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.

[bctt tweet=”There’s a kind of hurt that can only come from people who are meant to love you. ‘Healing from Toxic Parents'”]

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.



This article and the corresponding replies have given me so much clarity. I literally googled “how to break up with my mom”! And found this article! My mother was emotionally and physically abusive to me and my brother during our entire childhood. Luckily my grandmother was there to try and protect us. I’ve never had a good relationship with her and she’s always resented the fact that we even exist. She moved out of our home when I was 15 and took my younger brother, her favorite, and left me and my older brother. I was hurt and confused but mostly relieved. From 15 on I bounced from group home to group home for minor offenses, not criminal, mostly truancy. She refused to sign the paperwork for me to drop out and get my GED. I went to a racist and classist high school and being from a lower middle class family as well as being biracial caused lots of grief for me and my brother. She went and had the court get involved instead of being a parent and had me sent away. When I turned 18 she no longer had the ability to have me sent away. I lived on my own and got involved with a rough crowd. Doing drugs and dating horrible men. I eventually went to prison and when I came home I struggled to get my footing. I had no choice but to parole to her home at the age of 22. I hadn’t lived with her since I was 15. She manipulated my parole officer, and I was put on an electronic monitor. I was set up to fail. I had to go to treatment during the day and hold a full time job, at a place with no public transportation. She refused to drive me anywhere. I could go on for days. Fast forward, I am 39 with my first child and another on the way. I’ve made a complete 180. I’m sober, I am respected in my job, and I have the family I always wanted. Therapy and AA has helped me tremendously. Due to her antics a few years ago I finally cut her off. I didn’t talk to her for the past 6 years. I went NC and it was great! My boyfriend encouraged me to reach out to her, thinking she would be a better grandparent then she was parent. No such luck. She is still self absorbed, mean, manipulative, and the relationship is draining me. She could give a shit about her grandchild. But wants to keep me roped in and making me feel like crap. I want to end it once and for all. I struggle because I want her to have a relationship with her grandchild, but at this point I feel like what’s the point? She’s put forth no effort and just wants to guilt trip me. Ugh.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

You have worked so hard to get to where you are. Use the wisdom you have gained, and the strength you have built to do what it right for you. The relationship between your child and your mother is an important one, but it also has to be a healthy one. There are things your mother needs to do so that the relationship isn’t at all damaging for your child, and one of the most important is treating you with kindness and respect. Keep moving forward. Power to you.


My parents split when I was 11. My mother cheated and left for another man. She took my little brother with her I was left to live with my father. There was no custody agreement. My mother was never around and my father moved another woman in about a year later. My new step mother turned out to be more toxic than both my parents combined. My father who I had thought loved me ended up choosing her and I was shamed and belittled constantly. I was always on eggshells and tried to be the perfect student and athlete. I didn’t want to be around them and would spend a lot of time in my room just doing my homework or talking on the phone with friends (normal stuff) and was pulled out of bed in the middle of the night frequently to be berated about not socializing with them. I eventually moved to my mothers which was better because she was never there. I brought myself up more or less. I struggled with self esteem a ton until I found something I was good at. Track and field paid for college and i have a job that pays well but hate it. The real issues are my ability to trust and now that I’m in my thirties I see even more how damaging my formative years were. The last 15 years I have seen and heard from my parents very little. They seldom call and don’t care to see or make plans. When I do reach out to my mom for plans she says no. When I push her away she tries harder to be in my life and by trying I mean a text message or occasional phone call. My father refuses to contact me but will accept my calls. The problem I have faced is I love my parents and could never understand why they didn’t love me. I have been in one abusive relationship and almost another because I sometimes attract these types. It’s like a cycle I cannot break. I am largely emotionally unavailable and at 35 I want to change my life. I want to get out of work that I hate. I want to release myself from the self imposed prison I have created that is founded on self loathing and guilt. Guilt for not wanting my parents in my life at times and shaming myself for not being self actualized enough to forgive them for their neglect and criticism. I think for me cutting ties (which does not have to be permanant) but for now is the best choice. The mental drain takes up way too much space and detracts from my ability to enjoy life. I choose me right now.

Elle N.

What do you do with a 95-year-old GRANDE Dame, Old Hollywood Starlet of a mother, who says things like “you look younger and thinner–are you on drugs?” when I arrive 40 lbs lighter and feeling good? I’ve never taken drugs in my life! I was “too good” as a child and never rebelled. What do you do when I tell my mother that my prince of a husband won “employee of the year working for a famous national non-profit and her response is “oh, that ___organization___ always caters to minorities.” (He’s a Hawaiian and I am white.) I live and work in a different part of the state and gird my loins for the “the visit with the BEAST” on Mother’s Day, her birthday, and Christmas and these trips cost about $2500 each? I work two jobs and am very well-liked and active in my community and enjoy my life and profession immensely with my husband (who also works two jobs) “who saved me in every way a person can be saved” as Rose says in “Titanic”. I”m 63 and still terrified of my mother. I do try and there are a few times where she is seductively charming, pulls me in, and and then a few minutes later I’m with a pit viper who is a blend of Blanche DuBois from “Streetcar” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf’s” Martha. Hey, that “Woolfe” movie might as well be my life as a child! I saw that kind of fighting on a nightly basis! I escaped and made good life for myself. I am an only child and when she dies, there’s about $3 million waiting, so I hang in there.

When I visit her at her $12,000 a month retirement home where she is, I see the looks on the faces of other residents in dining room. THEY HATE HER! Some scoot up next to me to whisper how awful she is to other residents–directly insulting and I’ve witnessed it! She’s on no medication and still drives a sports car!! I feel nervous for the six weeks (NOW) leading up to Christmas, all I hear is the shark theme form JAWS.


Hi Karen

I keep coming back and reading this thoughtful article to get a boost but I have a fundamental self doubt which seems to be holding me back.

What if it is my fault???

In my head I read and get comfort and a boost from this article and others’ stories that are so similar and that i can really relate to. But how do I know that it really is true for me? I know what I experienced but can’t shake the worrying background thought that maybe I am to blame or even that I am just trying to fit myself into the victim mould to avoid accepting I really was born not a worthwhile or capable human?

I was hit and kicked but only seriously probably once a year on average – when I ‘deserved it’ . This is hardly systematic abuse?
I was a sad, fearful child so maybe that was a problem as I showed them up.
I was fed, clothed, taken on holiday once a year – how can I complain?
The bad bits maybe are just my interpretation. ‘Oversensitive’ as I was told.

Or am I just trained in self doubt after sixty years?

My parents have now turned my whole family and their friends against me ‘she has never been right’ . And I am evidently ‘mad’ – result everyone interprets anything I say or do through that filter. No one questions what they say so surely they must have seen it too or why would they just accept it?!

Despite never being right and being mad I did hold down a very good job for years before having to leave due to ill health. I also studied hard to postgraduate level – so my brain works…it’ s just my personality or the fundamental me that doesn’t.

How can I know the truth ?
How can I unequivocally accept that and move on?

I am in my sixties and so want to have some quality life where I am not held back by how awful I am or have been told I am.

I go one step forward in hope and then just fall back again.


Hi Jess! Thank you for sharing! I am recovering from toxic parenting as well. My mom is a narcissist who is impossible to have a reasonable conversation with. She feels that because I was raised upper middle class and my parents never divorced that i had the most amazing childhood ever. This is not true. I am 38 and still recovering from being put in a box because my mom was jealous and did not want to be out shined. I am still recovering from the emotional neglect. I am still recovering from the emotional and verbal abuse. I am still recovering from being bullied and sexually abused and not protected by my parents or older brother. This recovery includes recovering from chronic pain. The most help I have found is alchemical hypnotherapy. I am so drawn to it that i have decided to study it. I would look up alchemical hypnotherapy and see what you think. You deserve to honor your feelings and all of the answers you are searching for are inside of yourself. You are not alone. I am sending you love and good thoughts.


