When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Principessa, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Principessa

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    When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate

    By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.

    With the holidays upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to post this article.

    I have often said I wish I could divorce a certain verbally & emotionally abusive cousin. I finally did in 2007, I guess you could say I disowned her. I no longer go out of my way to be nice or even cordial to her. Sometimes it's difficult because her mom is my all time favorite aunt, but she and I have talked and she kind of understands. My mom however doesn't get it. :irked: She thinks that since we have so few family left I shouldn't excommunicate anybody. I've survived abusive relationships by walking away, why should I continue contact with an abusive family member?

    As difficult as it might be to implement, I think that your own mental health and safety are of paramount importance. If that means you have to cut ties between you and your parent(s) so be it. Being a martyr doesn't win you a prize . . .unless of course you consider migraines and bleeding ulcers a prize.

    Quite often as adults we create a new family without even realizing it. Your new family isn't necessarily the person you married or gave birth to, it's the people you choose to love, whom are no blood relation to you. The people you can count on no matter what to love and support you. Isn't that what a family is supposed to do?
    :cool:
     
  2. Ed69

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    Sadly I've had to cut ties with my mother.She does not understand my choice in religion or the woman that shares my bed.And she is very angry about these things.

    I can count on my new family to stand by me.But I still miss mom and the way she would hold me.But yes I look after me now days and give all my energy to the family that my wife and I have built.
     
    #2 Ed69, Nov 18, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  3. Principessa

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    I'm sorry you had to cut her off, I'm sure that was not an easy thing for you to do. :frown1: But I do understand that sometimes it's the only way we can lead the life we were meant to live.
     
  4. NCbear

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    My own parents are still, after more than 40 years of being parents, obviously unready for parenthood. They have a weird mix of thoughtful and irritatingly off-base parenting behaviors. Probably the worst part is that they openly do not appreciate the best in their sons; negative critiques have tended to outweigh positive ones for all the years of our lives. Toxic comments have included NEVER being satisfied with less than a 100 (or more!) on any test, NEVER being satisfied with less than straight A's, and NEVER being satisfied with the people we have chosen to share our lives with.

    Well, and there was the constant shouting, screaming, and physical abuse. In addition to the emotional abuse. But that's a story for another thread.

    As a result, each one of their four sons has distanced himself from them, including me. One lives 30 minutes away but has no contact whatsoever (except for showing up to my paternal grandmother's funeral in 2002, he hadn't even talked with my mother since he was kicked out of the house in 1983). The second moved to the other side of the Mississippi to avoid my parents (he lives in Colorado with his wife and seven [!!!] children). The third went to Thailand. I'm two hours away by car, but I call only every month to three months. (And there was a period of several years when I didn't call at all.)

    They're upset now that they haven't met more than one of their seven grandchildren, and that one only when she was a year-old baby. It's as though they never knew that if they treated their kids terribly, they'd be abandoned as soon as their kids could leave the house. Why don't adults understand about the consequences of their actions?

    It's just a tragic story all around. They're blind to their faults and confused about what they did to drive us (their four sons) away; we're out of their lives, by and large, and only two of us even call to see how they are (and didn't even do that for many years). And all my life, I have had difficulties making and keeping friends and acquaintances and building a network of people whom I could consider my "family"--due in large part to the toxic "lessons" I "learned" from growing up within a group of people who couldn't be trusted to be honest, genuinely loving, or nonviolent.

    NCbear (who still has flashbacks similar to PTSD)
     
  5. Lex

    Lex
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    I have never been of the mindset that any relative gets to treat you in an unacceptable way. The mantra of "Well, she's your sister" or "he's your father" does not fly with me. I have stopped interacting with many family members over their inability to be rational and/or respectful. I love and respect myself enough to do this.
     
  6. D_Jurgen Klitgaard

    D_Jurgen Klitgaard Account Disabled

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    My mom is a toxic parent. I'm about ready to tell her to fuck off and get psychiatric help. I work for my dad which puts him in the middle of it too.

