I have numerous amounts of clients that battle with agonizing decisions whether or not to cut off a toxic abusive parent. It’s not an easy plight to conceptualize cutting off a parent nevertheless actually following through on this. When there has been years of emotional, physical, psychological or sexual abuse, however, it becomes necessary to begin processing if making healthy boundaries with a parent as an adult is necessary. With years of guilt trips, manipulative behaviors, perpetual shaming, blaming and verbal abuse this can begin to take a toll on a person psyche.
Parents are our primary nurturing figures, parents are the people who teach us self love, empathy for ourselves and others, getting in touch with our own voices and learning how to trust others and ourselves. Healthy attachments to our parents teaches us that the world is safe, love is safe and that we can make healthy boundaries in using our own voices in getting our voices heard and acknowledged. With a toxic parent, however, we begin to experience serious harm to our self concept and psyche. The risk of being parented by a toxic parent includes:
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic Self- Doubt or inability to make a decision
- You could medicate your feelings with drugs or alcohol
- Finding abusive religious affiliations to take up where your pathological parents fell away
- You may have emotional intimacy problems or jump from relationship to relationship fearing abandonment or being alone
- Or you may engage in what they now call ‘sexual anorexia’ — the forbidding of yourself to ever be intimate or loving with someone else
- Chronic caregiving of others that results in increased frustration or burn out
- A total disregard for your own needs or self care
- You could battle depression or chronic anxiety
- Or fight nagging pessimism about your future or the world around you
- You might be dangerously naïve never trusting your own instincts and being constantly taken advantage of
- You could have eating disorders, sexual addictions/other sexual disorders
- Or obsessive compulsive behaviors
Society at large often shames and demoralizes people who make the difficult decision to set healthy boundaries and cut off their toxic parents. It is important to keep in mind that cutting off a toxic parent and repairing the psychological impact of years abuse should be processed with an objective party such as a licensed therapist. It is important to recognize that cutting off a parent is a multi step process where one needs to process and assess the life time harm and spill over effects in areas of emotional safety, relationships with others, relationship with self , anxiety, depression levels, etc. Being parented by a cold, distant, volatile and manipulative parent has conscious and sub-conscious effects, delving into the repair process with a trusted professional could be greatly helpful to the process.
Know that as you are beginning this process:
- It is OK to Demand Mutual Respect as an adult from your parent
- You Deserve relationships with your parents that makes you feel uplifted, loved and respected.
- If You usually feel like you have to second guess yourself or feel deflated/demeaned after conversations or encounters with your parent chances are you may need to take a second gaze at this relationship
- No one (not even a parent) has the right to demean or manipulate you
- You Deserve to use your voice to set healthy boundaries with your parents inorder to feel more loved, better understood and deeply respected.
You Deserve a Life of Abundance and Joy!
________________________________________________________________________ Monique West is the Program Director and Founder of Awaken The Power Therapy in Milford, CT. Monique believes that all the answers for a person to gear their lives in a powerful direction is trapped within them. Monique uses a strength based approach to guide clients to tap into their own inner power. Ms. West has worked as a therapist at America's largest non-profit voluntary mental health organization, Jewish Boards of Family & Children Services (JBFCS) where she has fine-tuned her expertise providing service to families, couples, & children.