Thank you for your love and good thoughts, just what I needed as was really struggling last week. I sort of vary from struggling and thinking I am bad to feeling it isn’t me and feeling much better!
I looked up alchemical therapy although can find nothing local but I can see how you might be benefitting. I do think we know the answers deep inside but, oh boy, is it sometimes difficult to trust what we are feeling or think we know.
Once again thanks. We really are lucky to now be able to virtually meet with people all around the world who might be in similar situations.
Good luck with your continued recovery!

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Jess – none of this is your fault! You were a child and you deserved to feel safe and protected every minute of every day. Whether you were hit and kicked once ever in your life or once a year – it doesn’t matter. It’s abusive and it’s wrong and it shouldn’t have happened to you. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – that you could have done to have deserved this.

You sound very clear to me and the way you feel sounds very valid. You certainly do NOT sound mad, or as though you are creating a victim complex for yourself. Even the most abusive, toxic parents can show love and feel love. That doesn’t make what they do okay. Anything a parent does that contaminates a child’s self-concept or self-esteem is wrong is dangerous and damaging. Whether it’s words, neglect, physical abuse – it doesn’t matter. If it feels hurtful, then it’s hurtful.

Somewhere in you is a little girl who wants someone to believe her. Don’t question her anymore. Be kind and gentle with yourself. You deserve kindness and compassion – you always have. Strength and love to you.


Thank you so much for responding, Karen. I do so need some external validation when I start to think maybe it is all me! I am making progress and I hope that it is gathering some momentum but then there are times when the doubts truly start making their presence known.

I really cared about my parents when I was younger and I remember when I was growing up telling people how sad I was for them. That they had the double whammy of bad luck – only being able to have one child and that that one child was me. I genuinely believed this and was so unhappy for them. I try to remember that when I am feeling bad now – how could I have been so brainwashed into believing I was so bad and have totally accepted that view?! I remember the first time a friend said to me ‘but, children aren’t born bad’ I thought she was mad!

Your final paragraph has been cut and pasted everywhere I will be able to see it daily!

Thanks for your blog. It is so valuable to those of us who comment on here and I suspect to many others who pass through or simply come back and read the posts again when they need a boost. May we all move forward away from the effects of toxicity and towards finding ourselves and our joy.


Thank you Karen ~ (Hey Sigmund ) and all the other courageous people whom have spoken out ~ I too googled is it bad to cut ties with my mean spirited Mother tonight and was led here and wow ! Thank you thank you .. There is one thing I understand about being an abused child is that we are the silent sufferers , it is so difficult to share this root of pain and especially more so with friends that have such lovely caring parents .. so what I have read tonight is invaluable to me , I will refer often and use as a guide for inner strength .. For the last year I have struggled immensely with guilt over cutting my ties , more so over what will other family members say and think , even though they are poisoned already , it is me that feels like the cruel one in doing so .. My mother was an abusive , angry woman , I was an illegitimate child which I did not find out about till I went to get my passport at 18yrs , so the father I believed to be my dad was not my Dad ( he was awesome btw , very gentle humble man , she abused him constantly too ) I was beaten daily at a young age by her , always had a black eyes and bruises , told I was useless worthless and never validated in any way , I left home as soon as I could and had nothing to do with her , which was great , I managed to come into my own , however as the years went on I allowed her back in as I have always felt sorry for her and I believe in growth and change so am always very hopeful , every important stage of my life , first ball , 16th , 18th , 21st , engagement , wedding , birth of my daughter , she intentionally ruined by lashing out , telling me how horrid I am , selfish I know what pure hatred is as I have seen hers towards me .. she projects herself onto me , I have only realised this in the last 10yrs .. She is actually a councillor , did the course put not the practice , so this validates her when it comes to her interpretation of me , that she must be right , our whole family is dysfunctional , due to the gossip lies and using my siblings to agree with her by manipulating them , to validate her terrible behaviour ~ The sad thing now is last xmas I observed her treat my daughter and grandson with the same ugly she did to me all my life , I am now 55yrs old , she tried to tarnish my beautiful daughters way of being by making up stories about her , that’s when I knew , I may have handled her all these years , but there is no way , I would let this behaviour dim my girls beautiful light … I have broken that cycle , the love I have for my children is the love a mother should have , and she cant manipulate that so she chooses to send hate out ~ anyway there is so much I am trying to express , please bare with me , this is the first time I have ever spoken about this and it’s so painful , I too believed I was the worst child ever and wore the cloak of insecurity , never fully realising my potential , no child deserves to be beaten and brought up in an ugly adults world , especially one of hatred , anger and harshness , it is wrong ! I still suffer , not in a victim way at all , but a deep soul sadness and a deep yearning for my mothers love ~ it has been a year now of no contact ~ I know I have to keep going despite what the wider family think , I can never ever share this with them .. its a lonely world , so thank you again !

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Kerry I’m so pleased you found this article. One of the best things we can do to change the world is to break toxic cycles. It begins with doing something different for the people we love, and it creates a powerful ripple. This is never easy and it takes so much strength and courage but you did that. Your daughter and your grandchildren and their children will be different for your courage. Keep moving forward. Your wisdom and your loving presence is a gift to those who come into your life.

R Jade

This is a beautiful article- I have just recently come to realise that I had been abused throughout my life- I carry a huge fear of saying No.. I carry a huge guilt for all the problems in their life- it was somehow all my fault- their problems on every level- I m 46 now- I feel broken about how much of my life has gone by without ever having lived a day feeling that I even deserve to live- it’s been a bottomless pit of some how making their life better… while my life didn’t matter..
how do I deal with this sense of brokenness of the time that has gone by – it’s one life we get….. and my life doesn’t exist yet.


I am an only child who was raised by a single mother. I didn’t see her all that often when I was young. I spent most of my time at daycare or with family or friends. I often got questions from people asking what I thought about some of her neglectful behaviors, but never knew what to say. Because I didn’t I realize she was a toxic person, not until I was 11.

We had recently moved in with one of her boyfriends. He didn’t like me much, which caused drama. I was never a poorly behaved child, but I often got yelled at for speaking my mind and being a bit stubborn in general. So, I would upset the boyfriend, then he’d blame it on my mother and get upset with her, and then she would turn the blame and anger back to me for causing the problem in the first place. During one such instance, she told me she regretted having me, that I ruined her life, and that she didn’t love me. I remember not feeling surprised by this news, but being mad that she admitted it to me. She never took back what she said, or even apologize. It took a few months, but I eventually realized that she was the problem not me. I started distancing myself from her even more. She did too. In addition to the pre-existing frequent reminders that I was not good enough in any way; she stopped hugging me, telling me she loved me, or showing affection for me.

After a couple years we moved out of that terrible boyfriend’s house, so I saw her less and things were a little easier on me. Our relationship continued to deteriorate though. Even though we lived together, I barely saw her, but when she was around she was extremely controlling. The contrast was difficult for me. I was simultaneously expected to take care of myself (I was around 14/15 by now) when she wasn’t around, but also expected to obey every order given when she decided to show up. When I was a senior in high school, she moved out of our house altogether without even telling me. She just stopped coming home. She was still in contact every now and then. We would make plans to meet up for dinner sometimes, but she wouldn’t show half the time. I moved far far away after high school.

We barely talked through my 20s, and when we did it was generally through email. She visited me a couple times, though it was always highly stressful and we would frequently argue. She stopped speaking to me for over a year at one point, but then called one day out of the blue and acted like nothing had happened. I’ve always felt obligated to put effort into tolerating her and making our relationship amicable, but still dreamed about escaping and never speaking to her again. I kept her as much of a distance (physically and emotional) as I could

Last year, when I was 30, she called me and told me she was terminally ill. She also told me she loved me…for the first time since I was 11. Hearing it and saying it didn’t feel good. I didn’t want to make myself vulnerable to her again, but that sense of obligation has me splitting my time to take care of her now. I hate it. I am trying to cope with being outside of my safe home, my only family member dying in front of me, and a still toxic mother who makes me feel terrible about myself multiple times a day.

