8 Ways to Heal From Toxic Parents
Your life may turn into a prison if your parents constantly say you’re not good enough. This affects one’s adult life greatly, leaving you without self-confidence, opinions, and a critical voice inside you. Healing doesn’t come in a strike of willpower, but with the right advice, it may turn into a journey you need and can endure.
We at Bright Side found a few ways you can learn to understand your situation and restore your life for the better.
1. Stop trying to please them.
If you don’t like what your parents have envisioned for you, you don’t have to listen to them.
What to do: Please yourself and not them — it’s okay to put yourself first.
Remember: What you should do is remember that generosity and pleasing people are 2 different things. True generosity comes from genuine and healthy self-regard from sharing that enjoyment. However, people-pleasing comes from lowering that self-regard and looking for your parents’ approval.
2. Rebuild your opinions.
Living with toxic parents means that you don’t know how to express your feelings and thoughts in a healthy way. It’s easy to get lost when there’s another stronger voice next to you.
What to do: Practice your opinions with someone you can trust, like a friend or another family member. For example, when it’s time for you to go out with your friends, suggest a place you want and say something like, “What do you think about going to the movies instead?”
Remember: Preferences are not something you have to start a fight about. It’s about honesty, even when you listen to another person’s opinion, like, “I understand what you are saying, but I see the situation differently.”
3. Stop criticizing yourself.
If you were abused, ignored, or criticized as a child; in your mind, you’re probably used to harsh self-talk. We tend to get stuck on cruel messages from other people, but you can change your thoughts.
What to do: Become aware of the critical voice inside your head and write down the things it says. Next to these, write a positive thought to replace them. This could look like: “You’ll never be good as others,” to “No one can take my place.”
Remember: Go for a walk, take a nap, visit your favorite place, or do anything you like to do. If you see that your critical voice is about to surface when you do these activities, block it by saying, “I am valuable, and it’s important for me to have some fun or rest.”
4. Set boundaries and enforce them.
When you set clear boundaries, it will limit how other people treat you. It creates physical and emotional space between your parents and you, which is something you probably didn’t have when you were a kid.
What to do: Setting boundaries with your parents starts when you decide what’s off-limits and what you’re willing to do. Think in advance if there’s anything you don’t want to share with them. For example, say no to surprise visits since it’s up to you who you’ll spend the holidays with, and answer their messages and phone calls when you’re ready.
Remember: Relationships should be built on respect, which doesn’t come with those who treat you poorly. At first, it might be uncomfortable to set the boundaries and tell your parents how you want them to treat you.
5. Try not to be around other toxic people.
Growing up with toxic parents probably means that you’ve missed out on nurturing, warmth, and love. This draws you closer to people who share these same qualities with your parents. You might unintentionally look for someone with a similar personality to get the support you didn’t have with your parents.
What to do: Ask yourself questions that will help you become aware of the type of people you are surrounded by, like, “What do they have in common?” or “What do you do that’s almost the same as the relationship with your parents?” or “What keeps you with them?”
Remember: Other toxic people can have the same negative influence over your life, and you won’t find the warmth, love, and nurturing you missed in them either.
6. Understand that it’s okay to let go.
Loyalty can sometimes get in the way when it comes to protecting yourself. Letting go might seem like the most difficult decision to make, but it’s very important.
What to do: Even if toxic people don’t deserve all the attention they get, it’s in our nature to connect. That’s why letting them go might be the best step to take. The state of your relationship is not your fault.
Remember: You’ve already gone through so much, so don’t think that you’re not strong enough to stand up for yourself. You’re the one who can make a decision, and once you do that, you’ll start to heal.
7. Don’t share everything with them.
Trust is a key element for a strong and healthy relationship, and personal info should be shared with only those who are trustworthy. In the case of toxic parents, they don’t fall under this category, especially if they criticize you, gossip about you, and share things without your permission.
What to do: Be aware of what you share with your parents. Ask yourself questions before you open up, like, “What doesn’t feel safe?” or “What does feel safe to share with my parents?”
Remember: If you aren’t compelled to tell them everything, share only what you feel safe and comfortable about.
8. Control where you meet.
Toxic parents are most comfortable at home and in other family-friendly places. That’s because, in these places, they have the power to control you.
What to do: Next time you want to meet your parents, choose a public place surrounded by other people. There, you might have control because they won’t have the same chance to fall into their old behavior. Even if they do fall into their old patterns, you’ll be able to get up and leave.
Remember: Having control over where you meet with your parents will also give you a chance to be aware of their behavior.
Can you share your own strategies that can help one deal with toxic parents? What kinds of side effects do you think toxic parents can have on our adult life?