tell my friends and boyfriend was happening, but I feel like I’m just a broken record and make noise.

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Catalina

I just discovered your post, and so sorry what you’re facing. My family was verbally and emotionally abusive too. It’s hard to friends and others to understand the depth of pain such a background puts you through. I’d recommend getting hold of “Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life,” by Susan Forward. There are other good books, too. Make sure you do something good for yourself each day, including some kind of exercise. Walking, hiking and running helps me a lot.

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Carla

Posting on this thread brings me a lot of comfort in knowing I’m not alone. Again I’ve received more communication which I have not replied to. In it my mother talks about wanting to get to know her grandchild and help me in my life. On the surface it all sounds so innocent, but again it’s another manipulation. I just want it to end. It is so heartbreaking to experience this, no matter how logical I can be about it now, and how much less it upsets me in the moment, I still feel sad and anxious about the whole situation. It’s helpful to reread the comments and know that I’m not alone in dealing with this awful situation.

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Auswoman_33

How do you reset boundaries after they’ve been relaxed. My narcissist mum had surgery for cancer so I called her to check she was OK twice. She is now calling me every few days when we had limited it to no calls, email only. Do I say something or just ignore calls and email her or respond only to email? At the moment I’m ignoring calls and doing nothing else. I’m not going to explain the whole situation, those with narcissistic parents will get if

Reply
Robin

You know we get it! Its a sticky web! I would just answer the calls and emails when you want and don’t when you don’t. And not give it anymore thought. But easier said than done.

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Auswoman_33

Thanks Robin. This is the crazy thing about it, it’s actually simple but the trauma and abuse make us not think normally at times. I always feel like I have to manage it somehow. But just ignoring calls is fine too. Thanks again ?

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Auswoman_33

Now I’ve received a text message asking why I haven’t called her back and when she can call. Argh leave me alone!

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Michael

You can block her number and only respond to emails. That is what I did for a while. Now I allow calls one day per week.

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Auswoman_33

I don’t need much reminding! I just want her to back off. Nothing says back off no by silence but she isn’t like a normal person who will get that… She will just keep contacting me

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Elizabeth

Is there any way you can tell her you’re working until 11 p.m. and can’t talk, text, or make phone calls? If she asks where you’re working, just tell her you’re working as a private caregiver and can’t give out your client’s name, adress, and phone number because it’s confidential. I’ve been a caregiver for years and was able to lie and tell my narcissistic family that I couldn’t attend family functions because I had to work. It worked like a charm.

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Auswoman_33

I’d rather say “I don’t wish to speak on the phone, you can email me if it’s important”. But I think at this point, I need to ignore her communication until she gets the picture.

I don’t work, I have a young child and she knows that

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Elizabeth

I remember you told me some time ago that you had a young son. If you ever wanted to use what I’ve suggested as an excuse, you could always tell her that the client is okay with your child being there while you work, and she just wants somebody she can trust. I know you’re in a difficult position, and I don’t envy you. But this seemed to be the only way for me to get out of talking to and seeing my family when I didn’t want to–which was most of the time. Good luck with everything.

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Auswoman_33

thank you Elizabeth, you have a good memory. It’s a good strategy though I find with my mother any information I give her, leads to her asking more questions so I try to say as little as possible. It is hard!

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Auswoman_33

And another phone call, ignored. I am really fed up with this, now I do feel more anxious because I know she will just keep pushing. I think I need to say something to set the boundary and then ignore. At least then I know I have been clear.

Deb B

Stick with No Contact — no explanations are necessary. You get to decide your life even if it is to do nothing but enjoy silence away from any chaos — ahem.

I did NOT tell my live-in person that I was moving out and going NC. He left me many messages and texts for a few weeks, but I didn’t answer any of them (okay, one about 2 weeks later, but I didn’t answer his questions = excuses to embroil me again). Contact tapered off considerably the next few weeks to nothing within a month, until a “birthday” phone call 6 months after I left (he has a new supply source, or there may have been much more contact from him).

Depending on your mother’s visible supply source(s), she may disappear soon enough, or try harder to contact you (with no other prospects in sight). But every time you take her call or engage in some way gives her reason to believe she can rope you back into her chaostic world.

Jess

Hi Aus woman

I can truly feel what you are going through so just wanted to send some hug and sister love.

I get to the state I think you are, maybe far too often. In the heat of it I fail to realise it is yet another form of manipulation or a competition. Who is being tied in emotional knots here – us. Who is spending time worrying – us.

You seem to be clear on what you want which is a huge thing. State it in whatever way feels best then stop. Distract yourself with something nice – your little boy, for example.