Articles like this one help. Knowing I’m not alone helps. And as unpleasant as it all is, it will be over soon enough.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Rose you are so strong and open hearted. I understand how difficult and painful it can be to be drawn back into a relationship that has hurt you. I’m pleased this article has helped you to feel less alone. Take care of you.


So I have a toxic parent and I get that… He seems to also think my mother is having an affair, but I know she is not as she is never out the house aside from work or sports with my sister or myself, he controls us so much and thinks my mum is the one who is changing us “to dislike him”, nothing’s ever good enough with him, he gets home from work and all of a sudden there’s just yelling and bickering in my house, he barely eats dinner with is and is always making my mum cry, as well as my sister and myself who has to be the peace keeper at only the age of a 14 year old boy, but it’s just never peaceful, and it’s sad to say 2016 has been the worst year of my life… Have you got any advice as to what to do?

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Dylan I so wish this wasn’t happening to you or your family. Sometimes people just don’t realise how much they are hurting the people they love. There are a lot of reasons for this, but none of them make it okay. You shouldn’t have to be the peacekeeper at such a young age. You are so strong and so incredibly brave. You sound as though you are growing into a young man that any parent would be so proud of. The most important thing is not to let your dad change who you are. You are wise, open-hearted, and you have a strong, courageous heart. I can tell all of this from your comment.

You have probably heard a lot of talk about boundaries, but they what they are can be a bit unclear. Boundaries are like an invisible forcefield around you. They determine what comes close to you and what gets kept out. We all have our boundaries – some of us use them more and some of us use them less. You are 100% in charge of your boundary. None of us can control what other people do or say, but we can control how close we let it get to us. It’s up to you when your forcefield goes up and when it comes down around you. You can decide what’s allowed in and what has to stay out. Whenever you can, imagine bringing the forcefield down and leave your dad’s hurtful behaviour on the other side of it. I know how difficult this is, but everything you need to do this is in you. Let your sister know this as well.

We can’t control other people but we can control whether we let the hurtful things they say or do come close enough to hurt us.
Sometimes you have to be your own hero and protect yourself from being hurt by people who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to give you what you need.

Sometimes people hurt the people they love without thinking about it. It’s really easy to assume that the adults in your life know what they are doing. I wish all adults did know what they were doing and I wish they were always able to do the right thing and treat the people they love with kindness and love and respect, but none of us are perfect. Some adults don’t realise that what they are doing is wrong and hurtful.

Our behaviour depends on many different parts of our brain working together and sometimes, they don’t work together that well. It happens in all of us from time to time. Sometimes we get exhausted, or things from our history change our behaviour in the presetn, and nearly always it’s because of the person’s own struggles. It’s important to know that people’s brains can change. Just because someone is mean to you now, doesn’t mean that person will always be mean to you – but you don’t have to wait for that to put your forcefield up.

Nobody can change your dad and what he is doing. I wish you could, but it’s his growth and he’s the only one who can do that. I know how much it must hurt you to see your mum and your sister so upset. The three of you sound like a wonderful support for each other. Try not to be sad for your mum. Be there for her, but she also has the strength in her to deal with this. In the moment, it is hurtful for her, but she would not want for any of her experiences to be a source of grief and pain for you. She would want you to feel strong and safe and protected.

Dylan, you are amazing – your wisdom, your strength, your compassion and your courage. The world needs every bit of you. Your mother and your sister are so lucky to have you.


My husbands parents have been very controlling and have made him feel guilty about their lives. They are also very manipulative. He’s very defensive about them. How can I help him?

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Unfortunately, this is his growth to do. If your husband has grown up with this, it may take a while and a lot of work for him to realise that their behaviour isn’t okay. The risk is that the more you point out how wrong they are, the more he will jump their defence. The best way to help him is to continue to treat him in a way that is different to the way his parents treat him. Gently question the things they do, but don’t push so hard against him that he feels as though he has to defend them. You may not be able to control this – it’s very likely that somewhere deep inside him he knows how wrong their behaviour is, so even the most gentle questioning from you will be uncomfortable for him. Let him know that you accept his relationship with them, and that you’re not trying to get in the way of that, but you’re also not going to buy into it. Then, decide what this will mean for you. It might mean that you no longer spend time with them if they will not stop saying negative things about him, but that you fully support him seeing them when he needs to. It might mean that when they do things to manipulate and control him, you step back and let him bend to that on his own. The subtle communication here is that he is very welcome to do everything they ask, or to be manipulated into doing things he doesn’t want to do, but that you want not part of it.


I have a toxic parent, and I cut ties with her for good last year. Nothing I did was good enough but she always asked ME to do things for her, then were in turn not good enough…etc.

My issue is…she’s planning on committing suicide. Sure, whatever, I knew this for a while, and I’m at terms with it. HOWEVER, my sister said “if you have anything you want to say to her, now would be the time”.

What am I supposed to say to her? I mean..right now, in this moment, I feel like I have nothing to say to her. I still love her, but we don’t get along and she’s no good for me. But…what if afterwards, I regret not saying anything?

I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to do about this. I don’t really have anything I want to say to her good riddance, but..that “what if” bothers me.


Karen - Hey Sigmund

Daphne I completely understand the conflict here. You can’t change what your toxic parent does with her own life – as much as you might want to. None of us have that sort of control. With any cutting of ties though, it can be healing for you and help to bring a sense of closure if you say what you need to say at the time. The truth is, we never know what is going to happen to anybody in our lives, so it’s important to make sure that everything is said that we need to say. We just never know when there won’t be another chance to say it. If the ‘what if’ is bothering you, it may be that there isn’t the closure you need. There doesn’t need to be a lengthy discussion or an outpouring of love for closure to happen – just a sense that you haven’t left with things unsaid, or arguments unfinished. It also doesn’t need to be face to face if that isn’t something you want – it could be in a letter, over the phone – however you feel comfortable. You sound very clear in your comment – that you love her, but the combination of you both is hurtful for you, and that you want good things for her. Whether or not you do this though, of course is up to you. If you feel as though you have said what you need to say, then that’s how it is, and that’s okay. If things feel at all unfinished though, it might be helpful to say what you have said in your comment so that you can move forward cleanly without being drawn back in. If you feel as though she may be a threat to herself, you may want to speak with her doctor to make him or her aware of the situation, or encourage your mother to speak with someone for support.


I hate to say it, but no matter what you do, there will still be that niggling guilt about her, and it’s a sad truth, but it will change too, it’s hard to explain, but I thought when my mom passed I would actually feel some sort of relief and that isn’t true. But I would advise you to give your last respects and whatever you feel you need to say, because you will have at least tried to mend the fences. And I didn’t get to do that with my Mom, it’s tough to deal with. I had so much I wanted to tell her, that I forgave her, that I realized she did the best she knew how, that sort of thing, but she went before I could do it. So, yes, I would advise yes, for your self do it if you can. T hat’s one regret you won’t have to carry around forever. God Bless

Theresa W

Well, I believe her threat of planning to commit suicide is the ultimate act of manipulation and abuse. You already know in your heart there is nothing left to say. Take care of yourself.


