When a baby is born they have no insecurities, no self loathing, no hate, no anger, no shame……..they are waiting to be cherished, loved, and taught like willing sponges they soak up everything they learn from their parents. It’s sad to realize that the ones entrusted to care for you are bent on hardwiring you with limiting beliefs and teaching you conditional love.
Toxic parents begin their abuse and neglect immediately after the child is born. The cries of an infant in need become a burden, something that dares take them away from what is important to them – and so the baby and then young infant learns to hide their own needs because they not only want the approval of their caregiver, but also they are not too young to recognize that their life depends on this person.
Toxic parents stare blankly at their young infant as the child flails his/her arms and legs seeking to connect, even at this young age a child is longing, craving for emotional connection. The blank stare is confusing to the baby. Do I not matter? Can you see me? Am I alive? Why are you ignoring me? And then it’s born…. the belief – there must be something wrong with me. Rather than developing self esteem, the baby loses confidence, self worth.
And everything is so confusing. One minute the parent is ignoring the child, the next doting on him/her and showing the child off to others. But how is a young toddler able to know that this is for show? Will my mom or dad love me today? Will they be happy with me? What’s wrong with me? And the intermittent approval and neglect teach the child conditional love. You are only good when you are pleasing me, you are worthless and bad when you do not. Another belief is born – I am here to make others happy. My needs and wants are not important, I am put here to serve my parents needs and when I don’t I am a bad child.
Toxic parents are hypocrites. They demand from their children what they are unwilling to give. You must give your toxic parent complete respect, even when they are disrespecting you and your other parent. You must go above and beyond to please this parent, even if they are only willing to take and not give even when it comes to your basic needs. They teach, do as I say not as I do and a child is never allowed to question such hypocrisy, after all that would be disrespectful. Which behavior should I copy? When my toxic parent is demanding and disrespectful, people comply with him/her, everyone walks around on eggshells – they are powerful. And traits begin to emerge in a child – either the child begins to imitate the abusive behavior as a coping skill or they think that they were put on this earth to fulfill the position of doormat for the family. Either way – the child grows up warped in their view of family dynamics, thinking that this behavior they are seeing is “normal.”
It’s so easy to make a child feel guilty. When a child expresses their desire to do something – if it interferes with the parents time table – that child is selfish, uncaring as to how much the parent does for them. How dare they have an interest? How dare they enjoy something when the toxic parent is having a bad day? If the toxic parent is miserable then the whole family must be miserable. And another belief is born….I have no boundaries. I cannot stand up for what is important to me. I don’t even have emotional boundaries – I cannot be happy without my parents “permission” and they never grant it.
Toxic parents are great at teaching their children they are unlovable. They have so many statements and comparisons they employ to drive this home. ‘I love you because you’re my son, but I don’t like you as a person.’ ‘Why can’t you be like you’re (golden child) brother?’ Sometimes they teach more by what they choose not to say….’ So and so is such an amazing child, he/she does this and that and wow, the parents must be so proud and feel so blessed to have such a perfect, amazing, lovable child. I wish he/she was my child.’ Meanwhile their own beautiful, precious child sits there listening thinking….wow Mom can compliment children, she is capable of seeing good in kids….just not in me. The sad part is knowing that that’s exactly the conclusion she was hoping her child reached.
Growing up with toxic parents is like walking through a mine field on a daily basis. You never know when you are going to set off a bomb, maybe by something you said, or something you did, or possibly didn’t do. And so you work so hard to try to watch, you become hyper vigilant in order to learn the rules….and just when you think you have them down pat, it’s never understood why they keep changing. And so that battlefield of mines that you have to cross every day, must be crossed while in a state of emotional vertigo. You never make it to the other side without some crisis or another. If only you could be like your brother, or the neighbors kid….or anyone but yourself.
Growing up with toxic parents is difficult. And it takes time to uproot the limiting beliefs that they instill within you, but it is possible to break the cycle of generational abuse. It stopped with me and it can stop with you too if you are willing to do the inner work to eradicate the ‘virus’ that was placed within you and if you are willing to learn how to install empowering beliefs!! I want to send out a huge hug to anyone raised by toxic parents – you are not alone!!
This workbook will help you discover and destroy any limiting beliefs that were installed by toxic, narcissistic parents so that you can reach your own happiness
Nobody understands what you're going through more than someone who has been there. I grew up with narcissistic family member and had intimate relationships with malignant narcissists. For the majority of my healing journey, I felt as if I was all alone. I now dedicate my life to being the person for others, that I needed on my own healing journey, so that YOU never feel alone.