15 Major Signs of Toxic Parents & How to Identify them

You are reading 15 Signs of Toxic Parents

Parenting is one such job that many parents don’t take up seriously, unlike their regular 9 to 5 jobs. Since they feel, they know all about parenting and the child-rearing process, which they have learned from their parents or through observation.

However, they forget that nobody will tell you about— your child’s emotional needs because every kid is different from one another. And since we humans have such a diverse genetic make-up. We tend to project our behaviour, and emotions differently.

Therefore, the role of parenting is crucial because it builds a mutual relationship of trust, love, and faith between a parent, and a child.

How Poor Parenting results in Poor Development of a Child:

Since good parenting involves promoting, and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Therefore, when parents neglect their child’s emotions and needs, they overburden them with guilt.

It won’t be shocking to hear that, more than a million lives are damaged by the hands of abusive parents. Who project self-centered behaviour by being emotionally unavailable, narcissistic, and uncaring towards their children.

Therefore, we must tend towards our children’s needs, because the parent-child relationship has a major influence on most parts of the child’s development.

The takeaway is that when poor parenting and negligence can ruin a child. Good parenting, optimal parenting skills, and behaviour can have a positive impact on your child’s self-esteem, school achievement, cognitive development, and behaviour.

So observe the signs of toxic parents, if you have any. Because the sooner you’ll diagnose such traits, the easier it’ll be to put an end to it. Here are 15 major signs of toxic parents that you can check upon…

15 Major Signs of Toxic Parents & How to Identify them

1. They foster Self-hate in you:

Toxic Parents instill self-hate in you by repeatedly telling you that— “You aren’t good enough!” or “It would have been better if we got rid of you!”

They keep taunting you that you are a burden on them. Which has caused great damage to your self-image, and self-worth.

When kids receive such kind of maltreatment from their parents, they start isolating themselves. They start overthinking about the negative things said, and done by their parents.

Because of which they develop self-hate for them, as they feel their parents don’t love them at all, and only have disgust, and contempt for them. If this kind of situation is not timely treated it can lead to mental health problems in a child.

If you are a caregiver, you need to observe one of these major toxic parent signs in yourself. If you have committed this sin, then you need to apologise to your kid.

Rectify your mistake by being your child’s therapist, listen to their problems, and like a good friend empathise with them.

Once a child feels safe opening up to you, he/she will start trusting you again. So instead of scrutinizing your child for no particular reason, be their best companion, who they come for having a heart to heart conversation.

2. They act Differently with you in Front of Others:

One of the prime signs of toxic parents is that— they have a dual personality. One which they project in front of others, and the other which they project in front of you.

Toxic parents proudly exhibit their fake personality in front of their friends, relatives, and known people. They try to be super-sweet, loving, and caring when they are around others. While they completely ignore you, and are emotionally blunt with you in person.

When you try to share your thoughts about— how they act different with you in front of others. They chide you, and tell you that it’s normal, and other parents do it too.

They don’t want to accept their flipping side, and want to make you believe— that it’s for your own good.

Also Read: 30 Signs you are in a Toxic Relationship and How to Deal with it

3. They lack Empathy, and Sympathy:

Toxic parents lack two of the most effective emotions which are— empathy and sympathy, which are crucial for building the bond of trust between the parent, and the child.

Empathy is one such emotion that helps the child to connect with his parents on a humane level. Because when parents empathise with their kids, the child learns that his parents can feel his pain, and will be there for him.

Sympathy on the other hand, makes him aware that, his parents understand his problems, and are able to understand his condition.

However, in the case of toxic parents, they totally ignore their child’s sentiments, and don’t care about— how their child is getting affected by their rude, and toxic nature.

They mistreat their children, and never say sorry when they are wrong. They never care about the harsh words that come from their mouth.

They strangle their child’s spirits by saying the most inappropriate things at the worse time, which is one of the most common signs of toxic parents.

4. They make you Feel bad for Expressing your Emotions:

Most parents love and appreciate when their kids express themselves freely, and confidently. However, in the case of toxic parents, they don’t want to deal with their child’s emotions, which is one of the commonly observed signs of toxic parents.

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As they feel, it isn’t important to listen to your child’s problems. They ignore their little one’s emotions, and often chide them for expressing their feelings of sadness, or grief in front of them.

Consequently, the child forms a negative opinion about expressing his or her emotions. Since he has grown up watching his parents ignore, or belittle his feelings. Therefore, the child starts believing that— those who express themselves are weak.

Such kids isolate themselves from others, and some even develop social anxiety, self-hate, or hatred towards others.

As he/she cannot relate with others, and lack the essential skills needed to ignite, or carry forward a conversation. Due to which, they have poor luck in friendship, and forming healthy relationships with their partners.