My mother has borderline personality disorder and she took an overdose in the house while I was there (I was 18). She was losing control of us as we weren’t responding to her manipulation at the time and this is intolerable for these people. So she got us back under control and kicked us out the following year when it suited her. I am setting boundaies now and it isn’t going down well. I’m just waiting for her to do something like it again to gain control


I just recently seen a counsellor due to hitting an emotional brick wall from being the only sibling for the past 12 years who has taken responsibility for the care of my sick, aging parent’s residing in a nursing home.
Ironically, as my abusive stepfather was taking his last breaths in the nursing home 2 years ago, it was me who held one of his hands as my emotionally neglectful mother held the other. I now know why, but at the time I was as shocked as anyone could be as to how I of all people could have been capable of showing such compassion towards someone who had caused me so much pain throughout my life. This was a man that had sexually, physically and emotionally stripped me of any ounce of dignity throughout my life. My mother had ultimately chosen him over me and I had harbored as much resentment towards her throughout my life as well. Yet, I was there forboth of them.
I am in my fifties, a single mother and by nature a compassionate and loving person. It’s taken meso long to realize who I am and why I do what I do. Trust me, I fought with my own emotions for as long as I can remember and fell victim to depression a few times, ended up in abusive relationships, the whole nine yards. I still am the only one at my mother’s side as she continues to be emotionally absent and incapable of showing any love or care for me and I am still learning how best to cope with this because I CANNOT just abandon them as my siblings have done and live peacefully with myself! It is not who I am.
I have been searching the web for so long, coming across so many different articles pertaining to my situation and THIS article brought me to tears! It is by far the most effective, impactful article I have ever read! My counsellor gave me great perspective, direction and assurance but this article resonates with me so deeply and completely and does so in such an understanding, non-judgemental and compassionate light.
Thank you so much for this wonderful, enlightening insight. It gives me hope and confirmation that I am doing what is right for me. I have to say that I am so proud of the fact that all my experiences, my compassion and willingness to forgive and grow as a person has given me the opportunity to stop the cycle of abuse and raise my own children in a completely different way, with love, respect and nurturing. All things are possible when we learn to love ourselves and set healthy boundaries. I have raised my children completely on my own from the time they were toddlers. One is now a teenager and the other in her early twenties. They are both excelling in everything they do and know with all certainty that they are loved and cherished as I know with all certainty that I am also loved and cherished by them.
The way I see it now is that I am simply putting to rest my parent’s legacy of abuse and neglect as I care for them in their last days and I am rest assured that I did the right thing for me, for my soul.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love the clarity you have around who you are and how you have used the experiences that have hurt you, to shape you into a more loving, stronger, braver, wiser, more compassionate woman. Your children, and anybody in your life are lucky to have you. Beautiful.


Hi, please forgive me if I sound arrogant, but that is not my intention. My intention is to let you know that it is NOT difficult to go No Contact with an abusive parent or family member if you are ready for it. I come from a very toxic family who scapegoated me for decades! When I finally confronted my narcissistic parents about their abuse, I honestly believed that my siblings would defend me – but instead, they all threw me under the bus and called me crazy, unstable, troublemaker, etc. I tried to go NC with my mom in my early 20s, but I felt SO guilty, because it was so difficult and I was not yet ready emotionally to make that break from her. Fast-forward 23 years later when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and everything started coming together and making sense. I read everything I could about it and watched YouTube videos on it. I learned that my narcissistic parents put the guilt in me since childhood. After a particularly egregious act on my mom’s part a few years ago, I lost it and became furious toward her. That was the beginning of the end of my relationship with her. I went through the Death and Dying process which Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about and finally accepted the death of my relationship with my entire family. This time around, I was ready. I feel nothing but peace and relief in my life now. I’ve taken back my power and have rendered each of them helpless to ever hurt me again. I’ll be celebrating 3 years of NC next month. I couldn’t care less what other family members or friends think about my decision to go No Contact with them. After all, this is MY life….not THEIRS! So friends, when you are ready, this is precisely how you’ll feel – and you’ll embrace life as you should. ☺Peace to all of you.


I had never thought how many of us, unloved, manipulated and left to sort it out long after the parents pass away. I sometimes dream of punching my mother screaming. Sometimes I dream I forgive her.
However, there are so many things that sums it up “the unloved daughter”- my mother cursed me, twice. I don’t even remember for what.
Later she said it’s untrue, she never did.
I am now 54, but it never goes away. I love and feel loved by my son, by my students, although I never forget the unlove by this beautiful and deadly frosty woman who did not love neither my father nor me.


Thank you for this article stronger for the breaks – how to heal from a toxic parent.

I too have had a mother who laid abuse out very thickly when I was a child growing up. For years I have tried to put sense to it and like many children, figure there must be something very wrong with me for this abuse to be happening. I do know differently now but it doesn’t feel like I know differently.

As an adult I find myself in an awkward position.
My mother has done a lot of growth over the years herself and in many ways is a nicer person for it. I do feel however that sometimes I am still manipulated into doing things for her but on the whole it’s a lot better than it used to be.

My dilemma is that I carry all these hurts from childhood (abuse lasted into young adulthood) on one hand and on the other hand I have a much less aggressive mother who gets hurt if I don’t see her enough (which is where I begin to feel manipulated). Plus, I have sibling who don’t really understand why I want to distance myself from her (note: both my siblings live in the UK me in Aus).

She is ageing on one hand so I don’t want to leave her stranded but on the other hand I am very angry at myself for doing things for a woman who chose me to be her outlet.

I decided to ask if you had any advice or reading material recommendations as I am sure I am too close to my issue to see the full picture.

Thank you

Karen - Hey Sigmund

In relation to extra reading materials, I don’t have any recommendations for you. You aren’t alone in your experience. The guilt you describe is very normal and very understandable. Even if the relationship is toxic, it is difficult to walk away from a parent. Decide on the extent you are prepared to invest in your relationship with your mother. Be clear about the time you are prepared to invest, the things you are prepared to do, and the behaviours you will and won’t tolerate. You can’t change your mother’s response – she may still want more. There is no easy way to do this – it’s all about finding the point at which you are satisfied that you are giving enough to your relationship with your mother, without feeling as though you need to give more. The key for you is feeling strong about the reasons you are doing what you are doing.


Hi Wondering, I had a mother much like yours, and it was tough, I know exactly how you feel. My Mom would start on me the minute I walked in the door trying to make me feel bad, I was constantly trying to defend myself and make her understand, but it went on and on until I would think it would never end. I never could win, not ever. She hated all my friends, until they were gone, then I was cruel to run off such wonderful people, blah blah, and I got a lot of “Well, Lucy’s daughter comes to see her everyday and they just have so much fun, but you are always doing….etc…” We always said “I love you.” whenever one of us left the house or got off the phone, and she used that once, she said, “You don’t love me, you don’t ever want to be with me and for some reason that hurt almost beyond anything she had ever said to me. How can you win when that comes up? I mean, how can you argue that? And it was so awful, it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was headed out the door but turned around and said to her, Mom, this is the last time you will do this to me. I am tired of being on the defensive with you, I am tired of trying to convince you of anything, nothing ever satisfies you and I’m done. So, it’s like this Mom, you can call me when you have thought this over and you realize what I”m saying, then I will come back. And out the door I went. She called me about a week later and I went to see her, and wasn’t there three minutes when she started in again, so, I calmly and nicely picked up my stuff and my keys and walked out the door, bye Mom. And do you know, it only took maybe three times of that, and she turned completely around. It didn’t stop completely but all it took was a little look on my face and she knew i would go. And it’s amazing how we were able to become almost friends after that. But what happened is I didn’t argue, I didn’t blame, but I put it in her lap, and it was her behaviour that had to change, no one but hers and she knew it, and better yet, I knew it and there is no guilt on your shoulders anymore. Try it, and be strong, you have to mean it, you don’t have to be mean, you just state what you are not putting up with and stick with it. Then it’s all up to them. I know it works. And it’s a life changer, although I ended up in a relationship with a man that is much like she was, but much much more subtle. And one of the things that woke me up is those same words came out of his mouth, You don’t love me, or you would do what I want. I spun around on him and just completely lost it, and that was the beginning of the end of my marriage. I was onto him and he can’t do that to me anymore, and that is another whole ball of wax I’m not going into here. But do read all the articles about dealing with toxic people, I bet you recognize a lot of things. Good luck and prayers for sure.


Great article. My mother treated me pretty awful most of my life. There were seven of us and she only obviously cared for my youngest brother and sister. She degraded me, physically beat me with my pants down in front of all the neighborhood kids; basically treated me like crap. Her favoritism towards my sister is disgusting. My dad was ok but worked a lot. He has since passed away so I try and help my mother who is 81 because I think that’s what my dad would want me to do. I don’t like her very much and am really considering severing my ties to her.