I can’t remember now if the original article above included competition but I do think that more often than not the parent wants to win or to have the last word. My parent reduced me to tears on my birthday last year and I saw this look of triumph cross his face. In that moment all doubts I had about whether it was true toxicity left. He is now getting my cousin (the golden child and she’s not even his child!!) to do the dirty work and manipulate me – stupid me fell for that at first. I think the need to win is a big part of toxic parenting.

Be true to yourself. Don’t let your mother eat up more of your time. It’s ok to do that – you are the one who truly knows what she is like. Don’t doubt yourself!

I’d also counsel against the white lies Elizabeth suggested (no offence Elizabeth I do appreciate that that may be the what you absolutely had to do!) because I feel that it drags us into playing their manipulative games and also it can be hard work and will rebound on us if it is ever discovered.

Take care

Ilo

I completely agree w no engaging in ‘small’ lies since this would be even more games. Once you learn how to forgive, understand the root of what caused parents the ignorance to manage relationships in such an unhealthy way, then one start feeling relief in the knowing, first, that it’s not your fault, second, you learn to choose how to only allow positive and respectful energies in your emotional conscience. Bless you all.

Auswoman_33

Ilo, I don’t think I can ever forgive. She’s done unforgivable things and continues to do so, so I don’t ever get the space to feel free of it. I appreciate what you are saying, I definitely understand more why she is the way she is, but there is no excuse for her behaviour and she could get help. There was a time when my parents divorced when she was in counselling (about 10 years ago) and she actually told the counsellor I was a bad person and made the counsellor CALL me to talk to me about it. Talk about manipulation. Obviously, I did not fall victim to this but it says a lot about her. She won’t change but I don’t have to be a part of it. Unfortunately, this current situation has happened because I did ‘the right thing’ in calling her after surgery, but clearly, that wasn’t right for me as it caused a complete underdoing of my boundaries. I’m under immense stress with my son and being pregnant.

Auswoman_33

Hi Jess, thank you. Yes my mother tries to compete, with me specifically, not so much others. My child had surgery yesterday and she sent me multiple text messages when I’ve told her to back off. It does cause me anxiety and it is not fair. I’m ignoring her now. I don’t care what she thinks or does, I’m not going to be manipulated into feeling bad. I can’t help feel a bit anxious, as I have a lot going on, but I can control the way I react and think about the emotions that come up. Thanks CBT… I have counselling this week thankfully after a few weeks where it was cancelled. Thanks again

Linda

This article really hits home with me. The thing is I really need to learn how to detach emotionally, I lose sleep, feel depressed, and the problem is I’m almost 65!!! and my father is still alive, living at the home we grew up in. My husband and I went down to see him Dec.4, it’s a 4 hour drive. Not long after being there he started on me, bringing up every mistake he could think of that I’d made since I was 10 years old! And, I have an older sister who’s always seemed to be my parents favorite. She loves to put me down too, she’s a jealous mean person (always has been). So after this “visit” she called me and my father had called her and said I was the one who was saying bad things to him! so she said “how could you do that to a poor old man”? How funny, about a year ago, she told me she wished he’d fall down the stairs and die, and told me he’d fallen in the driveway and unfortunately??? a neighbor helped him back into the house. She said she wished that hadn’t happened, because if someone had called 911 he would have gone to the hospital and would not have been allowed to come home. She tells lies about me to him, and I feel I should tell him how she really feels about him, but I just can’t HA, how can I feel that way when he’s hurt me so much all my life? Of course I reminded her what she’d said about “that poor old man” and she got really mad, accused me of recording what she said (which I didn’t) but my husband heard it all and now her and I are not speaking – again. So, I worry that she’s told him that I said those things. I have anxiety, never sleep well, and I’m trying so hard to put all this behind me, but I can’t seem to do it. Any suggestions are SO appreciated. It’s funny, we never realize when we’re children, we think it’s normal, but I know as I got into my teens that this was NOT normal, that my father is a cold, nasty man. So, I was rebellious to him, my mother pretty much left me alone, she was busy concentrating on my older sister. She’s been gone over 10 years now, but I realize she just pretty much went along with everything he said and did. My doctor says I have anger issues, I guess she’s right, I do!

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Robin

How can you not have anger issues and anger can be healthy. Do you have a therapist who holds a safe place for you to release it? If not, look for a somatic therapist. My therapist held safe and supportive space for me to release it and now I know how to release it on my own.
How do you feel about not communicating with your sister and your dad anymore?
Your dad isn’t a poor old man. He did some fucked up shit. He doesn’t deserve saint status because he is old. He deserves karma.