5. They Torture you to Death and act like nothing has Happened:

One of the prominent signs of toxic parents is that they can harass you to death, and act like nothing has happened. They’ll physically and mentally abuse you, and will get normal after they have had your reaction.

Which traumatizes the child, and he starts thinking that— his parents don’t care about his feelings. As they only find ways to release their anger, and frustration on him.

Whether or not they are aware of the trauma, they are causing their child through their behaviour, and actions. But it’s evident that, toxic parents don’t realize the severity of their actions, and how bad their behaviour is towards their kids.

Due to their poor parenting skills, and approach, their kids have to bear the brunt of it.

Also Read: Difference between House and Home, learn What makes a House a ‘Home’

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6. They make you Fear themselves, and the World:

One of the major signs of toxic parents is that, they manipulate their kids into believing— they are too weak, and fragile to survive in this world.

They feed such negative thoughts in their child’s mind from early on. Because they want their child to be a puppet of their hands, and to rely on them for making small decisions or changes in their lives.

So they can use their child as a tool to exert dominance, to manipulate them, and to inflict mental or physical abuse on them.

This is one of the things that toxic parents do during the early development of a child, with the intent to develop a toxic co-dependent relationship with them.

The child accepts this form of abuse as care, and when he gets older. He understands that his parents never taught him essential life skills, which hindered him from being independent.

Therefore, he continues living under the thumb of his parents, and fears that he wouldn’t last a day alone.

7. They get Mad when they lose Control over You:

One of the common traits found in toxic parents is that, they like to dominate their children, and use harsh measures to control them. As they believe it’s okay to threaten, beat, or punish children, when they dare to make decisions on their own.

Toxic parents are control freaks, they can get mad at literally anything like–

  • Making a new friend at school,
  • Drawing at the back of your notebook,
  • Talking to your best friend or your favourite cousin over call, or
  • Seeking permission for going to your friend’s birthday party.

Toxic parents pressurize their kids to fit into the thought of an ideal kid, that they have made up in their mind.

They want their child to be the exact copy of that imaginary kid— who excels in studies, obeys their parents like a watchman’s dog, and never dares to follow his heart, and becomes the shadow of his parents.

When the child gets older and tries to break the chains, his parents make him feel like a traitor, and they exert dominance, or emotionally manipulate their child to be their lab rat.

If he falls into their trap, they control his every move from pursuing a new course in college to controlling his relationship. Because toxic parents can never see you happy with anybody other than them.

On the contrary, if a child on maturing doesn’t wish to follow the footsteps of his toxic parents. They curse, and act like a victim to make their child believe that he has deceived them.

Also Read: Psychological & Emotional Damage Corporal Punishment can Have on Children

8. They attack your Individuality:

One of the most prominent signs of toxic parents is that, they can’t find a single quality in you. This is why they constantly compare you with others, and sometimes with your own siblings.

They either consciously, or unconsciously pitch you against people they admire. Such as your aunt’s son, or your neighbour’s daughter who is an overachiever, or celebrity kids they see on reality TV shows.

They constantly tell you to be like them, and learn something from them, as they cannot appreciate your individual talents.

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They curse you, and lower your self-esteem by telling you— “You lack personality and talent, and won’t be able to achieve anything in life!”

You feel cornered out, because while your parents fully support your siblings in their creative or academic endeavours. On the contrary, when it comes to you, they are too strict, negative, and impatient with you.

Do notice this, as it’s one of the major signs of toxic parents due to which kids alienate themselves from friends and family. If you do not put an end to such behaviour it can lead to chronic loneliness in children.

9. Toxic parents Love that their kids Fear them, and are Nervous around Them:

Toxic parents often boast about their sick parenting techniques in front of their friends, and how they have managed to make their kids fear them.

They feel proud that their own kids feel nervous, and anxious around them. And don’t even mind hitting, abusing, and threatening their children in front of anybody.

As they feel, people will appreciate, how they have managed to control their kids. And it is due to their fear, that they were able to raise obedient, and dutiful kids.

When in reality their toxic behaviour, and attitude have traumatized the kids. So much so, that they fear expressing themselves, and live in extreme pressure. Since they know, they’ll be in deep trouble if they make even the slightest of mistake in front of them.

So observe this in yourself as it is one of the prominent signs of toxic parents, which you need to tackle as soon as possible.

10. They Discourage you, and Repeatedly tell you that You are a Complete failure:

One of the prime signs of toxic parents is that, they are bad at handling situations, and they cannot accept defeat sportingly.

Therefore, they cannot watch their kids failing, and instead of hyping them up for another battle. They choose negative words to respond them with.

There’s a saying—

“Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again this time more intelligently.”

However, toxic parents don’t understand this. They expect their children to give their best but don’t realise, that raising a winner needs efforts from the parent’s side.

This is why children born to toxic parents don’t look up to their parents for support, or share their problems with them. Because they know their cold reply will break their heart, and will shatter their self-esteem, leaving it to bits and pieces.