    I love and respect my parents, but it's hard for me to respect my mother when she doesn't show me or my dad respect in return. He puts up with it because he doesn't want to lose her, but I think he needs to stick up for himself too and not get walked all over.
     
  7. Not_Punny

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    My own parents are both gone, so no worries there. (They weren't around enough to be toxic or otherwise.)

    But I worry about my own toxic moments as a parent. When we were younger I was under enormous stress -- thankfully, my kids mostly remember the good. I now go out of my way to be kind and good to my kids. Being cut off by one of my own kids would crush me. I'd do anything to prevent it from happening.
     
  8. helgaleena

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    It is hard not to turn into our parents as we become parents ourselves. Staying away from the ones who taught you to do toxic things is sometimes the best plan.

    I have struggled to forgive my parents for being the young idiots they were and kept carefully encouraging them in any signs of wisdom and affection toward us over the years. But thousands of miles between us are also a great comfort sometimes.

    Haha, my mother is on her way here now! She has grown wise since her days as a child bride though.
     
  9. AlteredEgo

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    My man's mother wasn't there for him when he was falsely accused of rape as a teen. Not only did she not believe him, and not protect him, she also didn't talk to him throughout the ordeal. Instead, she talked to Jesus, and her minister. Alone.

    When you're a child or adolescent, your parents are all you've got in the world. If they choose not to support you, not to communicate with you, who can be counted on for these things?

    As an adult, he struggled to get past the pain, trauma, and fear left behind by these events. He could barely have anything to do with any women. This was partially because of the previous accusation, but mostly because of his mother's continued demonstration that she could not be depended upon for emotional support, and her habit of disapproving of any choice he makes which doesn't exactly fit into her plan for the direction of his life.

    Now, he's distant with her. He calls her at least once a week to make sure she's well, and happy, and not in need of anything. However, he tells her nothing of his own life. Anything he tells her, he tells her because it has already happened and can't be poisoned by her input. She wonders why. She complains to anyone who will listen that we don't talk to her about anything important; she bemoans that she's always the last to know everything. His sister has started trying to get me to intervene on his mother's behalf. As if!
     
  10. Joseph

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    I don't like my family, my friends mean more to me, they support me, I can talk with them about anything, they never blame me for anything, they see what lies within me and believe in me.

    But my speeches of never wanting to see my parents or siblings ever again might be just anger outbursts... none the less I plan to move out and only see them from time to time. I'm different than them, I need my space.
     
  11. STYLYUNG

    STYLYUNG New Member

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    A good book on this subject is:" TOXIC PARENTS Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy And Reclaiming Your Life " by Dr. susan Forward.

    Bantam Books
     
  12. D_Ivana Dickenside

    D_Ivana Dickenside New Member

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    both my parents have their moments of nagging, bitching, ranting, and harsh criticism, but for the most part they are great parents. no one's perfect, and yes they do get under my skin A LOT. but they've always been there for me and have never let me down. i'm thankful and grateful they were able to give me the kind of life they didn't have when they were children.

    i also like the majority of my extended family. i've hardly ever had problems with the family members i see often and get along with. as for my relatives i don't like, i stay away from them as much as possible. a lot of my elder relatives (great aunts and uncles, for example) are super old skool and traditional, and that's where we clash, mostly because of generation gaps and american customs vs. asian customs. i avoid them at all costs.
     
  13. whatireallywant

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    My parents are/were about the only family I could get along with at all. I will cut ties with all extended family when I no longer have my dad. Some of them are ok on the surface, though. But a lot of my family are fundamentalist Christians and/or racist - including the younger ones!

    This year is going to be the toughest Christmas of my whole life in a way. My mom died the week before Christmas last year, and last Christmas I was still in too much of a state of shock (especially since my mom died suddenly, with no real warning). But this year I'm not in that state of shock. Add to that the fact that I will not even be able to go and see my dad for Christmas, because he lives in Indiana and I live in Texas - and work in retail, where I will have to work Christmas Eve and probably the day after Christmas as well.
     