This article was a Godsend. I’ve been considering cutting off my relationship with my mom for quite some time now, but have refrained from doing so because I know it would be seen by my family as a childish decision. As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen how extensive the damage is from my relationship with my mother. When I’m away from her I begin healing, and vice versa. Making the decision to cut off my relationship with my mom has left me with a feeling I’ve only felt once before, 5 years ago when I decided to commit suicide. Needless to say it didn’t succeed. Nevertheless I can attest that sometimes cutting off the relationship is what’s best.


I posted a list of resources recently, but because it included quite a number of website links, it may not have made it in the reply. My apologies if this is redundant.

Some resources I see online are: searches under youth training nyc, etc. look for youth and business

Rebecca B

I live in California with both my parents (abusers) my husband and my 2 year old son. I cannot work or receive any assistance. I am very damaged andhave so much trouble with everyday life because they are always on my case about everything and anything. My husband has a good full time job just slightly above minimum wage it we are still 200% below poverty level for my city. And housing is so expensive and the low income are so fill the wait lists are 3-4 years out. I’m so spent and so tired of it all and physical sick from it all on top of that. I’m 35 years old and I have basic life skills but none for the real world or the job market. I can’t even wash dished I’m in so much pain. There are no help here unless you are homes or on drugs. It sucks!


Hi Rebecca, I live in California too so I feel your pain in regards to how ridiculously expensive it is here. Everyone I know is going through a rent increase. Hang in there. Even though you are going through that there are resources that can help you with your chronic pain. I myself have just had a three month break from my chronic pain. Turns out most of my pain is due to anger and resentment I have towards my mother. I found somatic therapy, hypnotherapy, and other modalities of energy work to help release this. It can be expensive but there are also free clinics as well as clinics and facilitators who offer a sliding scales and facilitators in training who need practice. There are also meet up groups. Please check meet up, ywca, women’s shelters, etc…. where ever you go should have books you can check out. The book that helped me most when i got started with this is the dance of anger. This book will help you stick up for your self in an assertive, graceful way while still living with your parents. It is amazing how you clearly you will start to think too when healing with this work. Also another very free thing you can do is meditate whether it’s take a walk in nature or listen to a meditation on YouTube. And visualization too! Sending you love and good thoughts. You sound very strong in your post. And there is light at the end of the tunnel! It is amazing how much your life can and will change! And quickly too!


I believe this article is based out of Australia. Is your city in the U.S.? If so, what city are you in and are you over 18 years old? So many resources. I understand when you are in a situation such as yours, it’s hard to see or find a way out. I can search on the internet and give you ideas. Many times, churches have groups of volunteers within their churches that want to give back by helping others find resources, jobs and/or assistance.

Steve M

Yes I am in the New York city. One of the most expensive cities in all of the world unfortunately. One unfortunate lesson I have come to realize is most employers I have met in New York do not take into account or really care about the disadvantaged those abused have going for them when entering into the “real” job world. It seems everything is all about the almighty dollar to most companies here no matter what the cost. A solution to this would be very helpful.


Hi Steve M! I would not share with your future employers that you are in an abusive situation. It may deter them from hiring you. You could go to a shelter or you could stay with your abuser’s, save money, then move out of the city. Unfortunately most employers care about the bottom line and regardless nyc is a hard place to live money wise. I love Philadelphia alot. It is a third of the price to live if less than nyc and if you ever do want to go to visit nyc it is a short train ride away. You never said your age but if you are under 18 you can look into emancipation.

Steven M.

No I am an adult now. Thing was I was always good in high school and worked extremely hard since I was in kindergarten to do well. I made a decent college (think Colgate University) but my father did not want to pay for it. I was burned out by that time and settled for an average local university. Perhaps it was there that I should have concentrated even more to earn great grades but I was totally spent. So I ended up with a degree with barely passing grades as I just went through the motions of school without much effort. I did graduate but nothing prestigious like I know I am capable of. Unfortunately this has bad consequences salary wise and position offering wise when looking for a job. So now I am stuck making low end wages to slightly below average wages salaried but it is not helping me move out or become a home owner. I need to get back on track to my full capabilities and I am not sure how now.

Steve M

Is there a job program that helps neglected and abused children search for employment? I live in a city where owning a home or renting is nearly impossible unless you are making six figures annually and my only other option is living with my abusers. I desperately want to leave them or “amputate” myself from their toxicity but find that real world housing prices prevent me from doing such.

What can I do or try to make that extra income to afford to be able to move away while still having extra for a rainy day?


Hi, have you considered placing an ad in the paper offering domestic services such as caregiving, cooking, cleaning, painting, handyman work, etc.; in exchange for a room? You can specify your needs, e.g., “I would like to have a part-time/full-time job during the weekday, but will be available to do chores in the evening and on weekends”, etc. Good luck!


I don’t know how old you are or what skills you have, but having some employable, good paying skills is important for the long term view of life. Construction trades are good to get into as they give you skills that you can take anywhere. Painting, carpentry, plumbing, electric–and there’s a whole world of trades beyond that. One way to start is just check the want ads for such jobs, or be brave and walk up to workers you see at work and ask. Another route is check with local unions as they often have journeyman positions, training, and other ways to help you get started. Union jobs pay very well, with good benefits.

Another suggestion is to move up north out of the City towards Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties, or across the river to Rckland or Orange or Ulster, where the economy is good but housing is less expensive.

Getting out from under your situation is not impossible, but may take some time and planning and working towards the goal, and doing that will help you feel good about yourself.


I was raised by my grandparents.I had a common, peaceful childhood and i was happy as a kid.Theyre all gone now and i live with my parents for the last 10 years..i really dont have a memory of them..they never taught me anything and said something important.They were always working and wanted money.My relationship with my father is ok,with my brother even better but my mother is a blank page.She was always making fun of me,humilated me and used to say to every one in the family that i was worthless..she hated my grandparents,but i never figured out why…i was never good enough for her and a big failure as a kid.The fact is,every one who knew her well, did know that she was damaged,my teachers and friends always proved her wrong.I struggle for 10 years now to fix some issues with her and she doesnt listen..she ignores me and tells me to get out of the room..i recently found out that my brother struggles with depression and cant stand her,not even my father..shes always the trouble maker.I suffer from panic attacks and i gained too much weighht in the last 1 and a half so tired and drained.I have only my boyfriend right now,he has helped very much but i really dont know what to do..i wasnt a saint,but im done with ”hating”and make arguments with her and she keeps controlling my life..Im thinking very seriously to move out,but i dont have the money,i quitted from my job and thats the way shes manipulating me right now..and of course she really,really hates my boyfriend and all the friends i used to have..generally all the people i knew/know..any thoughts? i really dont know how to deal with this situation,it just keeps destroying me every day.


I read this article to reassure myself that cutting ties with my toxic mother was the right move. Its getting close to christmas and my father has been dead for almost 15 years. He was my rock, sanity in an insane life. So my shitty mom is all that is left, and after 36 years of wondering why she didnt love me (I hate when people say of course your mother loves you, she does not know what love is) I stopped the cycle. I was tired of being pulled in when she wanted me and pushed out when she was not in the mood. It has been extremely hard, but nothing good in life ever comes easy. You have to know your worth it and stand your ground, break the cycle. Reading comments from people who have not made the leap to stop contact with their parents helps me understand I did the right thing stopping contact with my mother 3 years ago. There is still the pain of wishing I had a normal mother that actually loved me, wanted to hug me and protect me, be the way I feel about my child, but the pain of being told im stupid, im fat, watching my sister and her family open gifts on christmas while my children get a box of stale valentine candy from the year before, because she just didnt think we were that into christmas. Or being told there wasnt enough food made for you because I was looking kinda fat. Basically not being loved or cared about was way worse than not having my mom, and now no one talks to me. I have to understand its easier to comply sometimes than it is to take a stand. Thank you and good luck whatever you choose, it will not be easy, but will get easier.


