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Mental health conversations - Coping with toxic parents

2022-07-01  Justine /Oaes

Mental health conversations - Coping with toxic parents

As mentioned before, leaving toxic parental relationships is almost impossible. As a result, the psychological harm incurred by children are prolonged and challenging to treat.

Common challenges experienced by children of toxic parents according to @ choosing therapy are mental health disorders in childhood, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); mental health issues in childhood such as behavioural problems; difficulty regulating emotions like anger; suicide tendencies; substance use problems; issues with low self-esteem; insecure attachments; and physical health problems.

How to heal from toxic parents according to @ choosing therapy: Remember that your feelings and experiences are valid – recognise your feelings and experiences and don’t allow others to minimise or invalidate them; it’s harm that was done onto you. 

Set healthy boundaries – although it may be challenging initially, communicate your boundaries respectfully and clearly and be consistent. Boundaries serve as protection, for instance, when visiting a toxic parent, limit the time spend with them.

Stop trying to change parents – you can’t change your parents, but you can focus on yourself and be in control of your reactions towards their toxicity. Have realistic expectations – leave room for disappointment. Rely on your support system – create a support system that can hold you a safe space for when you need to vent or need guidance. This system can consist of other family members, friends or professionals such as therapists.

Practice self-care – dealing with toxic parents is emotionally taxing. Maintain a good self-care routine when experiencing stress such as going for a walk, talking to a friend or gardening; activities that are calming and healthy. 

Work on your esteem and confidence – when you are confident, people are less likely to break you emotionally. Be mindful of your own parenting habits – research indicates that parents are likely to copy and paste their parents’ dysfunctional parenting habits. 

When you realise that you’re normalising your dysfunctional experiences, seek professional help. Help is always available when you reach out.

* Justine /Oaes (Clinical Psychologist Intern)

2022-07-01  Justine /Oaes

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