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Linda

Robin, he is getting Karma in a way, he’s lived way too long, and not really in the best health, he’s very lonely. As for my sister, I don’t like it that we’re not talking, but on the other hand, it’s always trouble with her, she tries to make me feel bad and usually succeeds. When he does finally go, I already decided I am not going to his memorial, if there is one. I’ve been to therapists and they have helped somewhat, but that was years ago. I’ve thought about going, but I like to think I can handle it myself. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I have a younger sister who hasn’t left the house in over 5 years! She is very screwed up, our father called her “the village idiot” when she was a little girl, can you imagine??? There’s an indication of what he can be like. I mean what father calls his little girl that? But, now he knows he made a mistake with her, and I hope he feels bad about it and all the other things he did, but with me, I doubt it!

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Linda

Robin, I should also mention – he has money, and it’s all he talks about, so nobody wants to be around him. No friends, relatives, he thinks he’s the only one who knows how to handle money and everyone else is stupid. And, my older sister really wants to get her hands on it. When my mom went into a nursing home, my sister and her daughter went in and took everything they wanted that belonged to our mom. I’m going to look into this Somatic therapy, I’ve never heard of it – thanks!

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Robin

Don’t worry about his isolation. Sometimes that is the only way they grow. Is by being isolated

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JacksonP

I just had a terrible row with my mother… Awful.

I’m 50. I’ve known for my whole life that she’s a horrible person. When I was little–like 6, she told me that they had considered giving me up for adoption when business was bad in the early seventies. That stung and it haunts me to this day. I reminded her of it many years ago and she convinced me that I was “sick” and needed medication. Well, I wasn’t and I didn’t. I’ve learned that trauma and the memories that come with it are often vivid because they actually happened. There were other incident but why bother listing them?

I told my dad once, long before he passed, that if anything ever happened to him and I was left with my mother and sister that I was fucked. He knew it too. Look, I always had to do the hard work… We grew up on a big property. By 6 years old, I was working with my dad, on a bulldozer, every weekend. I think he took me to work to protect me, somehow, from my mom. I was once even asked by a psychologist for the earliest memory of my mother. All I could come up with was of me hiding in a coat closet, nest to the front door of our house and she was yelling at me to come out.

Now I’m 50 and I suddenly feel like an unwanted kid, hiding in a closet. God, it’s gut wrenching to write that.

(For this next bit—I’m writing about feelings, not actions…)

I’ve always said that when I grow older or get ill, I’ll decide when to check out and how I check out. That being said, I’m 50 and there’s not much time left. I really want to understand what it means to be satisfied. I didn’t even wanna shoot for happy because I don’t think it’s possible for me to be happy.

Anyway, the point is, I think it needs to end. My Lady-friend hasn’t spoken to her toxic mother in years and while it’s been hard, it works for her. For me, I maintained family ties because of my father. Now that he’s gone, it seems there isn’t much point.

Back to what I was saying about “checking out.” I sit around everyday hoping to get some kind of validation from my mother and after what happened today, I think it’s over. The relationship isn’t worth it and by trying to keep it up, I’m only accelerating my “check out” time. She’s heading to Arizona for 6 weeks. I’ll use this as the starting point.

One question for you guys though… Did you ever find that the drama created by a toxic/narcissistic parent was also an addiction?

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scorpio1108

It’s a cycle of an emotionally abusive relationship. Yes it is somewhat of an addiction not in the aspect of dopamine levels fluctuating in the brain bu rather a behavioral mechanism.I think why we created drama in any dynamic is for attention. It’s certainly what my mother does. The best way to do ignore this is stopping all forms of communication and completely leaving her and distancing yourself. I am learning to do this now at the age of 21 and let me tell you it’s the hardest decision I have ever made in my life and I am barely holding on

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Robin

I actually just read Gabor Mate’s book on addiction and he was saying something like addiction is narcissistic behavior and many of our parents we are posting about on here are narcissist. It all makes sense to me but is hard to explain the connections I made from reading the book. My mom is a narcissist and borderline and toxic. She just recently admitted she is addicted to food. But if possible I think she is addicted to codependence and grounding herself out on others, especially her immediate family. My enabling father is addicted to work. And it all just creates a downward spiral I thought i would never be free from until their death. But then I found hypnotherapy including conference room work. Hypnotherapy and meditation have brought So much clarity. I don’t communicate with my parents for almost a year. I am recovering from the PTSD they caused me, thinking clear, feeling free, can’t wait til I feel joy again. Its right around the corner. I will never get validation from my mom. Maybe on her death bed but probably not. Free yourself from the expectation.