This was so helpful! Thank you.

This all makes sense, and gives me clear direction in which to work. I can totally see that it will take years for me to heal. But I feel better that I am on the right track.

If you can help me with one more issue that I can’t seem to resolve. My father is a straight narcissist. And he might never change. But my mom, at times had been very loving. She was young herself, and still is not completely mature to be an adult, and got carried away in playing games. For example, always comparing me with some other kid, who was better, or saying things like “let your father come back from work”… I don’t think she realized how terrorized i was for the whole evening. etc. etc. The other issue is, the whole family + community around is patriarchal, and she is not strong. So, she wasn’t able to protect me from my father or uncle when they were demeaning me, humiliating me.

On one side, I so wished she was stronger, and protected me. I so wish she was more adult and knew what her comments are having affect on me. But I can’t seem to completely overlook the warm love she gave me from time to time. I also don’t blame her the patriarchal dynamics in the society. At the same time, she has not invested time in fixing these things in her, and tends to cause anxiety + depression in me every time we talk, which is once a month.

If I have to cut ties with my dad, I have no problem. I think I will be 100% more happy instantly. But I keep going to and from about my mom. And it will be difficult to cut ties with dad, and not mom, coz they still live together. And its difficult to make the decision. But I have to, coz its costing me my career, relationships, you name it.

I also feel that if I cut ties, that will make them or especially mom to think about how severe these things are. My brother tried to tell them the things he faced, and they listened to him, but brushed those things as, “he is just being childish. How can he be angry about a chocolate 10 years ago?”… If I cut ties, that might make her self-evaluate, which would be a good thing. Eventually we might connect again, in a way better way. Direct communication is not working, as my brother already tried it.

I know this is long, and twisted. But I sincerely need help.

Thank you again!


All this has started making sense now.. I grew up in a broken family here my parents were always fighting and hated each other been the last born they used to treat me like a punching bag by demanding attention from me my brother bullied me through my childhood but the brockeness untill when i finished highschool which made me to develop a violent father is a control freak and narcisst that i have come to realise after reading this article because he always criticized me and inteferes with what i do i hate him so much i even got a dog to be my therapy for depression caused by this toxic environment yet this man tells me not to feed it this man has controlled my life and abused me emotionally so that he can feel better of 25 years and not even self aware or even have self drive due to this toxic person cant even be able to have a stable relationship or career but thanks for the article now have realised the way to follow to heal mentally and emotionally


First, i would say it’s a great article. Second, it’s informative. Third, valuable to many adults of toxic parents. Well done! However, some of my Asian friends said that the Westerner is equipped with skills that can help them in financial problems. It contrast with Asian where most of them is not equipped or taught anything at all. But i think it depends on them more than other things. What do you think?


I’m 13, when u was younger my parents were very bad on drugs and were abusive to each other and me and my brothers. When I turned 10 two years after my younger brother was born my mom decided to quit doing drugs but my father did not want to so that ran into a devorce. My mom also left my father cause she found someone else. So me and my brothers lived with my father (which was still on drugs at the moment) Untill my mother could get back on her feet. Soon my father quit drugs as well. Everything was going great! Until my father met someone at first it was fine until she started to mentally abuse me. I’ve always had to deal with mental abuse because of my mother she grew up with a very hard life and lashes out on me the most. So now my stepmom and mom would always call me a bitch,whore,ugly,fat,nasty,slutty, etc. Soon my dad picked up on it and did the same as my them. When my mom left the man that she left my father for.. She found a man named Corey. It was okay at first. But then she started choosing him over us. And soon got very bad back on drugs worse ten ever. I’m talking about popping pills out the ass.. Smoking ice,meth,anything really. It moved into April. One day me and my baby brother came home to blood everywhere. Outside all way to inside.. I was automatically thinking the worse. The night before they had a huge fight cause he done all the Xanax’s and didn’t save my mom any. So I thought what if someone is dead or someone overdosed! I took my jack and opend the door with my sleeve cause there was blood on the doorknob. I told my baby brother to stay outside. I walked in and saw stuff everywhere puddles of blood a knife in a sink and couldn’t find my mom. I called my brother and dad and told them to pick me up. They were there in no time and took us home. It had been 48 hrs before I even heard from my mom and the first call was her cussing me and making sure I didn’t let the cops in cause there was drugs everwhere. She hung up on me and I went crying inside. By then we were taken away from my mom but she still had visitation. On my birthday she came and cussed me out and fell asleep on the couch causes she was all zanied out. She left after after about an hour.. Didn’t even say I love you. Soon after we had to start living with my mom again. She constantly tried to fight called me names and a I shot right back. It had been going on until she got her house taken away cause she blew all her money on nerve pills and ice. So we had to stay at my mothers boyfriends dad house and still do when I’m with her and not at my dads. I constantly suffer through depression and think/know my parents don’t love me. She off drugs now and is getting a place but I still feel unloved and unwanted. Right when I read this article I started to cry cause everything was so true.I don’t know what to do I’ve already tried to commit suicude but it never works. What do I do!

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Chloe you need to hear this – what your parents are doing is so wrong and it has nothing to do with who you are. I can hear how strong, brave and wonderful you are. You have been through so much and you are still fighting and able to speak with such wisdom and clarity. I wish so much that your parents were the type of people who could love and protect you, but for all sorts of reasons some people just aren’t able to. None of these reasons have anything to do with their children.

Is there someone you can talk to? A teacher? A relative? A school counsellor? Someone who can listen to you and help you to feel safe and loved. Teachers are amazing – they are able to do so much more than teach. If there is a teacher you trust, let them know that you are feeling scared and confused. Sometimes the hardest part of a conversation is knowing how to start it. Just start by asking them if you can speak to them about something that is hurting you. They will know what to do next. It’s not an easy conversation to have but you have massive courage in you – I can hear that in your words. What is happening to you isn’t normal. Even an adult would struggle a lot to go through what you are going through. You don’t have to do this by yourself.

Your story and your voice are powerful. You are very wanted and very loved – the world needs more people with the courage and wisdom that you have. You need to be here. Keep fighting for you beautiful girl. You are so important.


Wow – what a perfect article. Tells the story of my life. I was well into adulthood when I realized how damaging my mother was to my self esteem. Even after years of therapy and medication, I still struggle with anxiety and depression – the horrible thoughts that I am not good enough for my mother – or anyone – to love me. As we speak, my mother refuses to talk to me (because I have recently come out to express anger in her treatment of me). She says I can only come back into the fold if I apologize. She will not accept that she has done anything to hurt me. Just to hear the words “you are enough, you are strong, your loyalty is admirable” brings tears to my eyes.


Your mother sounds similar to mine – dismissive, critical, withholding, and contemptuous. Raging, vacant, sullen, and controlling, while showing interest in the child only when there is some accomplishment that ‘looks good’ on the parent. Meanwhile, choosing favourites amongst siblings and even grandchildren which also hurts (some of) the next generation. It is confusing to that a mother can be cruel while telling you how loving she really is, and never knowing what the mood of the day will bring. When I look at my own children who have experienced healthy attachment, I see an enormous difference in their resiliency to deal with life’s adversities. I am tired of excuses that bad parents throw around “I did the best I could” and “there is no parenting manual”. Why then am I able to provide better, more loving, more interested, more respect, and other good parenting skills, when I learned from my parents otherwise? I didn’t have a manual either. I think there is a simple inability to feel empathy and compassion, and this may be due to a self absorbed narcissism in these kinds of mothers.


I came to this page while looking for a online support group for adult kids of toxic mothers. Thanks for the great article. I’ve skimmed through some of the comments and, as painful as they are to read, it’s a bit comforting knowing I’m not alone in my feelings of hurt and confusion. This is the closest I’ve come to finding a group of people who have dealt and are dealing with toxic parents. I wish there was an actual group. Does anyone know of one?