Since such children are undermined for their talent, and hard work. They feel— there’s nothing special about them, and they lack any talent to offer to the world.

Hence, they don’t take risks, and feel discouraged to follow their dreams, and passion. Mainly because whenever they try to do something, they are either discouraged or criticized for their move.

When you are growing up, you rely on your parents for expert advice and opinions, because you trust them. You think they know better, as they have seen and experienced more than you.

However, when your parents discourage you, and repeatedly ambush you with harsh words. Then you start believing that you lack the potential, and will never succeed in life.

Up until you start scraping off the negative words, and voices that have made a room deep inside your mind. It’s one of the tell-tale signs of toxic parents.

Also Read: 15 Major Signs Someone is Secretly Jealous of You

11. They always Fight with each Other, and use you as a Punching bag:

One of the major signs of toxic parents is that— they use their kids as punching bags.

So whenever the couple fights, have arguments, or are dealing with their own personal problems. They can use their kids as a means to express their anger and resentment. Since kids don’t understand— “Why their parents are beating them? and for What reason?”

They just accept it as a form of punishment, thinking they might have done something wrong to deserve this treatment.

But not for long, because when kids mature they understand that, they are being used as a mode to incur wrath on them. This leads to the souring of relationships, and breaks the trust you once had in them.

If you are a parent, who keeps fighting with your better half, then you must check up on one of these signs of toxic parents. So you can put an end to such malicious behaviour, and save your family from falling apart.

12. You felt Unsafe and Unhappy almost all your Childhood:

You don’t remember your parents have ever kissed, hugged or shared moments of love with you even as a child.

All you can recall is— their constant bickering on little things, and spanking you for no reason, and cursing you because they had a bad day at work.

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You never felt happy or safe at your own house, since you were abused daily by your own caregivers, who never cared for your wellbeing. Don’t ignore this, as it’s one of the prime signs of toxic parents.

Fear was so deep-rooted in your mind, that every day felt like a curse. Because you knew, you’ll be beaten mercilessly if your parents are in a bad mood.

If you can relate to one of these signs of toxic parents, then you must start your journey to self-love, as it will help you heal with the past wounds.

13. You have Developed Insecurity, and major Trust issues because of your Parents:

Since your parents never appreciated your presence in their life, and only had bad things to say about you— deep down you feel insecure about yourself.

Because when you saw other parents spending quality time, and showering love on their kids. It made you think— maybe there’s something wrong with you, and you don’t deserve to be loved.

Whenever you are around your parents, you feel uncomfortable, and sick to your stomach. The very thought of accompanying your parents or sitting in the same room, watching TV or having food together makes you panic.

You hate family dinners and spending time together. Because you know, your parents will purposely say something awful, or will pass rude remarks about your studies, even when you are doing well. Since they have a habit of complaining about anything.

As a result of which, you have problems in accepting love and trusting others. Forming new relationships gives you anxiety, as you fear that one day, they’ll break the trust or will take advantage of you.

If you can observe these signs of toxic parents in your caregivers, and deeply associate with such feelings. Then you must work on yourself, or take therapy as it can deteriorate your mental well-being.

Also Read: What is SAD aka Seasonal Depression: Find out Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder

14. They Criticize your Work and feel Jealous of your Achievements:

It is difficult to impress toxic parents or make them like you and your work. When other parents gush about their children’s achievements, and feel proud of them. Toxic parents feel that their child has stolen the spotlight from them.

They try hard to downplay their child’s success, and give backhanded compliments out of jealousy. This is a common occurrence in families having toxic mother, and daughter relationships.

A toxic mother can feel jealous when anybody compliments her daughter for her looks, talent, career, or academic advancement. Therefore, she tries her best to show others that, she is superior to her daughter.

She will either boast about her qualification, job, or taunt her daughter for her relationship status, just to make her feel bad about herself.

If you have had such an experience, then it’s one of the tell-tale signs of toxic parents.

15. They Physically and Mentally abuse you in the Name of Love:

Toxic parents verbally and physically abuse their kids, so they can make themselves feel better, which is one of the commonly observed signs of toxic parents.

They think that bonding with kids, and praising them are soft parenting skills, that corrupts a child. Which makes them weak instead of being strong.

Therefore, they physically, and verbally abuse their children to avoid healthy interaction with them. Children raised by toxic parents think— their parents are doing this for their betterment, as they love and care for them.

However, deep inside, they know they’ll rather die inside than sharing their problems with them, because they don’t have a healthy relationship with them.

Notice these 15 signs of toxic parents, which will help you to identify the traits, and take measures accordingly.

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Let thy spirit be high in love. Namaste

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Pragati Chauhan

I am a soulful woman who loves to conjure up my thoughts and write. I thoroughly enjoy creating art and expressing myself through words. I believe words have a certain kind of melody that can be understood by everybody.

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