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Elizabeth

@JacksonPawlick – I’m not sure what you mean by “I’m 50 and there’s not much time left.” If you mean that you’re entering old age and will soon die, you’re mistaken. I’m 55 and went NC with my FOO at 51–and this is when my joyful life began. Fifty is quite young when you consider that people are living much longer these days. I work with the elderly, and many of them are in their 80s, 90s, and 100s and are living life to the fullest. Please don’t waste any more time trying to get your mother’s approval, because you’ll never get it. You see, your mother was traumatized at a very young age, abandoned her authentic self, and took on a false persona in order to not feel the deep pain and shame from her trauma. As a result, she is living in a fantasy world where nothing is genuine. If she’s incapable of accepting and validating herself, she certainly won’t be able to accept or validate anyone else–including you. What I did to overcome this painful situation was to admit to myself that my mother is a “very sick’ woman who cannot be helped. NPD is a fixed personality disorder, and there is no cure for it. I have chosen “ME” after 51 years of suffering at the hands of my narcissistic parents. I have left my entire abusive, narcissistic family behind and am living the best years of my life. I hope you’ll do the right thing and choose “you;” you’ve suffered enough.

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JacksonP

@ Elizabeth — I indeed meant, not much time left… Understand that my life is the life of a man… I worked around toxic and caustic chemicals and silica and cigarettes, long hours, and diesel fumes and drugs and alcohol and no life, no wife and no kids— As a man, it’s easy to reconcile the fact you have no reason to grind it out into old age…. When I turned 20, I committed to “checking out”on my terms. That’s all I’m saying. (I don’t particularly want a long life or the physical misery and loneliness that comes with it.)

As for my mothers trauma…. She’s always reminded me of it and worse; at a very young age I became her parent… She would complain to me about how awful my father was—he wasn’t. She just hated men because she lost her dad before she was born and her step father was a bit of a tough guy—not a beater or an abuser—just a strict man that took shit from nobody. I was 10… I didn’t deserve to have her life problems downloaded on me. This is where I get into the “burden bullshit.”

My 10 simple rules for survival:

1. never allow yourself to be a burden on anyone
2. never offer a favour/never ask for a favour
3. never accept unsolicited help (because asking for help puts a person in debt–emotionally or financially)
4. hard boundaries–accept and respect are never free or required
5. recognise implicitly that tolerance is not acceptance and no man is forced to accept anything or anyone for whatever reason he chooses
6. always risk offending people
7. never offer understanding to those you don’t accept
9. never trust a woman to do the right thing
10. never fear violence perpetrated against you, instead, answer back on your own terms and –don’t ever stop until your opposition is broken, destroyed, crushed to dust or bankrupt or (figuratively) dead.
(Bonus Rule: Never be sympathetic or empathetic—not only is it weak but it’s also not my problem.

Anyway… That’s the list I’ve pretty much lived by, my whole adult life. It works, to a degree. It makes, Lady-friend a little angry because for her, it seems, I allow no room for compromise. She’s right of course but, too bad. I don’t question her boundaries, she needs to ignore mine. The end result of course is that I seldom attend functions with her and I’m often known to disappear early and without notice.

-I left one gathering because someone broke a rule of social etiquette by asking me for my occupation-Even Emily Post knows it’s wrong…
-I left another because a homosexual hugged me when I made it very clear that he shouldn’t—-I hug no one—not even women, (I also want nothing to do with gays. A simple boundary.)
-The music was shit at yet another and I walked
-Once, I took a spot as far away from people as possible but they kept wanting to make small talk and it became too much, so I left

I hafta take a break… I’m unloading way too much and it’s making me feel self conscious about myself for sharing. (But thanks for the forum to share.)

Good thing is: Lady friend understands the boundaries I set for myself and knows that I’m likely to exit most evenings within the first 30 minutes or right after the main course. (I should probably marry her but… you know? Boundaries.)

To her, I’m limiting opportunities, to me; I’m not wasting my time….

In the end it’s like this—I’m 50. I probably won’t make 60 and I’m not compromising.

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Kaye

I’m the same as you Jacksonpwalick but I’m female. Except I never had to write a note not to empathize with people or make it a rule because I just never did because I was too busy surviving to pay attention to what other people were going through. I had to teach myself to empathize when I got older. It’s a nice trait to have. Of those lucky because I feel like my mother tried to make me into this and feeling and perfect monster of a person but I’ve maintained for some reason a very true hard it gets me hurt a lot but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel it’s the one thing that I held onto in spite of my mother.

