How to deal with toxic parents

Here’s a simple guide in 10 steps on how to deal with toxic parents, since I know how hard it can get at times. First of all, remember you’re loved, and, if you need anything, or just need to talk, feel free to message me:)

  • Remember your value. You’re a special, kind human being, who’s dealing with a difficult situation, but believe me, you’ll get out of it and you’ll get better. I know it can get hard at times to believe in yourself when your parents are the first ones to drag you down. If you feel suffocated under the pressure of their comments, reach out for help: you deserve it. Don’t ever let the people you love tell you you’re other than strong, brave and beautiful.
  • Allow yourself to feel your emotions. One thing I’ve heard so much while growing up was: “They’re still your parents”, as a way to say I had to love them, no matter how they behaved. Well, forget it. Toxic is toxic, I don’t care if it’s your friends or your family, remember what’s better for yourself. Don’t ever let the bond you have with a person justify the way they make you feel. You don’t have to love your parents, or even like them. Express the way you feel towards them, no matter what you’re told to do.
  • Make space for yourself. In a toxic family, spaces are often difficult to find. Always remember flowers need sunlight to bloom, and they cannot grow in the shadow. You cannot grow in a toxic environment: set boundaries, see your friends more often if you need to, go for a walk when you feel overwhelmed and don’t force yourself to stay still when things aren’t working out for you.
  • Get therapy. A toxic thing my mother told me while growing up was that, if I asked for therapy, the problem was mine. Getting therapy is in no way a dimonstration of weakness, therapy is a moment when you allow yourself to breathe, to figure out the ways you need to react to a difficult situation. Don’t renounce it for what your parents think of it.
  • Find support. Your friends aren’t psychologists, but they’re loving and supporting people who want to help you grow. Trust them, ask for help when you need it, don’t isolate youself.
  • Don’t vent out too much with your friends. If finding support in your friends is what you need to do in order to feel good, venting out too much with them will affect the relationship you have with them. As I said before, your friends aren’t psychologist: remeber it. If you find yourself asking for a bit too much support, consider therapy.
  • Don’t fall into their traps. Something my mother does a lot is becoming extremely nice all of a sudden, apparently for no reason at all. I used to always fall into it when I was younger. I became optimistic and thought that things could finally work out between us. Time has shown that it was just a perpetual cycle: after a while she would get angry at me for a meaningless event, and I would feel bad about it and about myself again. It’s called intermittent reinforcement, and makes you believe you are the problem in the relationship. You are not. Don’t stop being optimistic, just direct your optimism elsewhere: believe in yourself, in your friends, in the relationships you’re building.
  • Don’t expect deep conversations. I’ve always loved discussions, and have tried a lot to have deep, meaningful ones with my parents. I don’t think I have to say it never worked. Don’t expect your parens to understand you or to tolerate any difference between the two of you. Your opinion is valid and important: feel free to express it with your friends, and all those people you love the most. Don’t waste your time in stupid conflicts when you know it will end up like that.
  • Keep a diary or a journal. Writing what you’re going through and your feelings will help you perceive them from a more objective point of view. What at first sight may seem a huge problem, when you think about it, will become a lot easier. Use your jounal to express your thoughts and analize difficult situations.
  • Their behaviour doesn’t define who you are. You aren’t someone’s daughter or son, you are someone. Decide who you want to be and figure out who you are. It’s up to you to decide it. Don’t normalize their behaviour, expect yourself to be better and work for it.

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