During our childhood, we often don’t think much about our parent’s toxic behaviors. Because they are what we know, even though we realize that something is off, we disregard our feelings and accept them.
However, the older we get, and the more we are exposed to other people, and healthy adults who aren’t toxic, the more we realize the flaws of our parents. No one wants to admit their parent or parents are toxic, and no one wants to accept that their toxic parents impacted who they grew into as adults.
But, the sooner we realize the roots of our flaws, the sooner we can begin healing from the trauma of it all. Here are 10 subtle ways having a toxic parent affects you into adulthood.
1. You have trouble accepting your own emotions.
Growing up with a toxic parent is an extremely hard experience. Parents are supposed to help us to work through our emotions, but toxic parents are often not equipped for this task. Rather than getting the validation and encouragement to work through our emotions, we are told emotions make us weak. Because of this, children who grow up with toxic parents have a hard time accepting their emotions.
2. You struggle with self-esteem.
Toxic parents often work to tear their children down, rather than to build them up. They will make them feel as though they are unworthy of love, which over time can tear away from their self-esteem. Because we are born reaching our parents for love when they don’t provide it, we are left feeling flawed or as though we are unworthy.
3. You struggle with anxiety.
Being raised by a toxic parent makes you much more susceptible to anxiety disorders. While parents are supposed to make us feel more secure in this world, a toxic parent does the opposite, making the world feel like an unsafe place.
4. You have a hard time getting close to others.
It has been said that our parents model relationships for us in life. In the case of a toxic parent, who is guarded and cold, we begin to struggle with intimacy with others, because it was never modeled for us. In turn, in other relationships, we may struggle to get close because we don’t know how.
5. You have insecure attachment styles.
In a situation where children are raised healthily, they learn healthy attachment. When their parents leave them for a bit and return, they go right to their parents and are seemingly unfazed by their leaving. However, in the case of a toxic or neglectful parent, an insecure attachment style occurs. This manifests either through avoidance or anxious attachment styles.
6. You have a hard time trusting others.
When we learn early on that people aren’t to be trusted, because we cannot trust our parents, it sets a precedent in our minds. Rather than believing that people want the best for us or that people are inherently good, we instead grow to believe that people must be bad or at the very least, are not to be trusted.
7. You have a hard time trusting in yourself.
When our parents treat us badly, and belittle us, deep down to our core, we believe what they say. We believe that we deserve how we are being treated and we grow to resent ourselves. Later in life, that distrust and sense of unworthiness only continue to linger.
8. Struggling with healthy relationships.
Growing up with toxic parents can make us accustomed to toxic relationships. We may become so familiar with it, that when we encounter a healthy relationship, we don’t know how to handle it, or how to accept real love.
9. Your reactions are extreme.
When you grow up among chaos and intense emotions, the world also feels intense and filled with chaos. Due to this, slight emotions and feelings can feel like immense pressure or weight on your back, and without thinking, this pressure can lead to extreme reactions.
10. You have a very critical inner voice.
Toxic parents are often highly critical. Nothing you ever do will ever feel like it’s good enough, and every mistake is an opportunity to be belittled. Sadly, the more we hear their critiques growing up, the harder it will be to remove their voice from our minds later on. But, it is possible. And recognizing where this voice originates is the first step toward that healing.