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Soni

It’s not addiction, it’s a natural survival instinct that was wired into your brain to “cling” to the parent who could help you survive. And in childhood your mother helped you form the neuropathways in your brain that keep you attached to her. But now you’re adult and can rewire your brain. It takes lots of work at first, but if you practice everyday, soon you’ll see some benefits. Anyone can do it. Some people find that a therapist trained in healing childhood trauma is helpful, but the most important thing is for you to create a network of supportive people who will support your endeavor to change your thinking patterns. I am too an adult almost 49, who has struggled with toxic/abusive mother and sister all of my life, and I started working on this on my 27th birthday. And it took many years to transform my own thinking patterns, but I have done so to a significant degree. I started with a therapist for the first 5 years. The other 22 years I have done it with the help from my meditation group, supportive friends, and even perfect strangers. It’s possible to rewire our neuropathways to create a loving life for ourselves. I keep minimal contact with my mother (only occasional phone calls) and no contact with my sister (for the past 17 years). It helps that I picked up and moved 2K miles away in the year 2001.

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Dana

Q – How can one grow up believing she is ‘daddy’s little girl’ only to be crushed and rejected by that very same man?
A – She was a dreamer and a believer. She was loyal to a fault. She saw the best in others and lost herself in those she admired…. And then she woke up. She started to love herself and allowed God to be her guide. Slowly He began to clean up her life and her relationships. He didn’t say it would easy or painless. He saw her struggling. Hanging on to unhealthy relationships for dear life. She kept asking God to show her the way. To show her what is meant to be, regardless the thorns she may have to walk on along the way. And so He did.

I had the conversation yesterday with my dad that no daughter should ever have to experience. At a breaking point, begging for my dad to love me, to be in my life… only to be crushed. Literally my heart was crushed. It’s what I’ve known for a while now, but never wanted to admit that we were at that point. I was hanging on with so much hope….

ME – “All I’m asking for is YOU, dad. I just want you in my life”.

DAD – “You are CRAZY if you think I would ruin my marriage by choosing YOU over my wife. Mark my words, I’m never taking them back!”.

I wasn’t asking him to choose. We all know it’s not the same kind of love. It’s not one that can be traded for the other. A father’s love should be unconditional; irreplaceable.
——————————————————————-
THIS SPEAKS TO ME SO DEEPLY:
“There’s a different kind of hurt that can only come from people who are meant to love you….kind of like being broken from the inside out”.
———————————————————————
Now more than ever, I will lean into my one and only FATHER to be fulfilled. To remind me daily that I am enough. I am loved.
I’ve been teetering on the idea that only God can fulfill us and that His is the only love we need to flourish. I had a hard time believing it. Maybe this is what it took for me to see the truth. It’s not until we are broken that we can truly find and appreciate God’s UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

———————————————————————
As I raise my own children, I can’t help but think of all the valuable lessons I want to instill in them; making it a point to physically and verbally share these lessons with them. It’s the ever-giving gift and job God has given me when he chose me to be their parent. Walking them through every step of the way. I watch their teachers, school counselors, coaches, etc guide them toward a successful future. I’m there by their side doing it all with them 100% of the way. I don’t always have the answer or the best advice but I give my all to do the best I can. I see the spark in their eye; the “I KNOW I CAN” look in their eye because they know they are being supported and loved. And all I keep thinking to myself is “where was my dad when I had the opportunity to do all of this?” I don’t remember him helping me with homework, yet it was expected I complete it all and get it all right. I don’t recall him encouraging sports or any type of teambuilding/leadership programs. Only memories of him telling me what I have to do/try and being disappointed when I didn’t have the confidence to try it. Leadership program? “She’s not a leader”. I clearly let him down time and time again. I recall gliding through school making sure I stayed under the radar just doing what I knew I had to do. I got by, but by no means did I excel. I just “wasn’t good enough”. I vaguely remember my high school graduation. I just wanted to get it over with and turn the spot light away from me. I didn’t know what was next for me. I felt lost and alone at that moment. I was proud to be wearing that blue gown. I felt important for a moment, but I knew that meant I had to grow up and figure life out. The rest is a blur. I remember attending my half brother’s high school graduation about 4 years ago. The praise he received for graduating with honors came as no surprise. The celebration afterwards came as no surprise. The monetary gifts he received came as no surprise to me. But what surprised me and saddened me deeply was listening to these young 17-18 year olds up on the podium giving their classmates, teachers and the families a speech and sharing their most treasured life lessons that they learned through the years from their parents. They were saying all the things I wish I heard growing up. All the things I probably say too much to my kids now. But you better believe my own children are going to not only have the confidence and courage to stand up in front of their entire class, but they will have a plentiful amount of valuable lessons their mom instilled in them growing up that they will be able to not only share with others, but hold onto for a lifetime.