I was adopted and my mother (adopted mom, I’ve never met my birth mother) once told me she never wanted me, that the only reason they adopted me was because my dad wanted a girl. So in essence I was rejected twice. The saddest part is I agreed with her when she said that and then felt guilty for ever taking up space. That has been a theme of mine which has led to eating disorders (to make myself as small as possible so I take up less valuable space that I don’t deserve) and tons of self-loathing.

My mother was jealous of me and dismissive at the same time. I would somehow hurt her (I almost never knew what I did) and she would give me the silent treatment for days, even weeks at a time. It was literally like I didn’t exist. When I would try to talk to her she’d look through me or just walk away. She withheld love as punishment.
When I broke my arm at soccer practice in 7th grade she acted caring and loving when she picked me up, but in the car she yelled at me to stop crying and told me I was acting like a baby. When I broke my toe, I was on the floor crying in pain and she stepped over me without acknowledging me at all. When I had the stomach flu she made me sleep on the floor in the bathroom so I could throw up in the toilet and not ruin her precious furniture and rugs. She’d call my dad at work and tell him I did or said something awful that I never actually did or said. She wanted him to be mad at me when he got home and he often was. She let my brothers emotionally and physically abuse me and if I tried to defend myself she’d punish me. My older brother actually tried to kill me once and she defended him.

If anything bad happened to me my parents would never take my side. I had to learn to fight it out myself. I was never able to talk to them about any problems in my life and learned to bottle everything up. I ended up being pretty promiscuous and putting up with a lot of abuse from men because I never learned how to establish boundaries because I felt worthless.

My mother told me I wasn’t as pretty as I thought I was even though I always hated
myself. She told me I ruined every family picture, that I laughed like a hyena and walked like a cow. She rolled her eyes and walked away when I came down in my wedding dress on the day of my wedding.
For 3 years after my family and I moved out of the country she never answered my calls. She didn’t call until 5 weeks after my baby was born. He’s 5 and a half months now and I still haven’t spoken to her. She’ll never come to see him and refuses to FaceTime or Skype with my 6 year old daughter but does so with the beloved daughters of my younger brother who is my parent’s only biological child.
My father, while never actually acknowledging any of the pain my mother caused, told me she suffered from a hormone imbalance while I was growing up and that made her depressed. I guess it was his way of excusing her behavior. Now she really is sick and it will be her excuse for everything. I, too, have hormonal issues but I am working on fixing them and wouldn’t dream of using it to excuse mistreatment of my kids.
I had an amazing psychotherapist who got me to realize that the way I was raised was unhealthy and abusive and it opened my eyes to so much about my life and who I grew up to be because of it. Before that I just blamed myself and wondered why I kept making such poor choices. That was 6 years ago and I’m definitely thinking about going back to therapy. The truth is, I feel stronger than ever before and I’m really grateful for how much I have managed to accomplish despite the way my mother treated me & still does. And I’m proud that I’ve broken the cycle and treat my children with love and support. I am hardly a perfect parent, but I own up to my mistakes and apologize when I’m wrong. My children know how much they are treasured and valued.
But I can’t put the past to rest because it seems like the stronger I get, the more my mother resents me. My aunt (her sister) called me the other day (first time in years) and reminded me what an “awful” and “terrible” baby I was because I wasn’t cuddly and didn’t like to be held. She made me feel like I should apologize for it, as though I did it on purpose just to hurt them. This knocked me down and I’m still upset about it. It seems like I can never escape it no matter how hard I try to move on.
Thanks for letting me vent. I’m at a crossroads right now which is why I’m looking for support from those who’ve been there. Reading this incredibly helpful article and your stories does help. I think you’re all very courageous! I wish you love and healing.



Coming from a history of abuse with a dad that also was badly abused I am still taking his money at 52, he now is 78. I want to stop taking from him and instead access my own blessing. This will heal my family with 5 children in it who have grown up in poverty because I – despite being gifted and smart – did not believe in MYSELF. The new year 5777 (I am Jewish in Israel) will be the year that I will free myself and my 4 sons and my lovely daughter from the toxic bond with my father who calls twice a week to check in on me, but basically treats me as a stupid person, meaning he always knows better about everything. I choose to rely on MYSELF and to form healthy bonds with sane people and to accept the good guidance which my dear friends here in Israel try to give me and to finally retire my dad from our life.


I am a senior citizen….My father left my abusive and narcissistic mother when I was 8 (He abandoned me knowing who and what she was)…she had been abusing me physically & mentally since I was born…with all of the things you mentioned in your article with the addition of physical abuse. nothing I did was ever good enough…I am ugly and have big feet will never amount to anything because I am useless and unlovable she told me I was born a murderer because my twin did not survive, she told me I was selfish and had suffocated him to steal his air and essence I was a spawn of Satan a flesh eating demon who she needed to exorcise for my own good… This woman was so cruel…she bound me around the toilet with handcuffs while their was feces in the toilet in front of the foster children she treated like a normal person would…and snark faces at me while doing it there were years of beatings, being locked in her closet etc… I got pregnant at 15 and she tried to force me to have an abortion…I refused and she took me to the fathers parents home (the parents whom I had never met) and knocked on the door …when they answered they placed my suitcase in front of them and told them I was their problem now and left me there …that is how we met…then (being both police officers) my mother & stepfather threatened to charge their 21 yr old son with rape if there was not a wedding… when this did not work out we divorced… My mother let me come back home with my daughter but I was not allowed to sleep in the house they pitched me a tent outside by the horse corrals they owned with a coffee can to use to go to the bathroom… she then began to take my child away from me…and during that she belittled me to my child calling me a criminal and a bad influence and to be afraid of me and hate me! She used her position as a sheriff to take my child away from me in the very court she worked in…. she went so far as to try to promote schemes to get me arrested and made a felon, a permanent criminal …I was only 16… every attempt she made to frame me was unsuccessful but all of the police inquiries or investigations she herself made up and started against me …she was still able to use them against me in court to steal my child by simply testifying “look at how many times the police have had to investigate me” while standing in HER court in Uniform… she stole my baby from me and turned her against me…she caused a non repairable rift between my daughter and I with her hatred towards me…now I have 4 grandchildren by my daughter who have never met me and who think I am a criminal via my daughters repeating of my mother lies..I have never been arrested nor in trouble with the law EVER in my life for any reason…yet my mother continues to tell anyone who will listen that I am a criminal and does not deserve to be allowed any where near my family including my siblings and foster sisters and brothers…. I have spent my entire life alone no cards at Christmas or birthdays from any of them, I stopped talking to my mother 20 yrs ago…but when I was married in 2001 she somehow found out and without invitation she just showed up and made it all about her once again…My own daughter refused to come saying her new boyfriends mother said I would be an disgrace and a bad influence on her son and this would jeopardize their future as a family together if she were to allow me around her son… any way now I am well over the 50 yr mark and I find my self extremely depressed over my throw away status..and being a person not even a parent could love… you see when I was very little I had started a self preservation tactic of during beatings or extreme punishments I would pretend I was just an old lady having a bad memory and it couldn’t really hurt me because it was just a memory….then I could cry for the old woman and her sad memory and deflect all of the pain I had at such a tender young age… it helped me to survive then…. the problem is NOW I am that old woman and I cannot stop crying for that poor little girl now…it pains me so badly I scream into my pillow and call myself ugly names and wonder why….why am I such a waste of life …why am I a person (who has never been in trouble ) yet am completely alone void of a single friendship… I know that none of the things my mother said or the vicious tools used against me are real yet she succeeded in stealing my mother hood from me and replace it with hatred forced into the mind of my child to continue her hatred for me and the theft of the love of my grandchildren and future generations of my own blood… I cannot change anything now as my daughter is already 40 and the grand kids are hateful of me… but how can I rid myself of this cycle of depression that began with an abused little girl crying for an old lady’s memories and ends with that old lady crying now for the memories of a tortured & abused little girl, teen mother and unloved person until I married at 40… its such a vicious cycle and I dont know how to change the cycle or its continuous torture and pain… is there any hope left for this old gal… I spend a lot of time alone as my husband has to go out to sea often and having no friends or even a phone call from any one ever leads to no human contact from anywhere for weeks at a time which leaves a lot of time to think and feel utterly alone and useless…. I am not suicidal I would NEVER take my life but I really hate crying and screaming into my pillow all the friggin time… I dont drink or use drugs.. I do watch a lot of TV but not tear jerkers or love stories because they do not reflect an truth in MY reality of life and just make me wish I knew how it felt to actually have a real family I also cannot listen to music …to many memories to trigger utter sadness. UGG am I to old to get out of this rut? *sighs*