  14. bek2335

    bek2335 New Member

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    whatireallywant, I'm sorry about the loss of your mother. I hope you get lots of love and solace from those close to you this holiday season. Regarding some of the other members of your family, it never ceases to amaze me how so many people who trumpet their so-called Christianity are also unabashed racists.
     
  15. stlbigman

    stlbigman New Member

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    Well I have no evil parent stories, but my ex-lover certainly does. When I met him, I was 14 and he was 15. He told me his mom was addicted to drugs, seldom worked and made his life at times a living hell. This pillar of society once took him on a drug run with her when he was about 15. When he was growing up, the 2 of them would share a room to sleep at night. If he had ANY money, he would have to tie it to his waist on the inside of his pants at night or the bitch would steal it. Just imagine that for a moment...having to hide cash inside your crotch or your mama would swipe it. If that's not fucked up, what is!? That is why i detest drugs and why drug dealers and users are the scum of society!!!
     
  16. King_ding_a_ling

    King_ding_a_ling New Member

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    Up untill I was 13 my father controlled my phycie (sp?) he was my foundation in life and when my eyes were finally opened to what he was... It destroyed me. I am glad I learned what I did from the situation and that I was strong enough to handle it because some people would have not been able to. (My mom also supported me through it and she and I are as much friends as I am her son)
     
  17. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    You know I've come to realise that one thing none of us are taught and that is how to be a good parent. I've listened to the stories from my own parents and seen how their parents have been as grandparents and failed to see the connection of the pictures they have painted.

    I'm not a parent myself but what I do say is cut your parents some slack. They are learning the job as they go along. All they ever had to go on was the trial and error ways of their own parents. Also don't expect too much from them as they are not Gods just because they are your parents. They are just normal human beings finding their way.
     
  18. helgaleena

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    Cutting slack is the ideal. We will do it if we can. Hopefully we had parents who showed us how to do that. If not, we have to practice until we get the hang of it.
     
  19. Autofellatio

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    I'm Malaysian, and Malaysian parents typically believe that 'sparing the rod spoils the child'.

    As a three-year-old, I used to be walloped nicely for eating slowly, not doing well at school, and other things that I saw others get away with all around.

    Growing up, I recall having great fears of being caned by mom or dad. Till today (I'm 19 now), I still have fears of being disciplined, whatever the means.

    In fact, when I used to be in the Scouts, I was one of the members who listened and obeyed his orders to the letter. Yes, the caning imprinted on me THAT much :frown1:

    Now, I am always somewhat afraid to stand up to people above me in any hierarchy. I didn't slow down on the mischief, though - just became extremely good at lying and covering my tracks.

    And aside from the caning imprint (which I do not deny was alright for now - being capable of obeying orders well is a plus), they did rip apart a friendship that went back almost a decade.

    That's right - nearly ten years of friendship, down the tubes. Now the other two guys and I rarely even talk anymore, even though we all live not more than 10 minutes away from each other. The reason they did it was because one of my friends had parents who divorced and whose father hit his mother. They claimed he'd be influenced by his father, and become an aggressor himself, in turn affecting me.

    Till today, no such nonsense has happened. In fact, he just got checked out of hospital for attempted suicide in July.

    Also... They are VERY sarcastic parents. Control freaks to the maximum. Anything I say will be turned either against me or into a rant about how my school is a bad school (I chose it myself), my friends were bad friends, and that I'm a supposed faggot (they don't know of my orientation, thankfully).

    So... Wrecking friendships and instilling a pathological fear of anyone with superior rank/power/influence over me? Instead of disciplining a kid, turning him into a professional liar and sneaking back-stabber? Belittling every thing I did and everything I associated myself with?

    You decide on the toxicity - I'm still living with it -.-
     
  20. BigDallasDick8x6

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    Me too! This isn't the 1600's. Two adults need to respect each other like two adults. If they don't do that then sometimes you have no choice but to cut them off.

    If you're still living at home or they're paying for your college you may decide to grin and bear it a little while longer. But if you're out on your own and independent, don't let anyone treat you like dirt no matter who they are.
     
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