I made a promise to my children last night. Out loud, a vouched to ALWAYS be there for them. To support them in any way I can. To show them daily that they are loved. They matter. They are enough. They CAN DO IT. I promised to NEVER walk away from them no matter the circumstances, no matter who comes in or out of our lives, and no matter our ages. We will ALWAYS have each other. I’ve always known this in my heart. And I believe they’ve always known it too. But to look them in the eye with intention. To hug and embrace them. To give them that sense of security. It was magical. For me it was bitter sweet because the idea that I am ‘one of those’ stories who doesn’t have a relationship with their parent breaks me to the core. But to ensure my children that they will never have to worry about experiencing this pain helped me find my sense of worth. It’s my obligation. They NEED me.

I know grief is coming. The healing process will take way. But I look forward to closing this chapter and seeing what God has in store for me. I believe He knows what He is doing and I can already feel more freedom from this. God has a way of continually breaking my chains. Perhaps that “missing piece” that kept holding me back will go down in that chapter.
—————————————————————-
All I know is I’m not looking back….
—————————————————————-
In my amends to my father, I confessed to setting my expectations of my father and our relationship too high. Now I’m starting to wonder, were they too high?? Is asking a father to love his daughter too much to ask? Perhaps it was a boundary I needed to set for myself instead of confessing my fault in this.

Perhaps all I needed to do what expect more of myself; knowing where to draw the line.

Thank you for putting this article out in the Universe for me to find <3

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Kaya C

This article helped me tremendously. I started googling these types of sources when a lightbulb finally went off in my head realizing I could no longer have a relationship with my narcissistic emotionally and verbally abusive father. This article gave me the courage and made me realize I am doing the right thing. Theres no pain quite like it, it feels like apart of you is missing but its such a damn relief at the same time. I deserve to feel like I am worth something, and him constantly telling me im not is just not going to cut it anymore. I do nost deserve it, and know that he will never. ever. change. So I will no longer place myself in the inevitable line of fire. Thank you all for your comments, and this article. I wish you peace and a happy life. All love.

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Tracy

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!!!.

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LINDA

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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Andrea B

I am 49. My son has leukemia and I cannot drive so he has had a good relationship with my parents. Also my oldest son. They cook their dinner every night but when I told them I was coming over(to keep my sick teen happy) my dad was making comments like “it is not a cafe” and did not have enough food for me. They beat and starved me as a child. Then when I left home at 14 my brother said my mum started beating him. She has told a lot of lies to my family about me. No one at all has helped me with my son in the two and a half years he has been getting chemo. I decided just a week or two ago that I would break contact with them for good. Forever. And I am already feeling like I am making plans. It is better to make the break as you have done. And booked psychology to tell them everything that happened…finally

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Robin

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

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Ashley

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.

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Auswoman_33

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

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Rachel P

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.

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Ilo

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

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Robin

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.

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hale

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

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Robin

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

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Soni

Ashley, you are a brave young woman. I am old enough to be your mother, and I had had a daughter, I would value her and tell her this: Ashley you are a beautiful soul, and always remember that you are loved. Each and every time that you recall a sad moment in your life, send yourself love. Send loving thoughts to yourself and this will remind you that the Universe values your life as precious. You are precious because you are you. No matter where you go, college and beyond, always remember to send yourself love, especially when you’re around toxic people. Just stop for a moment, and repeat to yourself “I am loved by the Universe” and remember that your life is of great significance in the world.

I tell you this, because at age 49, I continue to deal with a toxic mother; but any time I am around her I send myself love, and I have found that ONE loving thought cancels out 1000 negative/abusive thoughts. It’s never easy or smooth sailing to be around my mother, she’s even more toxic now than in my childhood, but self-love is more powerful than her ugly ways. I only visit once every 9 years and call on the phone about 3 times a year. During any contact with her, I send/broadcast thoughts of love and compassion because it gives me strength to deal with her. It has taken lots of years of practice, but it works for me about 90% of the time (once in a while she catches me off guard). Perhaps it will help you as well.

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Bri

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.

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Emma

Hi I have very similar issues to you. I am considering cutting my parents off because they are so very toxic and I need to protect my husband and kids. Did you manage to let go and move on?

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Rachel P

No. My father did what he usually does and played the victim to my siblings who then brought massive pressure on me to carry on being his support system.

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Rebecca

Rachel,

My father does the exact same thing. He talks to my three sisters but never calls me to talk directly. It’s awful. I don’t talk to him and have him blocked in my phone. He likes to ruin holidays and my birthday with his messages. Best to detach.

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Tracy

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?