Karen - Hey Sigmund

I’m so sorry this has happened to you. Your childhood was abusive and traumatic and should never have happened. None of this has been your fault. You deserved to be loved and nurtured and protected. Your mother’s messages are all lies and are a reflection of her own dysfunction, not yours. You are a survivor, a fighter, wise and strong. You would have to be to come through the things that have happened to you. Don’t pick up where your mother left off by telling yourself the things she used to tell you. That’s her story – it’s not yours. Yours is one of survival, strength, courage. It is also one of loss and it is okay to grieve for that, but you deserve to find happiness. It is never too old to get change things. It will take a big push from you, but this will be easy compared to what you have gone through. You deserve to be seen, heard and loved and you deserve not to be lonely. There are people out there who would love to know you. The more time you spend on your own, the more your thoughts and your history will eat away at you. You’re too important for that to happen. Take some time to think about how to meet other people and move outside the cycle of thoughts and heartache that you are in now. I’m not sure what this will look like for you but it will be something. It’s never too late. The main thing is to expose yourself to people and an environment that is healthy and supportive. Love and strength to you.


Your mother belongs in jail. Seriously. I wish you could’ve taped her on one of her tirades or maybe now you may have evidence you can present someplace. I could write more but will just say I wish you well, you are none of the things this monster portrayed.


Thank you for your thoughts…. I wish that I could have taped her….but I was to afraid she would kill me if she had found out I was doing that… Once she beat me bloody and I ran away to a neighbor’s home who called the police….but I was so afraid that because she was an officer herself that if they did not help me she would kill me and get away with it…so when the police arrived I told them I did it to my self The neighbor did not tell me they had called the police before they arrived and I was so afraid at 10 yrs old I lied out of pure self preservation… but after the police had left..the neighbor kicked me out of her house and told me NEVER come running here again…. she did not understand that I feared the consequences of telling on the monster (possible death) more than I feared another beating… after that my fate was sealed as there was nowhere left to hide… I want to thank you for responding and for your support!


Dear Debbie
The post you placed is now a few years old. But I just wanted to wish you well, and to thank you for sharing your story. I just wanted to say I was having a bad day, I was angry, so, so, angry. I have only this last year come to except the truth of my life. It has all been like a dream; it has taken me 48 years to start to accept the truth, most of my childhood I have blacked out, I just get glimpses occasionally. I have walked through my life, I don’t know how?

What touched me about your post, you mention looking back to the child you were. I guess that is what has happened to me. I scream out for the child I was, I weep and I get so angry for that little child. Why, why now; why did it ever have to be like that?

I just want to say thank you; I know it is not much, but at least I know there is someone else in this world who understands. My thoughts go with you, and at least I now know somewhere in this world there is a person, who is called Debbie who knows what it is like, and I don’t have to make excuses to anyone anymore, because, Debbie knows the truth.

Thank you, you seem so strong, I will be strong now.


I am 39 year old woman in therapy. I have come along way, and starting to realise a lot of things about myself. I have two beautiful children that my mother has only met once. I have not seen her for at least 6 years, even though she lives 20 miles away. Throughout my therapy I have come across my inner child, and that was scary. My father, now passed was a manic depressive, but a beautiful man and miss him very much. My mother was an alcoholic, then became very addicted to pain killers, she has been in and out of mental hospitals/clinics since I was little. Now I am trying to reconnect with her through letters and phone calls. But unfortunately all I get is the past thrown in my face, guilt and manipulation. I could class her as toxic as she has made me feel quite ill, that’s why I’m attending therapy at the moment. I want some kind of positive relationship with her, but I also don’t want to keep getting hurt.
I would love to know, if and when we do ever meet, what questions should I ask her, or not! I would really appreciate some advice.
I have tried to come up with some questions but I can almost see the outcome and answers. My therapist is giving me some tools to cope, but I would love to hear from others. Love & peace xx


Great Article:

Resonates with me. Took of 18 years of Jung – empty chair (and other) therapy to breathe without holding it for fear.

Buddhist teacher once told me “it takes a lot (of merit) to be a human being”. ie. not just a being. So: I am learning to “know myself” which I find the most facinating hobby there is………. (Love watching “Blade Runner” “my mother, I’ll tell you about my mother!”) 🙂 Great article, get out of the swamp of being everyday people…..what an A plus thing to do.

Rafal D

No Davida I believe you don’t have a choice (although I may be wrong – every circumstances are different).
I’m protecting my son from my toxic mother as much as I can. He seen her only once during his 14 years of life.
When I realised that after years she is still toxic I stopped the contact again.
For me emigration is a good tool. I’m probably one of few Poles who emigrated to UK not for money (I did have a good career in Poland). I emigrated to escape from my toxic mother who now don’t even know my address. You will find your way too. I’m sure about this. Be strong


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The point of any ‘discipline’ is to teach, not to punish. (‘Disciple’ means student, follower, learner.)

Children don’t learn through punishment. They comply through punishment, but the mechanism is control and fear. 

The problem with this, is that the goal becomes avoiding us when things go wrong, rather than seeking us out. We can’t influence them if we’ve taught them to keep their messes hidden from us. 

We can’t guide our kiddos if they aren’t open to us, and they won’t be open to us if they are scared of what we will do. 

We all have an instinctive need to stay relationally safe. This means feeling free from rejection, shame, humiliation. The problem with traditional discipline is that it rejects and judges the child, rather than the behaviour. 

Hold them close, reject their behaviour. 

This makes it more likely that they will turn toward us instead of away from us. It opens the way for us to guide, lead, teach. It makes it safe for them to turn and face what’s happened so they can learn what they might do differently in the future.

Rather than, ‘How do I scare them out of bad behaviour?’ try, ‘How do I help them to do better next time?’ 

Is the way you respond to their messy decisions or behaviour more likely to drive them away from you in critical times or towards you? Let it be towards you.

This doesn’t mean giving a free pass on big behaviour. It means rather than leading through fear and shame, we lead through connection, conversation and education. 

The ‘consequence’ for big behaviour shouldn’t be punishment to make them feel bad, but the repairing of any damage so they can feel the good in who they are. It’s the conversation with you where they turn and face their behaviour. This will always be easier when they feel you loving them, and embracing who they are, even when you reject what they do.♥️
#parent #parents #mindfulparenting #gentleparenting
Kununurra I’m so excited to be with you tonight. I’ll be giving you super practical ways to strengthen your kiddos and teens against all sorts and all levels of anxiety - big anxiety, little anxiety, anxiety about school, separation, trying new things - all of it. You’ll walk away with things you can do tonight - and I can’t wait! Afterwards we’ll have time for a chat where we can dive into your questions (my favourite part). This is a free event organised by the Parenting Connection WA (I love this organisation so much!). The link for tickets is in my story♥️
Hello Broome! Can’t wait to see you tonight. Tickets still available. The link is in my story. 

Thank you Parenting Connection WA for bringing me here and for the incredible work you do to support and strengthen families.♥️
What a weekend! Thank you Sydney for your open hearts, minds and arms this weekend at @resilientkidsconference. Your energy and warmth were everything.♥️
I LOVE being able to work with early childhood centres and schools. The most meaningful, enduring moments of growth and healing happen on those everyday moments kids have with their everyday adults - parents, carers, teachers. It takes a village doesn’t it.♥️

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