Living &/Or Dealing With A Toxic Parent

The first step is to accept this one fact: You cannot change your parents. Period. So all the work you will have to do will be in changing your perspective and inner world.

The most vital thing in my eyes is to know yourself best and what person you want to grow into. You must take care of yourself and love yourself enough to not take even your own family’s word’s to heart. Hear them from one ear, take them out from the other like they say. This requires you to put an effort into fostering and nurturing your self-esteem, love, and respect.

If your own parents do not accept you as you are; do NOT change for them. All you need is your own acceptance!

Don’t take their behavior personally. Choose compassion, and break the cycle.

We are all who we are today because of our own parent’s relationship together and how they brought us up. Even our parent’s have childhood wounds to mend.

For example, I grew up without any affection in our home and that is because my parent’s themselves never experienced a love past buying us material items. Not everyone works on his childhood issues in awareness and changes him/herself and their lives. So if you are hurting because of their ways, recognize it is because they are also damaged within and did not experience any better. Be bigger and better because you are lucky enough to see a greater picture and truth and thus, choose empathy.

Do not take their commands personally. Realize that most parents try to mold you into what they wish they had fought for before. They want you to lead their unfulfilled dreams.

Also, unfortunately, traditions and cultures lead them into only caring for outside approval and doing what is norm and no more. Even if they personally regret doing so, to them that the damage has long been done to change, so they expect to succumb along to the rest of society.

Assert yourself politely, with a calm voice tone, and strictly. For example things I would say: “Thank you for concluding this and that about me, I know myself best.” “If you’re trying to make me react, I am sorry I will not- I have long learned your ways.” “I will not be with him or work at a job I despise, I am too spiritual and amazing to give up on myself.” “I will not wear this for it is not me.” “I know myself and my body best. You cannot control what is mine.”

Do not try to change your mother/father/brother/sister. Trust me, it will only backfire! Some people never ever change. It will only create unnecessary drama and burden you with issues and you will not succeed in changing them. Many of the emotions and memories you bring up will be dismissed because no matter how strong your words are, they will not listen. They are closed in mind and heart to one viewpoint you cannot even shake.

Focus on what you can control: your own behaviors and reaction. This will take practice and a lot of it honestly. Check my two (1 and 2) posts on anger for this one! Also, know it’s normal to get angry- no one can push my buttons like my mother and the timings she attacks in- but you can teach yourself to use that anger constructively and productively. Express, exercise, create art, go out with friends… etc.

Talk to them, but not about personal problems or very intimate topics. Best to avoid what you know they cannot comprehend for whatever the reasons; being egoistic, inexperienced, only caring to command and control instead of listen, understand and accept your differences…and so on. Not because they are family and around then you need to be good friends!

Focus on being kind, not right. Do not act like they do! Treat them how you want to be treated. Never return a harsh word. If they really push you and you lose it, it is okay. Be self-compassionate and forgiving, and go and apologize. For your sake mostly.

Act out of intent and do not lose yourself in their behavior. I know for me, no matter how much my mother hurts me I never want to hurt her back- surely not intentionally!

Put your life in your own hands, be responsible for yourself and your life. Take charge and do not let them sidetrack you from your truth and purpose- no matter what they say or do!

Set healthy boundaries. Make things clear and then take action to protect yourself and people you love, and do it in a loving and respectful way. Even if they will not understand or accept your boundaries, stick to them anyways!

Depending on the degree of their toxicity, limit your time. Realize you will need your space to heal and often, especially if you still live with them. You need to reflect, express in your own ways, and allow recovery which means away from the toxic individual. The objective is to understand, accept, and surrender to a better you instead of be like those that are leading you to your worst. Be the calm of the storm.

Know when to walk away. It is important to know the triggers. As well as, know when to walk away. Let them win the fight, and win your sanity and peace of mind by walking away. Go pray, wish them well. Sometimes to love someone it can only be done from a distance!

If you have a truly toxic parent, like one who was abusive physically or is an addict or is not fit to be in your life, for your own mental health know that you do not have to put up with it. Do what is healthy for you! If it means refraining and avoiding them, then by all means, do so. I would suggest however, just being there when needed in occasions and emergencies. In this scenario also, let them know why you choose to not be in their life and under which circumstances you will show up.

Seek out support in friends and other great healthy women and men out there! Do not isolate yourself. If you have healthy relatives, that would be great too.

Family does not have to be blood-related; they are whom listen, understand, accept and love you even for all your flaws and wrongs.

No one wants to be roaming this world alone misunderstood and unaccepted, so find your people even if they are not the ones that brought you to this world!

Finally, never forget some people live without the blessing of parents and family; even if they are your greatest challenge and seem like a curse at points. Never be ungrateful, the most unpleasant of people can be your greatest of teachers. When you have to be around them almost daily, imagine how self-conquered you can train yourself to become. In the majority of cases trust me when I say your parents love you in their own way, it is just sad that most use their kids to escape their personal problems, childhood issues, unfulfilled self and dreams, insecurities and so on.

To conclude, lead by example. Take care of yourself. Know and own yourself. Stay focused on your truth and purpose. Stay in tune with your goodness. Be empathetic and compassionate. Understand and accept them and your differences. Focus on the only person you can control and are responsible for: Yourself. Choose to respond instead of react. Choose to be kind and forgiving. Do not take anything personally. Treat them well. Be humble and respectful. And pray for them!

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