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Angela

Hey Tracy,

I have toxic parents too, and have gotten away from them both physically and emotionally, and my advice is to start living your own life. You are an adult, and you can live for you, make choices that make you happy, and be independent. My parents tried to dictate my whole life and brought me down emotionally because they want to control me. They always gaslighted me and made me feel like my perspective of how they treated me was invalid, and that’s another form of abuse and control. If you can afford it, move out. You can go to school wherever you want; it’s your choice, not theirs. Get a job, take loans for school, get help from friends or anyone you know who supports you, and if you don’t have anyone, do it by yourself; you deserve a good life free of abuse. I joined the military to get away, and even though it was difficult, I got away and started to live my life. Once you leave that toxic environment, you will start to see how things are different. My parents can’t hurt me anymore because I’ve distanced myself. I still love them, but I understand that they can’t love me like I deserve, so I have the relationship with them that I can tolerate. Please understand that you deserve better and you CAN have a better life. Start looking into ways of getting out of there. I look at it like, if your parents were strangers or acquaintances, would you tolerate them? What advice would you give a friend who was being treated how you are being treated? I hope this helps.

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Michael

Hi Tracy, thanks for sharing this because I can relate. For me it has been useful to accept that my mother is a troubled person. I spent a few years denying that she has deep, serious problems and allowed myself to think it was my own fault. However, after her creating drama and trying to control me time after time after time, I realized that something is wrong with her. I worked very hard in school to get an education to get away from her. In the beginning I was forced to interact with her since I was in college and she paid part of my bills. Now I finally got a job and am able to support myself. I feel much better now. Though I still struggle with trying to remove her from my life completely. Honestly I would rather not have to, but the affect she has on me is so negative that I feel that I eventually must.

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Matthew

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

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Brook

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.

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Teuila

You’re beautiful, one day you’ll leave home, get serious therapy and be FREE. xx

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CHO

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.

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Lila

Hi Cho, I came to this article after my own narcissistic mother ruined many parts of my own wedding this past weekend. I’m so sorry yours added her own drama to what should be a special day all about you! What is helping me is thinking of all the parts that went well, and focusing on the happiness and love that I felt from those around us, ignoring the instinct to be bitter that it didnt come from her. My version of mama drama is that my mother gave a speech essentially roasting me, after of course keeping me up the entire night before and morning of my wedding by unloading her emotional baggage on me, causing me to cry for hours. She arrived to town a week early to “help” but in fact just nade the whole thing about her. It’s easy to find ways to blame ourselves for allowing them to be there at all, but as the article says, it’s all a sign of their brokenness and not ours. I wish you many more joyful memories to come, with the new family you create for yourself, because you deserve it!

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Emma

i can relate when you talk about wedding, i remember my own wedding, it was soo painful planning for it i had pledges from other relatives she refused to accept, i had people she said she does not want to be invited all i can do is send love to you and say we should be better mothers to our own kids as we know how it feels.

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Lanea

I can relate to you so much. My father was always loving towards me. My mother was abusive in every way. She called me stupid fat disgusting she beat me everydayday from childhood to teen. I ran away at 18 and married a man just like her. He beat me gave me black eyes threw me down stairs when I was pregnant I have 3 children with him. I left him when all 3 of my children were under the age of 6 yrs old. He stalked me for yrs. I slept on my window sill in case I heard his car. He tried to kill me several times. My mother blamed me. Of course bc she said I was stupid. My children are grown and married. I loved them from the moment they were born. My mother truly hates them and told me so. They don’t talk to her at all. I lost my dad and he was the only one who loved me. I have anxiety depression She caused it and denies everything. I think of the abuse everyday. Help

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Bart

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.

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HK

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

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CHO

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.

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JJ

You can be free of her and heal fully. Read, “The Body Keeps the Score,” and find a therapist trained in EMDR. Blessings to you.

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Leana

What you are going thru is absolutely normal. What we are not told is: You deserve to have a mother just not the mother you have. Let me say it again: You deserve a mother just not the mother you have. You need to have a grief cycle and mourn the loss of the mother you do not have. You have every right to grieve like she died. This is the loss of every hope and every dream you had for things to change. You need to acknowledge that someone who should be very important to you doesn’t care enough to be and you need to grieve that. You also need to let go of the guilt that you finally let someone that toxic go. It is like a divorce. Let it go and grieve it. Be angry, be frustrated, be sad, say goodbye and then let it go. And do not let anyone tell you that you should not be feeling this way. Are they walking in your shoes? Your relationship with your mother just died. You are feeling normal.

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Rebecca

This is an amazing comment Leana! Yes it’s a complete death. The hardest part of it all is going no contact with the abuser.

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Arik

I have to agree with you. It took about a year or two for me to just relax and be my own person. But truthfully it is unlike a death– where it’s final and the person is actually gone. The people are still alive and even though the relationship is dead, the people are still alive and — especially if you maintain relationships with siblings and other relatives— they’re always on the peripheral. And those people will often try to broker some sort of reunion or whatnot.

Both my parents were and are clinically (so we’re not just throwing terms out) bi-polar with my former mother being paranoid schizophrenic with narcissistic tendencies. It was hell growing up. And it’s hell on my brother (even with his Masters degree in Psychology) and our relationship has suffered– he too has some of those tendencies. I just got tired of always hearing about them and/or being a satellite in other people’s orbit. I had cut them out of my life 23 years ago and now that they are older, the script has gotten darker and more pathetic.

At some point, you will realize that the toughest choice isn’t the breaking free, but actually living your life. Don’t be a prisoner, mentally. Find a way to go through and allow yourself to experience all the emotions — and they can be powerful and overwhelming. They are VERY real, BUT they are not true. Don’t suppress them. Allow them to flow through; realizing they will fade.. you won’t be overcome by them. And you resolve you’re not going to allow them to dictate your life. They will have their time, you will grieve but then once these emotions subside, it will be time to move on.. Counseling helps, having a clear defined goal in life definitely helps (as there’s something real on “the other side”) and having hobbies, interests which also include exercise, does wonders as you’re moving and causing the brain and body to become engaged.

Best of luck to you..

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Sandy

Thanks Leana. I will definitely re read this and I’m actually writing notes. I just lost my dad 3 months ago from cancer. Grieving his death and now I have to face that I have to grieve the loss of my living mother. This burden is too great and I have to let go. It hurts to stay and it will hurt to let her go. Either way….

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Collin

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..

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Misha

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…

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Clay

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.

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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.

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Rebecca

Katie,

Thank you for giving me the idea to join a group ! Where did you find out about this group? Gosh everything you said is exactly dead on. You have given me tremendous relief just reading your post!

Thank you !

Rebecca

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Merlin

I am the same. And they don’t let me leave them by guilt tripping me. I hope someday everything will turn out right! I am still waiting for that day!

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Rebecca

Collin,

I’m so heartbroken for you. I as well was abused non stop by both my parents. You MUST move out. You could go on welfare. Make a deadline for yourself and get out of there. If welfare is not appealing being a server at a restaurant is the best way to get out of your current situation (just my opinion of course). After a few weeks of working there (or right away:-)) put up a notice that you are looking for a roommate. I BELIEVE in you Collin. You are incredibly special and I know you can do this. Please keep me posted. I would love to hear more about how you’re doing.

Hugs,

Rebecca

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Cymbeline

You are a brilliant, eloquent, articulate writer. Your story is raw, poignant and heartbreaking. God is moving in your life. Keep writing.

Reply

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When things feel hard or the world feels big, children will be looking to their important adults for signs of safety. They will be asking, ‘Do you think I'm safe?' 'Do you think I can do this?' With everything in us, we have to send the message, ‘Yes! Yes love, this is hard and you are safe. You can do hard things.'

Even if we believe they are up to the challenge, it can be difficult to communicate this with absolute confidence. We love them, and when they're distressed, we're going to feel it. Inadvertently, we can align with their fear and send signals of danger, especially through nonverbals. 

What they need is for us to align with their 'brave' - that part of them that wants to do hard things and has the courage to do them. It might be small but it will be there. Like a muscle, courage strengthens with use - little by little, but the potential is always there.

First, let them feel you inside their world, not outside of it. This lets their anxious brain know that support is here - that you see what they see and you get it. This happens through validation. It doesn't mean you agree. It means that you see what they see, and feel what they feel. Meet the intensity of their emotion, so they can feel you with them. It can come off as insincere if your nonverbals are overly calm in the face of their distress. (Think a zen-like low, monotone voice and neutral face - both can be read as threat by an anxious brain). Try:

'This is big for you isn't it!' 
'It's awful having to do things you haven't done before. What you are feeling makes so much sense. I'd feel the same!

Once they really feel you there with them, then they can trust what comes next, which is your felt belief that they will be safe, and that they can do hard things. 

Even if things don't go to plan, you know they will cope. This can be hard, especially because it is so easy to 'catch' their anxiety. When it feels like anxiety is drawing you both in, take a moment, breathe, and ask, 'Do I believe in them, or their anxiety?' Let your answer guide you, because you know your young one was built for big, beautiful things. It's in them. Anxiety is part of their move towards brave, not the end of it.
Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.

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